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)

WtF r URIs, Triplr, SPARQL and CC0?

If you’re in the government or public sector and you’ve been thinking about surfacing data and putting it online, but are wondering what’s involved, let me point you to ‘Putting Government Data online‘ (www.w3.org/DesignIssues/GovData.html), a short article on the subject by Tim Berners-Lee.

The abstract runs:

Government data is being put online to increase accountability, contribute valuable information about the world, and to enable government, the country, and the world to function more efficiently. All of these purposes are served by putting the information on the Web as Linked Data. Start with the “low-hanging fruit”. Whatever else, the raw data should be made available as soon as possible. Preferably, it should be put up as Linked Data. As a third priority, it should be linked to other sources. As a lower priority, nice user interfaces should be made to it — if interested communities outside government have not already done it. The Linked Data technology, unlike any other technology, allows any data communication to be composed of many mixed vocabularies. Each vocabulary is from a community, be it international, national, state or local; or specific to an industry sector. This optimizes the usual trade-off between the expense and difficulty of getting wide agreement, and the practicality of working in a smaller community. Effort toward interoperability can be spent where most needed, making the evolution with time smoother and more productive.

‘Digital Democracy’ Predictions for 2009

I’m into my second year of blogging, and this year is almost done. So I thought I’d celebrate and sign off for 2008 with a few ‘digital democracy’ predictions for 2009.

I can’t emphasise enough that none of these predictions are based on inside knowledge of existing plans. I just thought it would be fun to reflect and have a go at judging the way the digital wind is blowing into the year to come.

Here goes…

  1. A ‘household name’ government department will launch a large-scale crowd-sourcing site for the purposes of problem-solving. Not a one-off PR exercise; it’ll be something more like what we are used to from the likes of Dell and InnoCentive but it will have to be even more efficient and incisive. It will go through a bunch of phases before the department gets it right.
  2. Two states will be at loggerheads over the way one of them has been using the web to engage the citizens of the other. It won’t be cyber-warfare, more a gentlemanly disagreement, but it will spark a debate that’s been long overdue.
  3. A local government will fall head-over-heels in love with the promise of eDemocracy and launch into an ambitious project to put digital front-and-centre of its democratic processes and service provision. It will be facilitated with next-generation municipal ICT and it will capture our imaginations but it will come at a price.
  4. We’ll all be fascinated with what Obama does in office, but he’s going to have to work hard to live up to the standards we became accustomed to over the course of the presidential campaign. I reckon he will pull it off.
  5. The UK Parliament will launch a virtual-version of Westminster Hall debates. The MPs will love it, the officials will be tearing their hair out.
  6. The ‘digerati’ will freak at all this good stuff coming out of political institutions because it takes away the founding basis of their books, lectures, sites and films – that institutions and elected representatives don’t get people and they sure as hell don’t get digital. It will take them a while to get their heads round it, there will be a lot of foot-stamping and door-slamming, but then there will always be consultancies.
  7. A government department will move away from a standard homepage to a drag-and-drop dashboard model. Others will quickly follow.
  8. Sadly there will be a disaster somewhere in the developed world but digital communications infrastructure will be sufficiently intact to play a pivotal role in dealing with the emergency and speeding up the rescue and rebuilding effort. The integrity and quality of digital infrastructure will race up the political agenda overnight.
  9. As more and more citizens come online to access services and hold their representatives to account, efforts to to promote political literacy will have to be redoubled and the volume will have to be turned up on the participative opportunities inherent in representative democracy.
  10. I will blog a lot less about digital democracy and turn to some of the other things in life that interest me.

I reckon these are all good bets – bar number 10.

What do you think?

You gave us your money, now give us your feedback

Was part of a good discussion today about 1) highs-and-lows of the digital year [almost] gone and 2) hopes and fears for the year to come.

Barack Obama’s use of digital media featured highly in both. We spoke about our shared admiration for the election campaign, and our shared aspirations for what might happen after January 20th 2009.

What excites someone in my sort of role about what the new US Administration might do with digital, is how it might excite other leaders around the world and encourage them to keep pace.

Only time will tell if the adventurous, inclusive and integrated approach to digital we witnessed during the presidential campaign will translate to an average day in the White House. But I think the portents are positive.

Continue reading “You gave us your money, now give us your feedback”

Where there’s a will…

Tonight is the Hansard Society’s eDemocracy event in the Scottish Parliament, and on Friday its the Scot Web 2 Conference at Edinburgh University.

I was looking forward to attending both, but I’m going make neither. Illness in the family.

I want to apologise to Alex Stobart in particular for dropping out because I was due to be leading one of the sessions.

At both events I wanted to make some time for discussing the issue of political will for engagement, and more specifically online engagement.

Is there the will amongst our politicians to involve the people of Scotland in the democracy of the nation, I believe there is. But it’s a will that is blocked, by what I’m not sure – it could be party politics, it could be resources, it could be a cultural thing. And if we figure out what the block is – well, what do we do about it? What is the vision of the e-enabled Scottish polity, what is the role of the elected representative and how can we as citizens, activists, practitioners and critics support them and hold them to account?

This issue is key. I’ll be interested in what the speakers and the delegates at both events have to say on the matter.

Digital Dialogues 3

The report from the final phase of the Digital Dialogues project is now available for download and online at www.digitaldialogues.org.uk/thirdreport.

Haven’t had time to fully digest it as yet. Very busy. Will collate my thoughts soon.

But congratulations to the Hansard Society, its eDemocracy team and the Democratic Engagement Branch at the Ministry of Justice on getting the report out and talked about.

It’s getting to that time again – the general election on the web

On Thursday there’s an event on at the US Embassy where a panel will present their thoughts on the influence of the web on the US election and, laterally, what it all might mean for the UK.

This will be the first of a flurry of online campaigning analysis as minds begin to focus on a general election at some point in the next two years.

Online campaigning is interesting for lots of different reasons: for academics it means data, the media see a rich source of scoops, and the parties see massive PR potential, if not a direct route to voters. No prizes for guessing what new media consultants see. For the electorate, online campaigning should mean having access to a sufficient amount of information on which to base informed decisions.

While all are agreed on the desirability of electioneering online, there is no agreement on what is feasible and what is worth doing. Online campaigning is still a ‘grey area’, which makes it a nightmare for the regulators – and probably the electorate – but while everything is up for grabs it also means that online campaigning is a rich source of innovation in a otherwise pretty mundane area of politics.

Continue reading “It’s getting to that time again – the general election on the web”

eDemocracy in the top flights?

Have been thinking about analogies ahead of a presentation I’m to give on eDemocracy in the UK. And with our domestic football season coming to an end, I’ve been thinking along footballing lines and playing about with this angle…

If we think of the web or politics as having football-like leagues, then taking an interest in eDemocracy is remarkably like following a lower-league team. Continue reading “eDemocracy in the top flights?”