Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication


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Early adopters vs laggards?

I believe digital inclusion is part of the mission at cultural heritage institutions. A lot of work is going on in Europe right now to raise awareness about and to prevent digital exclusion.

In Sweden there is a whole campaign, Digidel 2013, run by the Swedish adult education in its broadest sense, that is, libraries, learning centers, adult education, adult education colleges. The campaign was launched December 3, 2010 with ”The appeal of digital inclusion”. The campaign aims to decrease the digital gap by half a million persons by 2013. The goal is for these people ”to start using the internet”.

So what is digital inclusion. The fact is that 1.5 million Swedes are excluded from the internet, mainly because they don’t have access to the internet in their homes. The term for these people is ”non-users” according to www.digidel.se.

Starting to think of the correct term for the people who actually have access to internet in their homes, but chose to not take part of the communities and conversations going on, I dropped a question on Twitter: What do you call the opposite of ”early adopters”? The English term is apparantly ”laggards”.

Laggards is a term quite impossible to translate to Swedish. It’s in any case rather negative. I find it excluding in itself (in it’s Swedish translation) even though it might be a common term in English.

In general I got quite excluding answers. I sense quite some frustration among my early adopter-Twitterfriends about these ”laggards”.

Communications consultant Brit Stakston at JMW Communications has with great persistance recently emphasized  the need to take into account the people with ”analogue values”, who are unaccustomed to life online and how to use the internet. And this is what I am after. Maybe I won’t find a final term to use, but this is close enough.

And why does it matter? Well, trying to mediate cultural heritage online it’s ofcourse vital to know who is online and who is not, and to learn what ”being online” actually means. This is surely an interesting topic in itself.

Conclusion

The consumers of cultural heritage could perhaps, very roughly, be described as follows:

  1. Non-users (15 % in Sweden)
  2. People with internet access, analogue values, unaccustomed to live on the internet
  3. Early adopters (how many?)

I am still exploring the terms and the ”classification” and will surely return with new insights further on this year.

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Twitter, trending topics and dashboards

Twingly Liveboard #mel2011

Last night the Swedish version of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 was broadcasted live on TV. It was the first out of four saturdays when the Swedish people will pick a Swedish representative for the big European event in Düsseldorf in May.

The ESC is a huge event that has been going on for decades, and it’s become more and more popular the last ten years. And now with the effect of social media, the hype just seems to explode. For a couple of years, there’s been a growing community of Swedish Twitterers/Tweeps that you could call early adopters and especially interested in social media and communication. Last year the Swedish version of the ESC was followed by a lot of these people and an extensive conversation, small talk I would say, was taking part on Twitter.

This year the small talk within a fairly limited community has grown into something much larger. The hashtag #mel2011 even raised into the top trending list world wide for a couple of hours. A Twingly liveboard channel was set up to display the Twitter stats for the hashtag, and the tweets just kept coming faster and faster, it wasn’t even possible to follow the flow.

In the end, after about two hours or so, the spam tweets started to show up. This is the risk of all trending topics, as we experienced with the #askacurator initiative in September 2010. How this will effect the next competitions within #mel2011, we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.

In any case, the nicely designed Twingly Liveboard gave interesting statistics, and the speed of the twitterfall was astonishing. This makes me wonder how many people are actually using Twitter in Sweden? And how will communication through social media, and services like Twitter, evolve in the next couple of years?

The best use of Twitter last night goes to (my own awards): @wikimediase who happily threw themselves into the Twitter conversation giving links and personalized comments to each of the competing artists. Well done!