Steve Walker

Some less or more well-organised thoughts

The future of the Internet for the voluntary sector (2007)

with 3 comments

Earlier on this week I gave a talk at an event ‘The Future of the Internet for the Voluntary and Community Sector’, organised by Voluntary Action Wakefield and District (VAWD), on Web 2.0.
Paul Webster at of the ICTHub, and based in Sheffield blogged the event and has posted a copy of the slides I used, at as well as some photos of the event on (

Below are some notes I produced as a handout, for people new to the ideas of Web 2.0 to start their explorations. I’ve put other links which I used in my presentation but which are not included below at:

A very brief introduction to Web 2.0

Web 2.0 has emerged as something of a buzzword over the last eighteen months. While use of the term varies, common characteristics are: user-generated content, participation, and, at more technical level, bringing together data and services from different sources to create new applications.

Blogs (short for web logs) are probably the most widely known example of a web 2.0 application, though they have been around for longer than the term web 2.0. Other examples include ‘wikis’ – web sites that allow anyone to edit a page, video sharing sites like, and ‘social networking’ web sites, of which the best known is, which allow people to link up with others with similar interests.

Since doing is often the best route to learning, a good way to get a feel for web 2.0 in general, and its potential uses in the voluntary sector, is to have a look. Below there is a list of web 2.0 sites below and examples of their use by voluntary and community organisations, that you can explore at your convenience. I will be presenting and discussing some of these in my presentation. These examples are intended to act as a starting point and to give some ideas for how these technologies might be used. They are certainly not in any way exhaustive or definitive!

While web 2.0 offers obvious possibilities it is important also to bear in mind that it is evolving, and brings with it some challenges and risks as well as opportunities. Some of the risks might include the emergence of websites of unclear origin which undermine activities of established voluntary organisations, data protection,  ‘cyberbullying’ and the existence of a permanent, highly public record of individuals and organisations, including indiscretions which might best be forgotten.. It is important, then, that we try to evaluate and share experiences, both good and bad, in this area.

Steve Walker, May 2007

Site/applicationwith description/examples

  • – is an embryonic encyclopaedia for the 3rd sector using wiki technology: that is, anybody can edit a page. You might want, for example, to add a page in an appropriate place about your own organisation.
  • BlogsDerived from ‘web log’, or online journalsites like (owned by Google) make publishing on the web particularly easy. Other variants include audioblogs and videoblogs. Google has aSome of the very many blogs with might be of interest in the voluntary sector are:
  • Candoexchange – by the Scarman Trust, the site aims to allow the exchange of skills and resources between those who have them and those who need them, to support community development. It’s well worth creating an account and having a look at some of the groups here.
  • – Allows sharing and tagging (classification) of bookmarks. These can also be assembled into a ‘roll’ and included in another web page, such as a blog as at the side of this article.
  • – Photo sharing site owned by Yahoo!. Photos can be uploaded for sharing publicly or with a limited audience. While some photos are highly professional, high production values are not necessary. Photos can be assembled into slide shows, as in the two examples below.
  • Google Docs & Spreadsheets allows you create documents and spreadsheets online and share them with colleagues – for example if multiple people need to edit the same document.
  • Meetup.comA site to arrange face to face meetings with like-minded people living locally. Some examples local to Wakefield include:
  •– the best known of the ‘social networking’ web sites which allow users to establish a profile and link to friends. Some campaigns have a presence in ‘MySpace’, particularly those with a particular orientation to young people:
  • – this site lets you make pledges, conditional on others doing the same: ‘I will if you will’. Example pledges include:
  • Skype- is the best known internet telephony company, supporting free audio and video calls across the Internet, free audio conferencing (which can be a very useful tool for distributed project work) and reduced costs for international calls.
  • Technology and Social ActionThe is used to co-ordinate and develop links between researchers and practitioners working on the ue of ICT in ‘social action’ settings.
  • Upcoming.comA way of announcing forthcoming events. One interesting use of this site is to share information about events at which BSL interpretation is available for deaf people.
  • Wayfaring.comA site for sharing locations on maps: for example, I created the map below to show parents where all of the cricket grounds are of sites in our local junior cricket league.
  • YouTube.comVideo sharing site owned by Google. As the examples below show, while some videos are professionally produced, lower production value videos can also have significant impact. Examples:

There are many more examples. If you want to explore further, you might find directories like or interesting places to start, but beware – there are a lot and this can eat up the hours!

Written by Steve

May 28, 2007 at 8:39 am

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Hi Steve – great page, thanks.
    It’s worth noting that the voluntary sector can access free Web 2.0 help from Volunteer IT

    Josh Hoole

    November 1, 2007 at 11:05 am

  2. comment


    March 13, 2008 at 3:34 pm

  3. …………………………………………….


    March 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s