What's next?

SHMU's involvement in the Incluso project has created opportunities for using digital platforms to reach out to and interact with communities. The INCLUSO pilots involved learning about social media, its technologies and how young people use it in their lives. Even before the pilot research and reporting was concluded, SHMU's project director and the Incluso coordinator had begun developing ideas on how to use the new social media expertise and technology in new and exciting ways.

 

  • Free website builder for community and youth organisations

Staff running projects in which an Incluso pilot was set up said they would have liked an online opportunity to show outsiders (public, councillors, funding bodies etc) what the Incluso activities involved and how it helped the young people and the organisation. So, SHMU's Incluso coordinator developed an instructional package (using video and a printed guide) to enable any organisation to set up and design its own website. The only cost is the estimated 2 hours it takes an employee or volunteer with an organisation to follow the instructions. This website is a content management system based on the open source and free-to-use (and host) Wordpress software. This website building package is a direct result of the Incluso work and will very quickly be made available to the community and youth work sector in Aberdeen.

  • Development of an open source social network application for community building

The experience of the Incluso project has convinced SHMU's project director and the Incluso coordinator that digital platforms can help communities and groups become stronger and more confident. You can see the committment to this kind of online interactivity by the amount of time the Incluso coordinator has spent looking for an alternative to the application which was used during the Incluso project (Ning), which has since adopted a paid-for model. The Buddypress application (based around the free and open source Wordpress software) is relatively new and is now being developed into a fully-fledged and documented social network. SHMU has joined the growing Buddypress community to develop a highly flexible application which youth and community organisations can use to create communities of members. This product will be made available, free to any organisation which wants it. This application requires some technical expertise to set up and host and so SHMU is also developing an infrastructure for supporting organisations operating in the marginalised areas of Aberdeen and with which SHMU works.

  • Supporting organisations with technical and design expertise

SHMU is looking for funding which will enable it to launch its online community-building services to the city of Aberdeen's marginalised communities. It's unclear exactly how this might work, but it would include technical and design support as well as ongoing systems and network support for organisations which don't have staff with these skills.

  • Social networking on a free community wifi network

A SHMU team is still working towards its long term aim of integrating a form of social network into an online community portal. This portal is the gateway to a free community wifi network. The wifi network is up and running, and the portal is now in development. The plan is for the social networking functionality to help a community develop more social cohesion, pride and, of course, power.