Spent the day yesterday at the Digital Engagement conference in Westminster. As others have put far more eloquently, it was quite odd after the range of barcamps and similar free events I’ve attended where the agenda is decided on the day, the energy comes from the particiants, and you go away buzzing with new ideas, contacts and things to follow up.
This was a much more traditional conference – and the twitter stream (#digieng) contains lots of complaints, but I did find several useful nuggets of information – and while there wasn’t any livestream, all speeches and presentations were filmed and will be available on the website. It was an interesting venue too – in a room with an amazing round glass ceiling, echoing with history: doors for clergy to stream through and vote either as ‘ayes’ or ‘noes’, we heard about projects to join up whole regions with “fibre to the home” and there were numerous mentions of Digital Britain.
Martha Lane Fox gave an opening speech which was peppered with examples of inspiring people she has met in her new role as Digital Inclusion Champion. I’m intrigued to hear more about the network she hinted at. There wont be an official Launch – but if I understood right, it sounds a bit like the School of Everything idea – putting people who have skills to share, in touch with people who want to learn.
I went to one of the seminars which focused on a local authority : Redbridge – impressive example of thinking ultra local, I like the idea of being able to define your neighbourhood, and then get really local news although Jack Pickard has questions about their accessibility claims.
The closing set of sessions was interesting – started by a presentation from Helen Milner, which Steph has blogged I also noted her succinct definition :
Digital inclusion: getting offline people online
Digital engagement: helping online people to do the things they want and need to
Last useful nugget – one of the event sponsors was I Level – who have just completed a review of internet use among the UK population. To be available free to government (e-mail contact left at work though I’ll update this post tomorrow)
UPDATE: The report is called Generation 10, and the contact is firstname.lastname@example.org