BarCampUKGovWeb – What should I be talking about on young people, government and web 2.0?

Whilst I'm on the topic of upcoming conferences and events, two days before I'll be exploring how various speakers think we should keep young people safe online, I should be at BarCampUKGovWeb – an altogether different sort of event.


A BarCamp “an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.” Participants are encouraged to contribute short sessions to the event – and I've just been thinking about the sorts of sessions I could present.

The BarCampUKGovWeb focus is on:

…creating a shared understanding and commitment to the vision for UK government web activity and helping establish the UK government Digital Network to bring together the community of webbies within central government and the wider public sector.

Quite a few projects I worked on over the last year have linked with UK Government web activity in one way or another. It's ranged from trying to provide youth-focussed content for government websites, pulling data out of Local Direct Gov or capturing video interviews with civil servants. And as the focus of most of my work is around young people's participation – I thought I would sketch out four possible mini-sessions linking 'young people, government and web 2.0' for the BarCampUKGov audience. You can see my four ideas pasted in below.

If you've got any other suggestions for topics – or want to suggest developments to any of the below – do get in touch using the comments below.

From an e-mail to the Google Group

Possible sessions

1. Protection and provision
Exploring issues around making sure under 18's are included, not excluded from the online civic space.

A bit theoretical – but with big practical implications.

2. Local names and national services
Using a case study of the Youth Opportunity Fund – a national programme, with a unique name (chosen by young people) in each local authority area – but for which we were trying to run a national publicity campaign working with (the then) DfES and DirectGov. Touches on technical issues linked to Local DirectGov – and organisational issues about policies for where content is hosted.

A very practical case study.

3. Working in partnership with government to consult and promote new policy
A couple of case studies of small scale projects for government (predominantly DfES) delivered by The National Youth Agency consulting with young people, or leading discussions and information-sharing about new policy with the field – incorporating the use of social media. Looking at how the social media element mostly 'just happened' – with logistical and policy issues being resolved along the way… and looking at whether this can be replicated – was the product of right people, right place, right time – or was enabled at the cost of
having a lesser impact.

4. Young people, online identity and the database state
I'm aware of at least one local authority building their own Social Networking website linked to the local Connexions database (holding personal information about young people). What happens when young people's online interaction comes within the ambit of the database state? Could we see social networks being linked to ContactPoint and other child protection databases? What about for over 18s?

Probably a bit of a theoretical discussion starter at the moment (unless I can work something up a little more in time for the BarCamp)

If I get chance to put together a full presentation for the BarCamp then I will, of course, share it here. And I'll aim to at least blog at/after the event on any discussions arising from the sessions I'm in.

Youth Work Guide to Blogging from YOMO

Blogging for Youth WorkTwo of the reasons I gave in my recent post '7 reasons why youth workers should be blogging' were to share resources, and to build networks.

Well, following some blog-based networking and discussion sparked by that post, I've just logged on to find Mas from the the YOMO Breakfast Society blog has drafted a fantastic 'getting started guide' for youth work blogging resource. And DK from MediaSnackers who has been taking advantage of his speaking gigs around the country to encourage youth service blogging is proposing a video intro as well. Blogging and collaboration in action.

You can find the draft guide Mas has written attached to this post, and he is inviting feedback to help build to a final version of the guide. It would be great if readers with experience of trying to promote blogging in different sectors and organisation could cast an eye over the guide an offer any advice.

The guide is also really interested in helping me to think about developments for the one-page-guide series – as somehow Mas has managed to fit a fantastic amount of information into the 'Blogging for Youth Work' guide whilst at the same time managing to keep it looking a lot cleaner and less cluttered that the guides I've been developing so far.

One page guides: online mapping & google earth

Custom online maps with two one page guides were written for the Young Researcher Network launch conference where they were used as part of a session introducing social media tools for young researchers.

I've always found geographic and mapping visualisations to be really helpful in participation projects (as in this series of workshops on the local offer), and so these two guides explore how Google Earth and the My Maps feature of Google Maps can be used to add an online dimension to community mapping projects.

In the 'Custom Online Maps – with' guide I've tried a new technique, picking up on the annotated screen shot style of Sue Waters (example here) to show the different options available on My Maps.

You can download 'Custom Online Maps – with' here as a PDF for printing, or if you want to edit and adapt a copy, grab the original word file here.

Google Earth

The 'Mapping your community with Google Earth' guide explains:

Google Earth allows you to view high resolution satellite images of your local area on a 3D globe.

You can add annotations and notes onto Google earth to record information about your area.

You can add lines and shapes to mark out particular areas on your map.
You can share your annotations so that they can be accessed on Google Maps ( or in other mapping tools.

You can download the 'Mapping your community with Google Earth' guide as a PDF here, or as a word document for editing it is available here.

This guide is only a very brief introduction and is very specific in having been designed for a 25 minute mini-workshop introducing Google Earth. I'm mainly sharing here for those who were at the workshop and have asked for a copy…

The Young Researcher Network launch conference where the workshop took place also explored how you can use Flickr to create a photo map. There is an earlier guide that mentions that to be found here.

Attachment: Online maps.pdf
Attachment: Google Earth.pdf
Attachment: Google Earth.doc
Attachment: Online maps.doc

One page guide: introducing wikis

Introducing wikiAnother post in the one page getting started series. This time taking a look at the humble wiki.

From the document:

A wiki page is a bit like a whiteboard. All you need is a marker pen and you can change the content of the whiteboard. On a wiki page, just search for the edit link and you can change the page contents directly from your web browser.

Unlike a whiteboard, however, a wiki will store a history of page changes so you can see how a page has changed over time, and can bring back an old version if you want to.

A wiki website is build up of interlinked wiki pages. It is easy to create new pages. Wiki pages are usually created in plain text with special ‘markup’ to indicate links and formatting.

You can download the guide for printing here, or for editing here.

Because of the group I designed it for, this version of the guide suggests that users get familiar with the wiki concept by trying to edit a relevant page on Wikipedia, and then uses Wikispaces as it's example of a build-your-own wiki. This may not be suitable for all groups – but, as the sheet is Creative Commons licenced you are free to apapt it to suit the context you are working in.

A few wiki links:

  • Wiki Patterns a toolbox of patterns & anti-patterns that will make a wiki work – and a guide to the different stages of introducing a wiki into a group or organisation setting.

    I particularly like the Barn Raising pattern, which reminds me, Watford Gap and I had earlier this year thought about a UK not-for-profit bit of wiki barn-raising on Wikipedia. A new-years-resolution project for 2008 perhaps..

  • Wikis in plain english excelent video introduction to wiki concepts by Common Craft.
  • Wikispaces – Free hosted wiki of choice for most of the mini-collaborative projects I've come across.
  • DokuWiki a suprisingly powerful and effective wiki system to install on your own servers or intranet. My wiki of choice for keeping myself organised on a day-to-day basis.

Attachment: 8 – Wiki in One Page.pdf
Attachment: 8 – Wiki General.doc

One page guide: finding and reading blogs

Finding and reading blogs

This is the next in my series of one-page getting started guides – and the first of quite a few to be posted this evening.

The concept for these guides is fairly simple, although one I'm still experimenting with.

The goal is that each sheet should take someone from not knowing what a particular social media tool is, nor how they would use it – to at least having taken the first steps to using it in a sensible and sustainable way. And it should do that in no more than one side of A4.

So – attached to this sheet is a getting started guide on 'Finding and Reading Blogs'.

You can download this as a PDF for printing, or a word document to edit and adapt for your own use.

If you or the target audience you may use this sheet with have not already started using an RSS reader then you may find it useful to start with this guide on reading RSS/Blog feeds with NetVibes.

Attachment: 6 – Reading Blogs.doc
Attachment: 6 – Reading Blogs.pdf

Youth work and social networking: starting with a survey

Youth Work and Social Networking Research Project Launched

Appologies to any youth workers out there (particularly if you've got a participation remit) – I seem to be asking quite a lot of you this evening – but, after weeks of preparation I can happily announce the launch of the 'Youth Work and Social Networking' survey as part of a wider research project I'm working on for The National Youth Agency.

To quote from the post I've just written over on the project blog.

How are youth workers using online social networking tools themselves and in a professional context? And what is the role of youth work in supporting young people's interaction with online social networking?

Those are two of the questions we're hoping to get a little closer to answering through this online survey.

If you are a Youth Worker in England and you can spare up to 25 minutes of your time, then please do head over and complete the survey online before the 21st January 2008.

Your answers will inform a series of focus groups and action research projects running between February and April, and will feed directly into the final project report due in mid 2008.

I'm collaborating on the research project with Pete Cranston and just through our initial conversations and early background reading, a wealth of fascinating sub-questions about how youth work interacts with online social networking have been thrown up. So I'm hopefuly that through the survey we'll soon start to see the outlines of some answers emerging – although I'm sure as many questions will be raised as answered!

We're targetting the survey at 22 specific local authorities, but other youth work professionals from England are very much welcome and encouraged to complete the survey also.

The 2007 Digital Media Literacy Summit in review…

Digital Media Literacy SummitGiven it's Open Space flavour the Digital Media Literacy Summit on Thursday (8th Nov) at the Channel 4 building in London didn't exactly come up with a set of clear action points for building digital media literacy, but it did offer some key insights that can help us on the way.

That said, if the event was a Summit, then participants had climbed to it from many different directions, and I suspect in fact all we have done so far is to move towards a basecamp where we need to consolidate, take stock, and then climp the real peak.

Building the basecamp

Confluencia camp by Stafatty was tasked with capturing interviews with the key speakers at the event, and young reporters from MediaSnackers were roaming the event capturing vox pop interviews with delegates. All the videos are available on the Policy Unplugged website, but below I've tried to weave together a summary of the voices I heard and the threads of conversation that ran throughout the day.

Links in Bold point to the short ( < 3 mins) video interviews with speakers from the Summit that I was tasked to capture on the day.

Paragraphs/sentences in italics show where I'm adding my own commentary or analysis to this summary rather than reflecting on the words of others.

The Digital Media Literacy Summit 2007

Peter Packer, a strategy adviser to the UK Film Council and Media Literacy Task Force, and involved in the convening of the event offered an overview of the media literacy taskforce and it's role in the the debate over digital media literacy in the UK – explaining the importance of building a media literacy that allows individuals to:

  • Analyse media, understanding its context and the reasons for which it was created.
  • Create media, and understand the creation process.

The charter for media literacy goes some way to expanding upon that. The theme of allowing individual to develop media literacy through creating media was one picked up by Dick Penny from the Watershed in Bristol, who emphasised that digital media literacy is no different from other forms of literacy, and that there have been cultural organisations engaging citizens 'from the edges' in media creation for a long time.

Yemesi interviewed at DMLSIn this mediasnackers Vox Pop Joven and Tom captured a range of definitions of media literacy from around the floor of the conference. Katie and Shadeeka also captured a range of defintions from delegates. For some, digital media literacy isn't about technology – but for others, understanding the devices and the tools is crucial. To an extent, individuals definitions of digital media literacy may appear to map onto whether they are concerned with the analysis of media by the consumer, or the creation of media by the citizen.

Both 20 year old student Yemesi Blake and Silver Surfer of the Year 2007 Joan Barker made it clear that the key to gaining digital media literacy is just getting started and getting engaged, particularly in Yememi's view in creating the media through blogging. Matt Locke, a Commissioning Editor with Channel 4, picked up the theme of enabling people to just get started with a call for more 'cheats and hacks and walk-throughs' to enable citizens to gain digital media literacy from the bottom up, rather than through top-down charter-driven debates.

The importance of access was a key concern. This arose both in terms of accessing the equipment to connect to the digital media world (as this interview with delegates by MediaSnackers Yaz and Clare shows), and in terms of being able to access social media and digital media spaces in schools and learning environments without being subject to locked-down internet access with blocks on anything interactive.

Ewan McIntosh, picked up this reflection, and outlined the amazingly positive ways social media can contribute to education and collaboration if we avoid the route of locking everything down and don't "try to teach people to swim without any water".

James Purnell and DMLSIn his keynote speech (and interview afterwards) James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, touched upon the loss of controls that digital media has brought, and the way government does not want to re-introduce new forms of censorship to regain that control – but also spoke in his keynote of new forms of blocking software to allow parents and institutions to limit young peoples access to content. James Purnell also emphasised the role of government in setting frameworks but not in legislating on digital media literacy.

Controlling content access continued to crop up as a theme – without, it seemed, a clear argument during the day to analyse the role 'intelligent blocking' software has to play in building media literacy. (Without that argument, it might seem blocking just puts off the need for certain 'tough' forms of digital media literacy). It may be that a connected, but arguably separate, debate about internet safety was finding itself tangled up in the day's proceedings.

On that theme of safety Dr Tanya Byron was present at the Summit and provided this short introduction to her review on young peoples online safety and how digital media literacy fits with the Byron Review. Tanya also spoke on the platform later in the day to confirm her support for a code of conduct and some res

Whereas Ewan identifies schools as the key location for building digital media literacy, I spoke to Raemmel and Furqan in this vox-pop interview to highlight the role of Youth Work in supporting young people to develop the skills to safely navigate the social aspects of digital media in a world of social networks.

As the event moved from presentations to an open space format, it was clear that there were a lot of questions still to answer. Including:

Jelly EllieIs digital media literacy really a new cannon? How much does the technology change things?

17 year old Jelly Ellie certainly saw there being a gulf between young people and their parents with respect to their media worlds, and Jon Gisby offered a look at how the media landscape has changed and the way in which that brings new demands and new challenges.

The accessiblity of the digital realm to those with learning disabilities was the subject of one open space group, and others tackled the question of digital media literacy for older people. The need for an inclusive digital media literacy agenda was certainly felt.

An ongoing conversation

The ongoing conversationAs I said in opening, this wasn't a summit that lead to a shared conclusion. It launched conversations threads that now need to be tracked forward and woven together.

The inputs were not only in the open space discussions and in speeches from the platform, but were being shared through the blogosphere as live blogs and have been shared in blog posts since (this one amongst them). A quick blog search today turns up a great live-blogged sumamry from Ewan, addressing questions of age and access, and a reflective summary of the day from social media strategist Katie Lips. I'm sure there is more to come…


The Policy Unplugged site where these videos are hosted has been a little intermittent. You can find all of the videos on this youtube channel or using the player below

The twitter post: txt for conferencing and consultation

(The twitter post: Well, it had to come sooner or later…)

Twitter from YOMO Event

I've just returned from an event in Chester (YOMO's Practical Ideas for Participation gathering) where we were making use of a tool called twitter to collect and share instant feedback throughout the event direct from people's mobile phones. The image above shows the feedback we got at the end of the event, all sent in by text message. With Twitter you can...

This has been my first large-scale experiment with twitter, and so shared below you will find:

  • A quick account of how we used twitter and a creative commons briefing you can adapt for using twitter at your conferences.
  • A reflection on the potential for twitter as a consultation/participation tool, and an invitation to suggest a pilot project.

Conference twitter for feedback
We set up a conference twitter account, and asked delegates to follow our account via mobile phone (by sending two sign-up text messages).

Throughout the event we were able to send instant text messages to all delegates – letting them know about what was coming up next, and inviting feedback. And delegates were able to text in their reflections, questions and feedback – with their views instantly appearing on the 'twitter wall' projected up on the main room, and on tickers running along the top of each powerpoint presentation being given.

Twitter briefingIt cost us nothing to set up. And it provided some really insightful gut-reaction instant feedback throughout the event.

The briefing paper I used to get people started using twitter at the event is attached at the bottom of this post.

It's not quite the same as the rest of the 'One pager…' series, as you will need to adapt this to your context if you want to use it. You will find comments in the margins giving you information on what you need to get set up for that.

Community twitter for consultation and participation

Twitter is a very flexible platform for building social networks. In general, it will work something like this:

  • People opt to follow your updates via the web, their mobile phone, or an instant messenger (gtalk).
  • You write an update.
  • Your followers receive your update on the web, by instant message or by text.
  • They can reply to you by instant message, web or text message either public ally, or privately.
  • You can read all the responses by phone, on the web or by instant message.
  • It doesn't cost anything more than the standard cost of any text messages involved.
  • If you are asking for public replies, then it would be possible to share the question and replies with others by pointing them to your twitter page on the web.

Some twitter users treat it as a way of keeping in touch with a geographically dispersed team. Some twitter users micro-blog using it to alert others to what they are up to.


But, if you're thinking what I'm thinking – you might spot that there is a powerful tool for youth participation here. Imagine this scenario:

  • People opt to follow your updates via the web, their mobile phone, or an instant messenger (gtalk) – you ask young people across the community to follow your updates by phone, building up a large groups of 250 'followers' across the community.
  • You write an update – when you need to gauge ideas in the area on a particular issue. You pose a short question.
  • Your followers receive your update on the web, by instant message or by text – hopefully as many as possible receive the message by text soon after you send it.
  • They can reply to you by instant message, web or text message either public ally, or privately – you ask for public replies and within an hour you have short text feedback and ideas from 90 young people. You send a text an hour later thanking everyone from feedback and letting them know you no longer need replies.
  • You can read all the responses by phone, on the web or by instant message – instantly gaining a deeper insight into different young people's views on an issue. If this helps you make a decision or make a change, you can send an update to provide instant feedback,
  • It doesn't cost anything more than the standard cost of any text messages involved.
  • If you are asking for public replies, then it would be possible to share the question and replies with others by pointing them to your twitter page on the web – you could send a link to the views to a local councilor to ask them to read young peoples views directly.

I'm not aware of any groups making use of twitter in this way yet (though I would be suspired if there aren't some out there applying it like this – do get in touch) and I would be very interested in supporting a pilot project.

Other applications

For more on applications of Twitter, you might want to check out

Attachment: Twitter briefing for conferences – draft.doc

Launching a social media experiment and piloting a metrics model: Aiming High for Young People

Aiming High WebsiteIf all goes well, I should be posting this just as we soft-launch the next of The National Youth Agency's* forrays into social media with the Aiming High for Young People: sharing, learning and developing action website. It's a companion website running alongside a series of regional events which are unpacking and exploring the recent Ten Year Strategy (Aiming High for Young People = Ten Year Youth Strategy) for young people launched by the UK Government.

The site, which should evolve and increase in interactivity over the course of the next three months, is based around three core elements:

  • A team blog – offering input from different staff members across The National Youth Agency – designed to capture and share insights and ideas from the events and from work within The National Youth Agency around the ten year strategy.
  • Reporting from regional events – where we will be capturing and sharing video clips, and slide-share powerpoint presentations on the site – and creating space for discussion around these. The video clips will offer narrative insights into examples of best practice. This will start next week after the first regional event (Tuesday 30th October).
  • Discussions space – based around free discussion and, drawing uponDiscuss the Youth Strategy the work of Comment On This, around a copy of the strategy itself. We've chunked the government strategy document up into small sections, each commentable upon – to encourage visitors to offer their commentary, examples of good projects and practice, shared learning and experiences relating directly to parts of the strategy. I'll write a little more about this soon…

As we progress we will hopefully make use of further social media tools. This exploration on social media builds upon earlier work with Youth Summit Live – a live-blogging experiment at a two-day event.

Social Media Metrics

It is, of course, no point making new steps into the social media space, if we don't know what it will achieve. This current launch isn't 'radical social media', but over time, through this project, and others, we will be adding new social media tools to our toolbox, and we need to be able to measure their impact and work out whether they are essential tools for everyone, or ones to 'keep in the cupboard' until we have a project they could really add to.

Beth's post that sparked this postSo to aid thinking around this, I've worked through Beth Kanters proposed model for Social Media Metrics below and filled in under the five headings what the goal, outcomes, metrics, measurement and map for the 'Aiming High for Young People: sharing, learning and developing action' website might be. And of course, in the interests of sharing and learning – I've shared that thinking here:

>>Goal: What is your most important organizational, business, program, or project goal?

The overall mission of The National Youth Agency is: supporting young people to achieve their full potential. The NYA works with organisations and services to improve the life NYA information leafletchances of young people and also works directly with young people themselves to develop their voice and influence in shaping policy and securing social justice.

With respect to this particular project – our aim is to provide information, insights and a space for dialogue that can support individuals and organisations across England in putting recent government policy for young people (Aiming High for Young People) into practice in the most effective ways possible. We're providing information, insights and space for dialogue in order to see services learn from each other, and work together, to provide the best for young people.

>>Outcomes: What changes? What happens? What would success look like to you?

The project and events sub-title provides a good framework for measuring outcomes. We want to see:

  • Sharing – not just from The NYA 'publishing' content on the Aiming High blog, and publishing videos on regional event write-ups. Rather, we want to see sharing from the field. Practioners sharing their own examples of best practice, their stories of challenges and ways they have overcome them, and their insights into steps that can be taken to improve services for young people.

    In that not much of this takes place online at present, encouraging practioners to engage with online spaces for sharing stories, challenges and sollutions will be a change.

    Success in terms of sharing would be to see the majority of content agregated through the Aiming High for Young People website originating not from The National Youth Agency, but from managers and practioners from across the country.

  • Learning – for both The NYA and managers and practioners in the field. Through gathering together stories, insights and discussion we should see new ideas highlighted, and areas for further investigation and work highlighted also.

    We should see a change in terms of how widely the captured learning from regional events is shared. Instead of just being available to delegates at each event, much of the learning should reach a far wider audience.

    Success would be sharing the learning opportunities around Aiming High for Young People with at least double the number of people who are able to attend the physical events.

  • Action developed – that makes a difference to the lives of young people. The sharing and learning that takes place through our social media work around Aiming High for Young People should impact on action.

    Change should be seen in the design and delivery of services for young people. Success would be being able to identify the impact of social media interactions on concrete actions.

As well as sharing, learning and developing action – we also look towards outcomes around networking. Helping develop and maintain further links between The NYA and organisations across the country – links that can be activated and drawn upon when The NYA can offer support to organisations in the future. And creating space for, and fostering, links between front-line organisations who can support each other with ongoing sharing and learning.

>>Metrics: What are the attributes or evidence you will measure?

Google analyticsIt's tempting to look at our metrics in terms of 'Access, Empowerment and Quality' (the three themes in the Ten Year Youth Strategy) – but probably Access, Engagement and Action are more suitable. Here are a few of the metrics we may look to track.

Access – How many people are accessing content provided by this project? Where are they accessing it? How are they coming to find it? What is the demographic of users?

Engagement – How many people are engaging with interactive features (and who?). What percentage of content is user-generated?

Action – What are the anecdotal 'stories of change' and case studies of change that can track some of their inspiration back to this project?

How will you measure? What data? What source?

Below is a quick list of the measurements that we may use to assess against these metrics.

  • How many people are accessing content provided by this project? Where are they accessing it? How are they coming to find it?
    Google Analytics and statistics from the Content Management System (Drupal)
  • What is the demographic of users?
    We can use a combination of user registration information. We should be able to infer some information from working out how many users access accessing from Local Authority Networks / National Government (usually have a reverse DNS for a address). However, we will probably want to look at using some sort of small survey later in the project to gain a deeper insight.
  • How many people are engaging with interactive features (and who?)
    I could look to set up a goal in Google Analytics for users adding comments, and can then track at-a-glance how interactive features are performing.

    Using the Content Management System I should be able to pull out information about the average number of comments each user is adding, and to build up a picture of whether interactive features are being used very actively by a small minority, or more evenly by a larger group (we may need to think more about which of these is more desirable if any).

    It may be possible to use user segmentation features in Google Analytics to track activity from registered users according to their organisation and region (they provide this information at sign-up).

  • What percentage of content is user-generated?
    For this also the data will come from the Content Management System .
  • What are the anecdotal 'stories of change' and case studies of change that can track some of their inspiration back to this project?
    This is more of an evaluation question than an ongoing 'metric' – and finding data to make an assessment in answer to this question will require more than online statistics.

    We will need to look at building in questions about our Aiming High for Young People social media work into future case study gathering processes and in guidance to staff for facilitating sessions around the Ten Year Youth Strategy in future.

    By seeking to build strong ongoing networks on the back of this one-off social media project, we should also be able to open up channels for gaining more informal data about the impact of the project on concrete action.

Map: What social media strategies will you use to reach your goals?

We're started off with blogging, encouraging RSS subscriptions, and allowing comments. We'll be looking at different platforms for video and photo-sharing soon. We will have to see whether we can add social networking to the mix or not, but we're certainly open to trying different tools and strategies responding to metrics, measurements and our developing goals along the way.



Reflections on the draft model
Beth's Social Media Metrics model is at the draft/pilot stage at the moment – and part of my motivation for taking the time to work through it (as above) has been to help try it out and generate some reflections on how it works. So, on reflection:

  • Pyramid of measurementsThere is very much a pyramid at work here. I can write one goal, which leads to a number of expected outcomes, each of which could be assessed against a range of metrics, each of which can be measured by a range of measurements. It could easily become unmanageable at the measurements level if you're not careful higher up. Should I have a pyramid? Or should it be a neat chain of measurements, metrics and outcomes.

    Perhaps it I hadn't been working 'from the top down' I would have ended up with a different story. In my outline above each outcome has it's metrics, each metric has it's measurements – where quite possibly one measurement could tell me something about more than out outcome.

    This said, working from the goal does mean I've not limited myself to easy-to-get measurements only.

  • I'm not clear enough on the difference between metrics and measurements in the model. This is likely down to me not spending enough time reading Beth's post and working on this from the train with very intermittent internet access that has prevented me from following links… but the distinction between 'the attributes I'll measure' and their 'data' and 'source' seems fairly slim in some cases.
  • The model hasn't asked me to think enough about 'when' I'll take measurements. That might be the next step, but working out which of my measurements should be taken regularly and which should be ad-hoc would help me in breaking the bottom level of the pyramid into managageable chunks.

Overall – however – I've certainly been encouraged to do a lot of thinking here… and thinking that, I hope to be able to blog soon, will really add to our ability to make the most of the opportunities for social media to support 'Learning, sharing and developing action' around Aiming High for Young People.

*Context: I work in a consultancy capacity with The National Youth Agency on youth participation and introducing social media into the organisations work.

Free guide: analytics for social change organisations…

Tracking impact - analytics guideIn social change organisations we want to change things. Real world things. Things that make a difference to people.

If changing the numbers in our website statistics can contribute towards that, then we want to change those numbers.

But it can be far to easy (doubly so, it seems, when reports for funders are involved) to get trapped looking at the numbers, and to lose sight of how those are part of creating change for people.

I recently had the chance to put together a training pack/guide for Participation Works about web analytics, and how they can be used in a social change focussed organisation.

Much of the guide was specific to Participation Works, but a lot is, I hope, relevant to other social change organisations as well. And as I must acknowledge much debt to shared content from Beth Kanter and many others in putting together this guide, it only seems right to share what I can of it back freely to non-profit organisations.

So, attached to the bottom of this post you will find an outline version of that guide for you to use, adapt and build upon . To quote from it:

This is a skeleton document for building a guide to web analytics for social change organisations.

It is shared under a creative commons non commercial license in the interests of supporting those working with not for profit organisations. If you wish to use or adapt this guide as part of paid consultancy to not-for-profit organisations, or in private sector settings, please contact in advance.

This guide is not out-of-the-box ready to be used. Throughout this document you will find text highlighted in yellow which will need customizing for the particular context where use of this guide is intended. This customization will require some technical knowledge. Other areas of the document not highlighted in yellow may also need to be changed depending on your context.

Analytics Guide contentsThat said, most of Chapters 1, 2 and 4 can be taken and used fairly as-is.

Oh, and whilst you are thinking about ways of measuing the impact of your organisation, if you happen to be:

  • From a not for profit organisation,
  • Based in Enland,
  • Working with young people, or with young people as stakeholders in your work,

then you might want to get in touch with Participation Works to find out about their free programme of training and support third-sector organisations in building their capacity to listen to and respond to the voice of children and young people. The web analytics only tell you so much… it’s the conversations with, and the handing of power to, service users that really helps you know whether you’re heading in the right direction…

Attachment: Analytics for social change organisations.doc