Busy week as we had the kick off meeting for the Virtual Town Hall pilot as well as getting EU funding bids finalised. Both went well! I also met Liz Azyan who, part from being a huge source of knowledge about what people are doing online via her blog has the dubious honour of having actually persuaded me to try twitter – new widget on the side bar to celebrate!!

But this post is really about an intriguing article I read this weekend – I actually found it in The Times but couldn’t find a link – so here it is from marketing week.  But if you don’t fancy clicking on the link I can tell you that Sport England have signed a partnership deal with Facebook to create a sport hub on the platform to try and increase the number of people actually taking part in sport. Now, lots of things about this are interesting:

  • Its the first major deal I have come across between Facebook and a government agency
  • Its shows a lot of faith in the connection between the online and offline world – we’re not talking about getting people onto wii fit here – this is actual running around
  • The article talks about the idea of a ‘hub’ – which seems to be a new kind of facebook furniture – but this is not yet clear

The quote from Facebook in the article talks about “using our social tool as a tool for social change” and this is perhaps the most interesting part of the whole thing.

Now – I have huge doubts about the integrity of an environment like Facebook when discussed in terms of social change. I think that underlying design assumptions are enormously important and I think that Facebook is based on the idea of selling advertising and not on the idea of helping people get away from their computers. However – like it or not Facebook is currently one of our largest networked publics (good article on this here) and as such we need to pay attention to this first foray by government into actually using it to effect social change.

PS  I couldn’t find an ‘official’ press release but will keep an eye out

PPS As you can see its a new look for the blog – I think theme browsing on WordPress may have been developed as the perfect time waster. Please feel free to let me know what you think of it!

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