Better ways to share information digitally

Green human figures connected by blue lines

The Observatory’s Population & Society Group is planning a seminar in the summer to investigate and discuss how research organisations in the West Midlands can get better at sharing information digitally. Do you have any thoughts on this?

The accepted norm for research dissemination is to put a report on a website for people to download. But can we do better than that?

The internet is offering up new ways of communication all the time. Could we use Twitter? Or some of Google’s applications? Could we make better use of RSS feeds or interactive maps? What about YouTube?

And at the end of the day, would this make any difference to the policy and decision makers in the region? Would it increase the profile and use of evidence in the region and how?

Do you have any ideas or burning desires on the subject? If so, please leave us a comment and we’ll incorporate it into the event planning.

The Improvement and Development Agency for Local Government (IDeA) have been moving this agenda forward recently. Read their posts on the social media policy landscape and free your data, expand your campaign, share knowledge.

10 Responses

  1. […] Better ways to share information digitally « Observations – "The Observatory’s Population & Society Group is planning a seminar in the summer to investigate and discuss how research organisations in the West Midlands can get better at sharing information digitally. Do you have any thoughts on this?" […]

  2. It would make no difference at all. Because almost all decisions that the EU still allows the West Mids to make, seem to be made on a nod and a wink by about six people.

  3. We could learn from the great work going on at in bringing practitioners and policy makers together to see if their approaches can be applied specifically to research organisations in the West Midlands.

    So what is ‘digital engagement’? According to their site:

    “…use of social technology for a social benefit. This might include areas such as supporting disadvantaged people to get online, use of technology by central and local government to improve civic engagement, and use of social media to encourage organisations to work more effectively.”

    A national digital inclusion conference is coming up on 27th-28th April with MPs, representatives from government departements and digital experts from the media giving keynote speeches. See:

    Closer to home in the West Midlands (and if the Population and Society Group is interested in equipping visitors to the event with the skills to share information using the ‘social web’) you could get in touch with We Share Stuff in North Birmingham. See:

  4. The phrase “research dissemination” got my attention – this might be a bit off track for your purposes, but IssueLab is a publishing forum for nonprofit research, with an audience mainly based in the US. If you’d like to get research on social and policy issues to a broader audience, it’s free to contribute.

    Otherwise, licensing research under a creative commons is always helpful and encourages the use and re-use of such work. Incorporating RSS feeds into Twitter is also very easy, so you could publicize new reports this way.

  5. All… thanks for these comments – keep them coming. Luise, I will have a good look around your site. Do you know if you get much traffic from UK based policy makers? Thanks again, Oliver

  6. Just picked up on this post from Tim Davies re the hurdles faced by government in using technology to engage about social issues.

    Many of these hurdles will ring true for sharing research and information in the public sector – so if you’ve overcome any of the hurdles, leave a reply on his blog and we’ll pick up on it.

  7. The LocalGovCamp unconference in Birmingham on 20th June 2009 may interest you. The event is a “gathering of people interested in how local government needs to adapt to a world of social networks and data sharing.”

    There’s a reserve ticket list (the event has sold out) but you can take part in the content and discussion in this Google Group.

  8. Right, some news. The event is confirmed for 7th October 2009.

    The event will feature a mix of speakers and, for much of the afternoon, there will be a set of social media surgeries in the ‘unconference’ style. The content of the sessions will be defined by attendees – and we’re encouraging attendees to lead small groups to share advice or examples of how they have successfully used the social web and digital tools to share information more effectively.

    Please register on our website and let us know what topics you’d like to learn about in the social media surgeries (and if you’re willing to lead a discussion) in this Google Spreadsheet.


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