A guest post from John Popham about his Celebration 2.0 project which Talk About Local are delighted to be supporting.
Technology should be fun. What do you use computers and smartphones for? Chatting to your friends on Facebook? Sharing photos with your loved ones? Talking to relatives in far-flung places on Skype? Uploading novelty videos to youtube? The vast majority of people who use new technologies do so because they are fun to use and they add something to our lives. So it has always puzzled me why most initiatives that seek to introduce people to new technologies do so in such a serious way. If I’ve never used a computer I am unlikely to want to sit down at a bank of them in an IT suite or on a training course.
Celebration 2.0 is a project funded by Nominet Trust (http://www.nominettrust.org.uk), and I am running it in conjunction with Talk About Local. It grew out of a wacky idea I had last Spring, to live broadcast an English village cricket match over the internet as a demonstration of what can be done with a fast internet connection, and to highlight the problems of poor rural broadband. This event became known as Twicket and it turned into a very high profile occasion with national newspaper and radio interest, coverage from regional television, and thousands of online viewers and listeners. I was even interviewed about it on Radio New Zealand. Twicket was a great success in highlighting some serious issues, but it was the unintended consequences that were perhaps more intriguing. These included the commentator, Brenda, who had never considered technology as being important in her life, becoming a cult star on the internet. It also included farmers who were playing in the game being interviewed on national radio about their role in it, and being contacted by Facebook friends in the United States and Australia who had watched them on the field of play.
So, in Celebration 2.0 I am testing out my theory that people take best to new technologies if introduced while they are having fun. I want to introduce people to new technologies for the first time in the midst of celebration events, and I want to convince people who are only occasional users of such technologies that they can enhance their lives and become important to them. At the same time, I want to bring local traditions, customs and cultures to a wider audience. A couple of the things that helped Twicket become such a success were the Americans marvelling at their first live exposure to a “quaint” English tradition, and the popularity of the village gossip imparted by commentator, Brenda.
Please let me know, then if you have a celebration event that you think would benefit from the Celebration 2.0 treatment. Your event needs to be between now and the end of May 2012, and you have to be prepared for me to turn up and do one or more of the following:
- Live video streaming
- live audio streaming
- recorded video via Youtube (or similar site)
- recorded audio via Audioboo (or similar site)
- video and audio interviews
- live blogging
- Facebook pages
- event blogs
- securing and utilising internet connectivity in difficult places
I’ve got one or two events potentially lined up to be part of the programme, but there is plenty of room for more at the moment. Talking with colleagues in the Talk About Local team, we came up with an outline of the kinds of events that might be good to cover, these included:
- Animal shows
- May Day parades
- pub quizzes
- karaoke nights
- beer festivals
These are some examples, but any event could qualify, particularly if it is about a cultural tradition which deserves a wider audience. I’ve set up a calendar that you can enter your event in so it can be considered for inclusion. You’ll find the calendar here. Please include contact details and a link to any website where more details of the event can be found.
I look forward to working with you, and, above all, sharing in your celebrations.