Stuff what I has been reading… 27/07 – 02/08

Push too hard for revenue in the short term, they might drive away users, undermining a network. Leave it too late to monetise and the business could collapse.

Social media – is it about money or people?

[From The Economist]

There are no self-evident connections between the key objectives of counter-terrorism, development, democracy/ state-building and counter-insurgency. Counter-insurgency is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for state-building.

Rory Stewart knows Afghanistan, and this essay is a expert analysis of the problems with the Afghan ‘mission’; it is a pity that his solution to the problem is not as clear as his diagnosis of the problem.

[From the London Review of Books]

Of all the economic bubbles that have been pricked, few have burst more spectacularly than the reputation of economics itself.

A spirited but balanced defence of the dismal science.

[From The Economist]

On my desktop this week… ‘bus windaes’ by Ross Ferguson

bus windaes by Ross ferguson
'bus windaes' by Ross ferguson

Nothing in my usual sources caught my eye, so this week it’s one of mine from a photo collection called ‘My Hood‘.

I took the shot from the top of the #26 bus just outside of Liverpool Street Station. It was one of those freezing cold sunny days. I don’t live in the East End anymore; I lived there for 6 years but I only miss the photography.

You can see more of my photos at

Choose a different ending

Went in to visit the Google’s Public Sector team this week to pick their brains on YouTube. Charlotte and Katarina had lots of interesting things to demonstrate, but I was most taken by a video they showed me.

Made for the Metropolitan Police by Spike, ‘Choose a different ending’ is one of the sharpest uses of YouTube I have yet seen for a public sector campaign.

It’s more of a play than a watch; check it out at and the campaign site at

Insighful and hardworking creative, using the technolgy and the channel superbly; not preachy but makes you think twice. I think this might have an impact; it’s already caught on and seems to generating the views from exactly the intended audience. I’m really keen to locate an evaluation. Continue reading “Choose a different ending”

Angus Loughran has nothing on me :)

UK ‘internet landscape’ stats slide from recent presentation.

Might find it useful.

  • The Internet is 40 in 2009, the World Wide Web is 20
  • Global Internet usage reached more than 1 billion unique visitors in December 2008 (ComScore 2009)
  • Almost 16.5 million households in the UK had internet access in 2008. This represents nearly two thirds of the total households in UK, and a rise of more than 1.2 million since 2007 (ONS 2008)
  • 70% of Britons use web, 30% do not (OxIS 2009)
  • The online population now reflects the demographic make-up of the UK as a whole, with a 52%/48% male/female split. 21% of internet users are 25 to 34 years and at the other end of the spectrum, the over-50s now represent 30% of total time spent online. (BMRB Internet Monitor 2009)
  • 33% of British users have 7 or more years of experience using the web (OxIS 2009)
  • 51% of British users rate their skills as good (OxIS 2009)
  • 89% of UK users felt fairly or very confident about their critical skills such as evaluating the credibility of a source online (OxIS 2009)
  • The UK has the most active online population in Europe, with the highest average number of daily visitors (21.8m), the highest usage days per month (21 per user), and the highest average time spent per month per user (34.4 hours). (ComScore 2009)
  • Trust in the internet is growing, and is higher than television and newspapers/magazines (which still best the internet for entertainment purposes) (OxIS 2009)
  • 38% of Internet users had met someone on the Internet they did not know before (OxIS 2009)
  • Most internet users believe that the use of the Internet is of value in creating opportunities for personal, financial and economic advantage (OxIS 2009)
  • 38% of professionals believe the internet makes them more productive (OxIS 2009)
  • 49% of adults had used an internet banking service, 34% had sought health-related information, 25% had looked for a job or made a job application and 31% had looked for information on education, training or courses. (ONS 2008)
  • One fifth (21%) of Internet users undertook at least one civic action on the Internet, compared to one third (34%) of users who had done this offline. (OxIS 2009)
  • Use of government services online was undertaken by a relatively large proportion of the population (59% in 2009) and increased considerably since 2005. (OxIS 2009)
  • 44% users have posted photos online, 33% have posted on message boards, 22% have a blog, 19% had commented on someone else’s blog, 8% had contributed to a wiki (OxIS 2009)
  • One in every six minutes the average internet user spends online are spent on a social media channel (Neilsen Online 2009)
  • 47 per cent of Britons online use Facebook (Neilsen Online 2009)
  • UK internet traffic to video websites has increased by 40.7% over the last 12 months. Twenty hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. (Hitwise 2008)
  • As of December 2008, 12.9 million people, or around 25 per cent of the population, used mobile internet. 19-34 year olds are most likely to use the mobile to access internet. (ComScore 2008)

Seek Forgiveness, Not Permission – What I learned at Civil Service Live 2009

Civil Service Live 2009 logo
Civil Service Live 2009 logo

Civil Service Live 2009 is the single largest gathering of civil servants.

Being a shiny new civil servant, attendance was a no-brainer.

I made it along on the Wednesday. I made the following notes:

Following Reboot Britain

Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of NESTA at the rostrum
Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of NESTA, at the rostrum

Managed to make it over to Reboot Britain today. Half of it anyway.

It’s been a while since I’d been at a conference (if one can still use that term for such an event). And, I am glad I had the opportunity (thanks to Nick for the allowing the time, and Steve and Tiffany for arranging).

It was great to reflect on issues of the day and those of tomorrow, especially in such good company – such as Steph, Mark and Jeremy, and fleetingly Milica, Robin, Kathryn, Paul, Mick, Andy and Andrew.

I learned a thing or two – which I will muse on in another post – but I was also left wanting.

The source of my disappointment – the opening speeches from Jonathan Kestenbaum, CEO of NESTA, and Jeremy Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture. Nothing wrong with the delivery as such, both are very able and informed speakers who are more than qualified to open an event such as this. My problem was with the level of the pitch. Continue reading “Following Reboot Britain”