Spotlight on technology

Today I’m bringing you four of the most interesting things I’ve read recently on technology and its impact. Social capital, cloud computing, future scenarios and current trends – it’s all in here.

NCVO’s fantastic work on social capital in 2003 and 2008 highlighted that whilst many voluntary and community organisations bring like-minded people together (create ‘bonding social capital’), fewer encourage greater social cohesion and promote community relationships across divides (create ‘bridging social capital’). The same accusation has often been leveled at the internet. In Hey Internet, where’s my cultural interface? Niel Bekker describes the challenges for our current technological tools in bridging cultural divides but predicts that the next generation of social networks may just tackle it – one to watch I think.

Scenarios are visions of alternative futures and can help organisations to think creatively about future opportunities and challenges. The Internet Society have published four scenarios for the future of the internet in the form of short videos and a few bullet points: the ‘Common Pool Scenario’; the ‘Boutique Networks Scenario’; the ‘Moats and Drawbridges Scenario’; and the ‘Porous Garden Scenario’. I like that they’re short and punchy and tease out the key uncertainties in how the internet will be used and controlled in the future.

Cloud computing was one of the topics explored at our seminar last autumn on changing ICT (see Rob Gear’s presentation from the seminar). Now NCVO’s Louise Brown has published an interview with Stony Grunow from Third Sector IT on the topic, focusing particularly on how small organisations can make use of cloud computing and discussing the practical concerns of legality, security, and reliability (see also our driver on online security).

Finally, for something completely different, take a look at this PDF of Seven Driving Forces Shaping Media. What I really like about this is the visual presentation of the drivers which provides a good snapshot in one glance. It may be two years old now but the trends are certainly still relevant. They include: Increasing Media Consumption; Fragmentation; Participation (see also our drivers on the ease of publishing online and interactive websites); Personalisation; New Revenue Models (see also our driver on online revenue); Generational Change; and, Increasing Bandwidth (see also our driver on access to the internet).

Last updated at 14:43 Fri 26/Nov/10.
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