Today I’ve been working with a business which runs a sea front takeaway food kiosk to help them use technology and social media to bring in business. This was an interesting challenge, as it doesn’t necessarily fit the business profile of somewhere you might think would naturally use technology for these purposes. But we found a way forward which will focus on using Facebook to create and engage a community around the business, and it will explore offering free wifi as a way to attract custom and capture customer details.
Working on projects like Our Digital Planet, I have become convinced that the computer keyboard is a barrier, for many people, to Digital Inclusion. I’ve seen quite a few people who will happily pick up a tablet device and start using it, but who struggle with a keyboard and mouse. This is why I was fascinated on a train earlier today when the young woman sat next to me got out her Windows 8 laptop and started using the on-screen keyboard, rather than the laptop’s physical keyboard. I asked her why she did this, and she said it felt a lot easier to use the on-screen version, and, in particular, it was at a “nice angle” for typing. The laptop she was using was all in one piece, it wasn’t one of those which detaches to form a tablet, but she still preferred to use the touchscreen. She also said she could type faster on a touchscreen rather than a physical keyboard.
I found this intriguing. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
I sort of inhabit this strange world, flitting all the time between being surrounded by people whose use of technology is in the vanguard, and those who hardly use it at all. Sometimes I feel the need to explain to one of these sets of people how the other operates.
I decided to start this digital fluency log, which I will update and maintain when time allows and I remember.
This is about Digital Fluency, rather than digital inclusion. It is about the factors which prevent people becoming fluent in the use of technology. I believe Digital Fluency is an overlooked factor. A lot of effort goes into getting reluctant people online, but their use often doesn’t progress or even benefit them because they don’t do it regularly.
- Leaders who don’t get digital because their secretaries / PAs do all that for them.
- Leaders who don’t get mobile tech because their experience of it is confined to their BlackBerry which gives them a restricted view of it.
- People who use IT regularly, but their use is confined to a fixed desktop computer with no webcam or speakers. I come across this type of person a lot.
- The person who thinks their 8 year-old computer is state-of-the-art, because it was when they bought it.
- The person who brought a laptop to a training session and couldn’t connect it to the internet. The reason being the laptop had no wireless card
A few years ago I was in Albany Hospital in Upstate New York with my terminally ill cousin who was in intensive care (the other side of the Atlantic to most of his friends & family). I set up a Skype account with an answerphone & asked people to ring in with messages that I played back to him when he had the strength to hear them. It was the best ever tonic! Had I not been able to use the internet in the hospital I could never have spent the time away from my business at his bedside & I really recommend hearing stories and wishes from loved ones far away when visits are impossible (& the patient hasn’t the strength to see people). I don’t understand why UK hospitals seem to charge so much for communications (they view telephone & internet a profit centre).
Penelope Bossom - Worcestershire
I’ve set up this group blog as part of the campaign for free wifi for hospital patients.
The main home for the campaign is on Facebook here http://www.facebook.com/groups/269721299101/. There is a document collecting information on wifi availbabilty for hospital patients here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s6KWeZQ8moUUTKk3E8rSmPV2E5EYoCc9uvcrSGJyU… and there is a crowdfunding site raising funds for a pilot of a cheap form of installation of free wifi here http://www.sponsume.com/project/free-wifi-hospital-patients
This space is here to collect evidence of how use of the internet has benefitted yourself, your loved ones, or, if you are a healthcare professional, your patients. You can post here by email, but you need to be an approved poster first.
Either email me at email@example.com so I can approve you to post directly to the blog, or email your story to me and I will post it.
Why I hate X-Factor:
- It’s exploitative - exposing vulnerable people to public ridicule;
- It offers an unrealistic picture of the music business, suggesting the only chance of making a living is to risk all on becoming a superstar, and everything else is failure. There are lots of people who make livings out of being involved in music, and 99.9% of them are not superstars;
- It is karaoke. Apparently the only way to succeed is to sing other people’s (safe) songs. How dare you try to write your own material or play an instrument? It suggests music is a mechanical process with little room for creativity;
- Even the people who win it are, in my experience, poor singers. People who watch it all the time are lulled into thinking the improvements they witness are a journey to perfection. This is far from the case.
Last night, in a crowded pub after HealthCampWM, we discussed Hacking the Pub. The pub was heaving and it was very difficult to get to the bar.
So, surely it shouldn’t be too difficult to order drinks online or via an app, pay for them via Paypal, and then have Argos-type screens around the pub which announce when your order is ready to be collected.
Anyone up for this (or has it been done?)?