The idea of a Social Apps Store to support local social action – floated here – has gained enthusiastic support among my colleagues in the Big Society Network, where I’ve played the role of social reporter for a few week. While very welcome, this internal support wouldn’t matter much if the Store didn’t appeal more widely to those who have pioneered the use of social tech for social benefit in recent years … and those doing less shiny but more challenging work on the ground.
I’m really pleased by support so far because it seems a good example of how social reporters can operate.
Consultants are known as people who borrow your watch and tell you the time, and then walk off with the watch. Journalists are under pressure to make things just that bit more interesting than when first heard (so you may not always recognise your idea on page or on screen). Maybe social reporting can gather pieces of conversation and ideas and present them back in ways that encourage people to say: thanks for adding … I want to help with that … now it makes sense. Being positive, joining up, making sense, helping out, as I wrote earlier. I’ve done a bit of journalism and consultancy, and this is much more satisfying.
So – the Big Society Social Apps Store isn’t my idea, it’s yours; the many people I’ve listened to and watched doing great things in recent years. It probably won’t be called that. As Dave Briggs says it could cover many things …”hyperlocal reporting, community activism, tapping into cognitive surplus, engaging with social enterprise, improving participation in local democracy, digital inclusion”. It may be the Good Stuff Store. Thanks Dave.
In order to help take the idea forward with those who actually know how to make things happen – rather than just write about them – I’ve started a discussion on SocalbySocial, the online community developed from the book SocialbySocial that I co-authored with Amy Sample Ward, Andy Gibson, and Cass Business School, funded by NESTA. It’s all about using social tech for social action, so the Store idea seems a perfect fit.
If the Store appeals to you, do of course drop a comment here, but even better please sign up at SocialbySocial and join in the discussion. I have a couple of important meetings on the project later today, so support – or crits – most welcome. I hope we can then form one or more groups to take the idea forward in practice.
Thanks to all to those whose brains I’ve picked so far, and Steve Moore for being such a champion of the idea. Your watches will be returned, with added Good Stuff.
Also at socialreporters.net.
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