Damian Radcliffe

Posts Tagged ‘Social Networking’

Stories and issues relating to older and disabled people which have caught my eye in the last month

In Monthly round up: Older People and Disability issues on March 12, 2011 at 7:18 pm

1.         Older People

  • I recently came across Eldy, (Seniors Computer Software for Elderly) a piece of free software that turns a standard PC into an easy-to-use computer for people that have never used a computer before (one user described it as the “Fisher Price Internet”). It provides a six buttons interface with email, internet, chat, videoconferencing, documents, pictures, skype and more.



  • Angela Rippon told the Daily Telegraph that former BBC director-general John Birt had suggested her career was over when she became 50. Rippon is adamant Birt would not have treated her male counterparts in a similar fashion.


  • A reportby David Sinclair of ILC-UK, for Age UK, considers the market potential of the older consumer and highlights how companies can make more of this population. It notes that Older people’s spending reached an estimated £97 billion in 2008 (65 plus)‚ around 15% of the overall household expenditure. Those aged 50 or over spent £276 billion in 2008‚ making up around 44% of the total family spending in the UK.Yet despite the size of the market, this report finds that for many, the private sector does not meet their needs. This is not just a story of poverty or a lack of income to buy products, but of a consumer marketplace which frequently fails to meet the needs of an ageing population. People of all income levels are consumers. For the poorest consumer, they often find that they pay more and get less back in return.Some older people are well served by the market. And in some cases older people get fantastic service from the private sector. Yet there are significant issues facing the older consumer. Many of the issues highlighted below have been documented in literature as far back as the 1960s. David argues that some of the failings outlined in this report are indicative of market failure.


2.         Equality

  • Disability Now reports on how two English councils were forced to abandon plans to charge for Blue Badge parking, following threats of action under equality legislation.


  • The European Union has formally concluded the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, becoming the first intergovernmental group to sign any human rights treaty. The UK has already ratified the Convention, find more information here.


  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guides for public authorities on the new public sector equality duty under the Equality Act 2010, which comes into force on 6 April 2011. They are available here.


3.         Telehealth


  • A new report from the NHS Confederation argues that an over-reliance on treatment delivered through face-to-face contact means the NHS ‘risks being stuck in the technological dark ages’. It notes that people increasingly expect to be able to manage parts of their healthcare remotely using modern communication technologies:


‘Progress has been made but health services have still struggled with new technologies as a combination of top down initiatives and a lack of engagement from clinicians and patients has meant new technologies such as telemedicine and telecare have failed to truly take off. In the future, government needs to support uptake of health technology in a sustained and systematic way without resorting to an overly prescriptive, centralised plan. Despite the huge funding pressures, NHS organisations should continue to make the case for new technologies as they will form the backbone for how we access many public services in the future. The key will be to address the cultural barriers that stop the uptake of new technologies’.

 The report called ‘Remote control: The patient-practitioner relationship in a digital age’, is available here.


4.         Digital Participation

  • Two new internet champions have been crowned in a BT-backed initiative to show millions of people over 65 the benefits of using the web.  Margaret Goodwin, 64, from Henley-on-Thames and David Howe, 70, from Devon, were announced Age UK internet champions for 2011 at London’s BT Tower.

More information: www.bt.com/getittogether  

  • A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 2% of US adults – six million people – have a disability that makes it difficult or impossible for them to use the internet. 54% of US adults with a disability (around 45 million people) reporting themselves as going online, compared with 81% of non-disabled adults.


The quality of internet speed and access were also shown to vary according to a person’s disability profile. “People living with disability, once they are online, are also less likely than other internet users to have high-speed access or wireless access. For example, 41% of adults living with a disability have broadband at home, compared with 69% of those without a disability”.

  • The Fix the Web project, which launched in November, already helped to solve problems with 26 sites using volunteers to contact website owners on behalf of disabled internet users who encounter access problems.


Users contact Fix the Web with complaints through the Fix the Web site, email, Twitter or a new toolbar, developed by the University of Southampton ( http://bit.ly/exuzAc ), and the volunteers then take up the complaints on their behalf, allowing people to report any problems.

Companies that have resolved issues flagged up by Fix the Web include several BBC sites, with work on tagging of images and resizing of text, the Coventry Building Society’s online banking services and Doodle (an online scheduling service), which is currently making its site more accessible to screen-readers.

  • The disability charity Scope has launched Meeting Point, an online forum for young disabled people.


5.         Technology


This report looks at the ramifications of the digital future and the ways in which society must adjust to the technological changes to come; saying:

‘Computer technologies are not neutral – they are laden with human, cultural and social values.  We need to define a new agenda for human-computer interaction in the 21st century – one that anticipates and shapes the impact of technology rather than simply reacts to it.’


  • The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) Accessible Media Player promises to offer “an inclusive online experience for disabled and non-disabled users, whether watching video or listening to a podcast. The player, which has been tested with people with a range of impairments, works particularly well for people with learning disabilities. It is the first online media player to pass the RNIB Surf Right accessibility audit and is available free to any government department or voluntary sector organisation.” Full details here.


  • Significan’t has introduced a real time captioning service called WebCapTel in which operators transcribe speech into text using voice recognition software and display it on the screens of desktop and mobile devices. A report on the service in Ability Magazine is here and there is more about WebCapTel and other SignVideo services from Significan’t here.


6.         Disability – attitudes

The ODI has published a report: ‘Public perceptions of disabled people’ – which looks at attitudes towards disabled people, and how attitudes have changed between 2005 and 2009.

Key Points:

  • Attitudes towards disabled people have improved since 2005; for example a smaller proportion of people said that they thought of disabled people as getting in the way (7% compared with 9% in 2005) or with discomfort and awkwardness (17% compared with 22% in 2005). People were also more likely to think of disabled people as the same as everybody else (85% compared with 77% in 2005).


  • There is, however, belief that prejudice towards disabled people is widespread. Almost 8 out of 10 respondents felt that there is either a lot or a little prejudice towards disabled people.


  • Whilst few people reported openly negative views, many respondents expressed views that suggest they see disabled people as less capable than non-disabled people. Respondents were least comfortable with people with learning disabilities or mental health conditions in situations where disabled people were in positions of authority, such as being a Member of Parliament or a boss at work. These scenarios were also amongst those that respondents found least comfortable in respect of people with physical or sensory impairments.


  • Nearly four in ten people thought of disabled people as less productive than non-disabled people and three quarters of people thought of disabled people as needing to be cared for some or most of the time. This suggests that a degree of ‘benevolent prejudice’ exists towards disabled people.


  • Almost 8 out of 10 people thought that most people would feel very or fairly uncomfortable if someone said something negative about disabled people either in the local shops, with their close friends or at work in front of their boss or colleagues.


  • There is no clear relationship between age and prejudice. In general it was people in the youngest (18 to 24) and oldest (65+) age groups who were least likely to be comfortable in interacting with disabled people.


7.         Extended Feature – Excellent piece on web habits of 55-75 age group from Brand Republic

(Published at: http://bit.ly/hGvEXw – or below, but without the graphs)

Generation 62.0: Digital planning for an aging population

Richard Morris, brandrepublic.com, 31 January 2011

Older people aren’t just going online to check their bank accounts; they’re also getting social and playing games, writes Richard Morris, deputy managing director at Carat.

This article looks into an under researched demographic – 55-74 year olds – to uncover what they think of the internet, how they use it and what this means for advertising. The data is provided by Carat’s Consumer Connection System (CCS), giving in depth and media actionable lifestyle, attitudinal and demographic insight.

Who are we looking at and how often do they access the internet?

  • 55-75 year olds make up 28% of the total UK population, which translates to 12,868,000 people
  • Of those, three quarters of 55-64 year olds and 55% of 65-75 year olds use the internet at least occasionally (5,306 million and 3,158 million users respectively)
  • Interestingly, although over half of the 55-75 age group are light users (under 15 hours per week,) a quarter can be considered to be ‘heavy users’ (30+ hours a week) and 45% medium users (15-30 hours per week).
  • 83% of 55-64s and 61% of 65-75s access the internet at least once a week on their home PC or laptop.

What are they doing online?

Regular online activities, at first glance, appear relatively functional – fitting in with established research into this age group’s internet usage.  

They aim to make life easier for themselves, with personal banking and emails being one of the most frequent activities, undertaken at least once a week, while 38% look for the best products by using online reviews, and the same amount look to get them as cheaply as possible with price comparison sites.

What may come as a surprise, however, is that CCS suggests a third of this group access social networks.

Forty seven percent use either Skype or instant messenger services to communicate, and a quarter stream films/TV at least 2-3 times a month.

In addition, just over a fifth enter competitions at least once a week, and almost two fifths use the internet to access the news online rather than watching it on the television.

Furthermore, we can look at affinity (how more or less likely a group are to behave in a certain way compared to others – in this case 55-75’s compared to the overall UK population, expressed via indexes) when exploring consumer behaviours, enabling the planner to make crucial distinctions between age groups. 

The sites which have the greatest affinity vary slightly with age; respondents in the 55-64 group are more likely to look at holiday sites such as Expedia compared to the 65-75s. Within both groups informative sites such as Ask, directgov.co.uk and the Microsoft site have fairly strong indexes, as well as newspaper websites such as the Telegraph and the Readers Digest.

Social networking

Social networking has become an increasingly large part of people’s day-to-day lives and it’s no different for the older generation, although not quite as frequent as the younger groups.

The membership among Facebook is highest, although the greatest affinity lies with the more matured ‘FriendsReunited’, which has an index of 118 and 78 with the 55-64 and 65-75 age groups respectively.

However 30% of 55-75 year olds visit Facebook at least once a month (9% check it daily) while usership within FriendsReunited is considerably less, with only 15% checking it once a month and only 0.5% checking it daily.

We can also examine the most common activities on social networking sites. These include a third reading updates from friends, 30% posting/sending messages and a further 30% looking at content others have uploaded.

Nineteen percent comment on others statuses, 16% play games and 15% chat on instant messenger services on the sites.

Again, a pattern of expected behaviours as well as perhaps some slightly unexpected ones are emerging. 

These age groups are not merely part of the social media revolution – they are active participants within it. 

Attitudes to the internet

Looking deeper into what is important to these groups when it comes to the internet, it becomes apparent that attitudes in general do not shift much between the 55-65 and 65-75 age groups. 

There are, however, some differences to be found.

Sixty two percent of 55-64s and 57% of 65-75s agree that they look to the internet first for research on expensive items.  

Sixty percent and 52% respectively even say that the internet is the first place they look for information, while 42% of both groups are concerned about privacy on social networking sites.

A third say email is an important part of their social life. Forty percent and 31% respectively agree that they don’t know what they’d do without the internet, and 46% and 48% agree that they spend the majority of their time on just a small number of sites.

The 55-64 group are more likely to share sites they find interesting (35% agree compared to 25% in the 65-75’s), 38% say that gaming is for all people not just for children compared to 21% of 65-75s, and 42% say they generally tell the truth on their social networking site compared to only 29% of 65-75s.

The data indicates that, as people get older, the usefulness of the internet diminishes as their priorities shift. 

They do not avoid it necessarily because of a lack of understanding or an unwillingness to adopt new technology, more that the function it serves becomes less relevant to them.

While they continue to reap the benefits of being able to more easily manage their utilities/finances, gain access to the news and research/buy products, the aspects that have become increasingly relevant to the younger generation of internet users, of course, are simply no longer relevant.

Planning applications

Such insights can have profound implications for communicating with this audience, enabling us to truly optimise the online experience. 

For example, Facebook has clearly broken free from its stereotyped past and the information gleaned from CCS on membership, and even usage, now enables planners to fully utilise its possibilities. 

Furthermore, it is clear that traditional papers and TV are now not the only way to target older members of society, encouraging us to add a further layer to our communications as heavy usage of digital editions of papers and VoD becomes increasingly common among this group. 

Importantly, the insight that more than a quarter of this group share with friends the websites they find interesting indicates the exciting possibilities of what could be achieved with an effective digital campaign targeting this segment. 

In an age where media usage is increasingly fragmenting and becoming ever more digitalised, it is clear that the older generations are not being left behind.

Richard Morris, deputy managing director, Carat

links for 2011-02-19

In Daily Links on February 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

links for 2011-01-23

In Daily Links on January 24, 2011 at 1:01 am

Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links: mid Sept to mid Oct 2010

In Monthly round up: Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links on October 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Social Media – General

What They Know – WSJ – “The Journal analyzed the tracking files installed on people’s computers by the 50 most popular U.S. websites, plus WSJ.com. The Journal also built an “exposure index” — to determine the degree to which each site exposes visitors to monitoring — by studying the tracking technologies they install and the privacy policies that guide their use.”

The rise of social media and its impact on mainstream journalism – Working paper from Nic Newman.

101 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained

How Do You Balance Personal and Professional on Social Media? – “Social media is all about people connecting with people, and so your true personality is bound to come out — no real point in trying to hide who you are as a person.”

36 Awesome Social Media Blogs Everyone Should Read

The Future of Social Media in Journalism – “The future of social media in journalism will see the death of “social media.” That is, all media as we know it today will become social, and feature a social component to one extent or another. After all, much of the web experience, particularly in the way we consume content, is becoming social and personalized.”


Twitter plans to step up monetisation by allowing advertisers to use data on which brands and people users follow to target ‘promoted tweets’. Product manager Shiva Rajaraman said: “Who you follow is a good indicator of what you are interested in. As we move forward, we are going to implement targeting mechanisms that allow people to engage their audience in that way. We are starting with essentially keywords but the basic goal is to build out interests based on who you’re following.”

Twitter has rolled out what they have called the “biggest overhaul of its web page in its four-year history”, incorporating images, video and other media into its main page in a bid to increase stickiness.

Best of the Greater Manchester Police 24-hour Twitter experiment – Between 5am on Thursday 14 October and 5am today (Friday 15 October) the northern police force dealt with 3,205 incidents and posted the details of every alleged misdemeanour on micro-blog Twitter.

Twitter’s Impact On News Traffic Is Tiny | paidContent:UK – Facebook sends 13 times more clicks to news sites than Twitter in France, according to European internet monitor AT Internet Institute.

16 bitchin’ commands and shortcuts for Twitter | Econsultancy


Facebook is introducing new procedures to identify accounts which have been hacked after admitting fraud has become a “major issue” for the company.

Six Reasons Why I’m Not On Facebook, By Wired UK’s Editor – “My cautious use of the social networks has nothing to do with paranoia about privacy; and yes, I celebrate the unprecedented transparency and connectivity that these services can empower. But what’s increasingly bothering me is the wider social and political cost of our ever-greater enmeshment in these proprietary networks. Here are half a dozen reasons why.”


MySpace is to undergo a “dramatic remake” to return it to its “roots of music, discovery and self-expression”.  

Internet TV

Virgin Media CEO Neil Birkett said internet TV will “make people fall in love with their television sets again”, expressing confidence that Virgin’s status as a “trusted brand” will ensure it is well positioned to persuade consumers to take up new services.

Sony has announced a range of Wi-Fi enabled TVs built on Google’s Android platform, which allow users to find content online via Google’s search engine. They can toggle between live TV, or browse online content while regular TV plays in a corner of the screen. Jeff Goldstein, vice president of connected home products and services for Sony, said: “There’s a lot of folks out there who want to see something more out of their TV. I think the adoption rate on this type of device is going to be very fast.”

Google TV product manager Ambarish Kenghe said in a blog posting that the group has been working with “some leading technology and media companies to optimise their content for Google TV, including news sites like The New York Times and USA Today… information networks like Twitter and online networks like blip.tv.” Reported here.

A Google spokeswoman said the group “does not have any specific plans for advertising” on its Google TV service as yet, although industry sources said Google has set out plans to sell ads alongside viewer search results.

Project Canvas is now YouView.

Initial iterations of YouView will not feature a web-browser, “We’ve essentially built a TV experience” that will function in a similar way to Apple’s App store said Richard Halton. “For content providers, it means you can create a TV experience that’s tailored for the TV set. The reason mobile apps work is because they’ve been tailored for the mobile. In a way, that’s even more so for the TV set, because you’re 10 feet away from the screen.”

Apple has launched  a new version of its Apple TV set-top box priced at $99, less than half previous iterations, as well as unveiling a new interface which allows users to stream movies from Netflix as well as content from the iTunes store.

Ofcom has formally handed over responsibility for editorial complaints related to online and VoD content to the Association for TV On Demand. The Advertising Standards Association retains oversight of advertising across the platforms.


Nearly two-thirds of US adults with cell phones say they have slept with their phone on or right next to their bed.

 A study by Orange found that 13% of smartphone owners said they consume more online newspaper content as a result of their handset’s capabilities; however 14% of people who access the internet via mobiles said they read fewer newspapers as a consequence.

TNS Digital Life | Internet Statistics & Social Media Usage | Online … Interviewing almost 50,000 consumers across 46 countries, including all BRIC and most N-11 markets, Digital Life is the largest, most comprehensive study of the Global Digital Consumer, ever. These markets represent 88% of the global Digital population; we cover markets from where Digital is close to ubiquitous to those beginning their digital journey whether through PC at home, mobile or internet cafés.

Social networking makes you happy – New research has established a direct link between IT access and happiness; social networking and instant messaging were found to provide the biggest benefit. In contrast to the stereotype that IT causes social isolation, the research reveals that the biggest positive contribution that IT access makes to the newly connected is the additional social contact with family and friends.

Almost Half of All British Using Social Media While Watching TV – With the rise of ‘event TV’ like X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and sporting events, more and more British viewers are using social networks and instant messaging to chat to friends as the events unfold according to research from Intel has found that almost half of (45%) Brits have admitted to using sites like Twitter, Facebook and MSN messenger to discuss a TV programme whilst it’s on air.


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed the group will roll-out Windows-based tablet devices in time for the Christmas market.

The FT says its new Apple iPad app had generated more than £1m in ad revenues since it was launched in May, with more than 400,000 subscribers. It represents 10% of the paper’s new digital subscriptions. Traditional print advertising now accounts for just 40% of the FT’s overall revenue.

Ofgem said it expects electricity traffic to double over the next decade, warning investment of about £32bn will be required to ensure networks can meet demand.


Toshiba plans to launch the world’s first LCD TV which offers 3D images without requiring viewers to wear 3D glasses.

Sky has launched its 3D TV channel, the first in Europe, kicking off with coverage of the Ryder Cup. Viewers require a Sky+HD package, a 3D-enabled TV and glasses. Virgin Media said it plans to produce its own 3D content from events such as the V Festival. Its own 3D VoD service is now live.

A YouGov survey of 4,199 Britons for Deloitte revealed only 89 respondents planned to buy a 3D-enabled TV set over the coming year. Five per cent of 25-34-year-olds said they would invest over the next 12 months, while only one per cent of over-45s said they would buy a 3D set.


Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes computers will be able to suggest useful information based on past preferences, the location of the user and the time of day.

Google Agonizes on Privacy as Ad World Vaults Ahead – A confidential, seven-page Google Inc. “vision statement” shows the information-age giant in a deep round of soul-searching over a basic question: How far should it go in profiting from its crown jewels—the vast trove of data it possesses about people’s activities?

Mergers & Acquisitions

AOL has bought TechCrunch for an undisclosed sum. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said: “We’ll try to be as hands-off as possible.”


The News of the World’s online content is now behind a paywall, costing £1 a day or £1.99 for a month’s access. Editor Colin Myler said the switch represented a “very significant moment in the history of the News of the World”, adding the site would have a “real focus on exclusive video and pictures”. An iPad app is to follow which will cost £1.19 per week.

Google plans to add social features to its core products this autumn, adding he hopes people will use the site to grow their network of contacts. Eric Schmidt said: “The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data. Failing that, there are other ways to get that information.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee criticised recent calls by telcos and tech groups for net neutrality to be superseded by a tiered pricing regime.  “The moment you let net neutrality go, you lose the web as it is. You lose something essential – the fact that any innovator can dream up an idea and set up a website at some random place and let it just take off from word of mouth.”


Fox Mobile has launched its Bitbop subscription mobile entertainment service, which offers unlimited streaming of TV shows for $10 per month, on Android-powered handsets.

Verizon Wireless has launched a media storage service which allows users to back up 25 gigabytes’ worth of documents, photographs and other unprotected content from their phone to the cloud. The $2.99 monthly service’s aim is to ultimately allow the content to be viewable on TVs, phones, PCs and tablets.

A report in the Independent said new research found that smartphones running Google’s Android software could take the largest share of the global market by 2014 – rising from a less than 4% share last year. Gartner said Android’s share will hit 17.7% by the end of the year, overtaking Research In Motion’s BlackBerry (17.5%).

The BBC has launched the latest version of its iPlayer VoD service following beta tests. New features include a facility to download programmes ahead of linear broadcast, which can be viewed immediately after transmission, and integration with social networks Facebook and Twitter.


Sony has unveiled MusicUnlimited, a cloud-based music streaming service which it said will “deliver a variety of digital entertainment content and services” within its Qriocity online platform. The service will initially launch in five European countries, including the UK, and will be available across devices including web-enabled Bravia TVs, PlayStation 3 consoles, Vaio laptops and Blu-ray players.

Government will pay you to download music legally…in France – The French government will subsidise young music fans who agree to download music legally, by footing the bill. Under the scheme, French residents will purchase a card, called the Carte Musique, to download music from subscription-based website platforms. But they will only pay half the cost of the €50 credit included in the card, because the French government will step in to pay the rest.


Video calling is poised to become a mainstream consumer sector, with Cisco and Logitech are to launch ‘couch-to-couch’ offerings this autumn, while Microsoft will add the function to its Xbox 360 console alongside its Kinect motion controller in November.