Twittering Adult Learning

A recent survey reports that 40% of all tweets are “pointless babble” and that only 8.7% of messages have some form of value.  Well we found one of those useful messages on NIACE Dysgu Cymru’s twitter page:

They have created a great fun video promoting adult learning.

More tweets

Social Media and in particular Twitter is certainly becoming very popular.

This week we read that Labour have given Kerry McCarthy MP the job of improving their presence in social media sites such as facebook and twitter.  She will train MPs in the use of these tools and promote best practice.

The BBC have quoted Ms McCarthy as saying:

“Rather than being something completely new, campaigning using new media is simply doing what we’ve always done in a new setting – and rather than replacing traditional ways of doing things, it is about making traditional campaigning methods even more effective.”

Ms McCarthy twitters at


Stratagem, a local lobbying company, have introduced social media into their refreshed website and they can now be found tweeting at

NICVA is leading the way for the voluntary sector having incoporated many social media tools into their communityni website.  They can be found tweeting at , alongside their Chief Executive Seamus McAleavey

Civil Servants encouraged to use twitter

A twitter template strategy has been created by Neil Williams, of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), to encourage government departments to embrace the microblogging site as a means to improve communication.

The template strategy is a good read if you’re thinking about twittering on behalf of your organisation.

Read the original post on the cabinet office blog: Template Twitter strategy for Government Departments.

BBC Website article: Government advice urges tweeting

Ofcom – Annual Communications Market Review 2008

Ofcom’s fourth annual review on Northern Ireland’s communications market was released last week.

Introduction: Communications Market Report: Northern Ireland

Report: The Communications Market 2009: Nations & Regions – Northern Ireland (pdf)

Here are some highlights from the report:

“A third of households in Northern Ireland have watched TV or video online…”

This includes catchup TV services such as BBC iPlayer and uplayer (utv),  user generated content on video sharing sites such as YouTube and video embedded in social networking sites.

“Radio listening through mobile phone, and MP3 ownership highest in N Ireland”

15% have said they have listened to radio through their mobile and 46% own a mp3 player/ipod.

“One in four households in Northern Ireland use social networking sites”

These are websites such as facebook, myspace and bebo which enable users to upload content and communicate with friends.

“…people in Northern Ireland spent 11% less time watching television than people in the rest of the UK”

This seems to match a wider trend where people are spending less time watching television and more on other devices including accessing the internet.

“Mobile take-up in Northern Ireland was the highest in the UK at 93% in Quarter 1 2009, up eight percentage points year-on-year”

Mobiles are now becoming the primary means of communications for many people (BBC News Article)

Other points:

1. A Media Literacy Network was established for Northern Ireland in February 2009.  Its purpose is to:

“… provide a forum for the sharing of expertise, information and best practice on the development of media literacy … [and to] … act as a vehicle for the development of strategic thinking and co-ordinated activity with a view to achieving greater media literacy in Northern Ireland.”

The network steering partnership includes Ofcom, BBC NI, Northern Ireland Screen, EGSA and Department of Finance and Personnel NI.  Membership is open to others who have similar interests.

2. New online learning portal launched for Northern Ireland, mylearningni, during Adult Learners’ Week

“The facility is designed to help adults access information and support about learning and careers choices, learn more about media literacy and share and communicate ideas with other users online.”

The mylearningni portal is being developed by Educational Guidance Service for Adults (EGSA), in partnership with the Department of Finance & Personnel, Ufi Learndirect and MMC Consulting.  It will go live to the general public later this year.

3. Ofcom NI have supported a pilot project that allows volunteers from Business in the Community to help residents of the Cedar Foundation to obtain internet and digital literacy skills.

“Business volunteers were recruited and trained to deliver one-to-one sessions. A special training manual was developed to take the participants and volunteers through the basics of using computers to accessing the internet and sending emails.”

The Communications Market report for Northern Ireland is 123 pages and can be downloaded as a pdf from the Ofcom website.

The conscientious objectors

When we think of people’s media literacy and use of the internet , we think of those who are digitally included and excluded.  However, it appears the latter group can be divided into those who are willing but face barriers to digital inclusion such as cost, training etc and those who have no interest at all in the digital revolution.

The BBC News Magazine has an interesting article discussing this issue titled The internet’s conscientious objectors.

It’s estimated that as many as 17 million people in Britain aged over 15 are not using the internet.

Ellen Helsper, researcher from the Oxford Internet Institute, believes there is a rise in the number of people saying they are just not interested in being online; reasons include:

  • the impersonal nature of communication
  • the many privacy concerns
  • the desire to keep life simple

The article points out that if this situation persists it will create challenges for the government as it continues to drive services online.  This will be something the government’s new digital inclusion champion, Martha Lane Fox, will have to consider for the future.  She is quoted as saying:

I don’t think you can be a proper citizen of our society in the future if you are not engaged online

Technology – a spending priority

According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2009 we value technology above that of holidays and meals out and have adjusted our spending to reflect this in the current economic climate.

When consumers were asked where they would cut back on spending:

  • 47% said meals out
  • 41% said DIY
  • 41% said holidays
  • Only 10% would cut back on broadband services

Peter Phillips from Ofcom said:

Despite the recession, people are spending more time watching TV, using their mobile phone or accessing the internet.

They would rather do without meals out or holidays than give up their phone, broadband or pay TV package.

Within this internet use, social networking sites were becoming very popular.

19 million (50 per cent) of internet users now visit Facebook

Learn more by:

Technology ‘priority for Britons’