Can your social networks help with a Big Issue?

Thanks to a RT via The Social Brain I was reading about how some people spend more time thinking about those that they envy as being more advantaged than them. I wondered whether there are also some people who spend more time thinking about those are less advantaged than them. I could be wrong but I think this is a motivation for quite a lot of people who do public and community engagement work and engage with people outside of the cultural mainstream. Well it certainly motivates me, anyway.

Anyhoo, this reminded me of several events that turned my attention to pondering whether technology can make a difference to those that have a lot less than the rest of us.

Four events/ incidents triggered a cascade and a collaborative effort to come up with ideas.

1. A chat with with my big issue vendor, Colin, who sells outside the Cornerhouse.

Colin told me that trade was really slow.

2. Checking into the cornerhouse on foursquare

I wondered if i could increase trade for Colin by encouraging my friends on foursquare to also buy a big issue from Colin.

3. A chat with a nice lady working at the Big Issue North who confirmed that sales were falling, and a strategy was needed as the publishing world moved online, but important to remember the big issue provides an opportunity for the vendors to work and be part of society. They had some ideas but they welcomed more.

4. A trip to BarCamp Media City where people share knowledge around new technology and other stuff they are interested in often via impromptu sessions.

session card at barcamp

At Barcamp I did a 15 minute quickfire session to get some ideas as to how social media could help homeless people.

The aim was to come up with ideas that could:

  • Help the homeless
  • Connect to providers (of shelter, food and other things homeless people might need etc)
  • Work across upto 3 social media channels/ platforms
  • Be incentivised/ spread by social media enthusiasts

The slides from the session are located here. And here’s video capturing the ideas that the barcamp group came up with is here.

Barcamp media city has been storified by journalist, Sarah Hartley on her Media City Monday blog, here.

Thanks to inspiration, facts and figures from:

The ideas have been fed back to the Big Issue. Next time you pass a vendor, be great if you buy a copy of the Big Issue that you then add to todo list on foursquare and tweet it and encourage your friends to do it too.


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