Getting the ball rolling for a 2009 youth work online unconference

Last year around 50 of us got together one Saturday in September at the offices of DIUS and had a great day exploring all aspect of digital media and youth engagement through the UK Youth Online unconference.

It’s about time we started planning to do it again – so if you head over to the Youth Work Online network* you will find an opportunity to get in quick to make sure we hold it on a day that works for you – and to find out how you can get involved in the organising.

More details & information coming after Easter.

(*The network was renamed Youth Work Online from from UK Youth Online when we realised that it was getting confused with charity UK Youth with whom we have no links)

It’s not about you

If you have documents, websites or presentations about your youth participation project, and they spend more time talking about your organisation, or the consortia and collection or organisations involved in the project – than they spend talking about the project itself – something is probably wrong.

If your consultations are designed around your internal organisational structure, rather than being based on the issues and themes that matter most to the people you are consulting – something is probably wrong.

If to access your services young people need to provide all sorts of management information that is just for your funders, and which provides not added value to the young person – something is probably wrong.

Good participation isn’t just something you bolt on to your organisation – it shifts the focus. It’s not about you. It’s about change for young people.

Post your policy: e-safety, online youth work, e-participation

[Summary: Towards a pack of practical guidance for youth workers and participation workers using Social Network Sites]

I’ve just shared a copy of my latest attempt at putting together guidance notes for youth sector professionals exploring safe and effective engagement with social network sites, created as part of a series of training for youth services and other youth sector organisations that I’m currently preparing to pilot*.

You can grab a copy of the five-page document over on the Youth Work Online website. But, rather than just read the notes I’ve put together – I would love it if you could share any existing e-safety and e-participation policies or guidance you’ve put together in your organisation. There has a been a lot of discussion in the ‘Policies, guidelines and boundaries for interacting online‘ thread on Youth Work Online about what a good policy or guidance note might look like – but as yet we’ve had no draft policies or notes shared in full. It’s time we changed that.

*If your organisation might be interested in piloting a one-day workshop on ‘Safe & Effective use of Social Network Sites in Youth Work/Participation Settings’ then do drop me a line.

(Update: It seems some Local Authorites have trouble accessing the Youth Work Online website (and some even have trouble accessing this blog…). If that is preventing you accesing the document mentioned in the post above, or preventing you sharing a policy or document you would like to share, drop me a line…)

Quick links: Participation Works & OpenGov

OpenGov Event – 22nd April
On the 22nd April I’m going to be speaking and taking part in a panel at OpenGov which describes itself as:

A practical one-day conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities of social technologies to enable engagement, collaboration, and transparency in government.

I’ll be drawing on learning from our work with new technologies and youth engagement what engagement, collaboration and transparency look like when you include young people in the picture.

Registration is now open – and if you sneakily use one of the links below you can get yourself a specially discounted ticket (just say Tim’s Blog sent you…)

For Government employees £115 (normal price £150)
For Start-ups, Sole traders & Independents – £55 (normal price £75)

New Participation Works Website
Participation Works have just launched their new website
– with a much clearer layout – and new features for members of the Participation Works Network for England (PWNE). In particular, if you’re a PWNE member (it’s free to join…), make sure you log-in to take a look at the new Participation Works blog, currently running as a trial project just for PWNE members – but, if all goes well, to be opened to the wider world soon…

Plus – if you’ve struggled to find information in the Participation Works resource library in the past – the new resource library makes it a lot easier to dig into a great knowledge base around participation – including lots of new video content.

(And, I have to say, having interim managed the launch of the last Participation Works site which I inherited running the horrible DotNetNuke CMS, it’s great to see the new version is made up of Drupal goodness)

One page guides on scribd

[Summary: all the one page guides now available on scribd]

After trying out Scribd to share my recent One Page Guide to Twitter I thought it might be handy to upload all the past guides. So – over here you will find all (currently 21) of the one page guides – including a new Blogging with WordPress introduction and a guide to registering a domain name created as part of a series I’m working on for local campaigning organisations.

Perhaps now it’s time to work on a one page guide to Scribd…

Do you want to be part of creating a new SNS application for youth participation?

Be part of building the future of consultation. (Photo credit Balakov

[Summary: Looking for local authorities to be part of joint-commissioning new Facebook/Bebo/MySpace tool for youth participation]

One of the action projects emerging from the Action Learning Set I’m currently involved in around Youth Participation & Social Network Sites is all about creating a new online tool to transform consultation with young people – and to go from dull form-filling to engaging ongoing dialogue between young people and those in local authorities who want to hear from them.

The action project team, sprearheaded by Tom Gaskin from Norfolk Blurb and with support from others including Jess Linacre have already got a series of great design ideas together working with SNS application developers Neontribe and now they are looking for other local authorities who want to pool resources to help build the best possible application.

So – if you are from a local authority, or similar organisation, and you could be interested in being part of the pilot and contributing towards the budget – then drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with the action project team.

(Photo credit Balakov)