Making the Connection: The use of social technologies in civil society

Last year I wrote a report for the Carnegie UK Trust’s Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society in the UK and Ireland. That report, Making the Connection: The use of social technologies in civil society, has finally been published and you can get it from the Inquiry website (direct link to the PDF). The contents are:


Executive summary
What is social technology?
What are the main types of social technology?
What is civil society?
Key characteristics of social media

Part one: Introduction
Background to the report
Building civil society 2.0
A changed world
Challenges and risks posed by social technologies

Part two: Social media in civil society
The state of play: How are civil society associations using social technologies?
Why are civil society associations using social media and how successful are they?
A failure of leadership?
Myths of age and technology
Case study 1: Joseph Rowntree Foundation (full version)
Case study 2: YouthNet (full version)

Part three: Alternative scenarios for the future
What might the year 2025 hold for social technology and civil society associations?
How might the social web develop over the next 15 years?
Key drivers of change
Future scenarios
Questions raised by the future scenarios

Part four: Recommendations
Recommendations for governments and policy-makers
Recommendations for funding organisations
Recommendations for civil society associations
Looking forwards

Plus there are four lovely appendices – including the full results of the survey and assessment of civil society websites – a glossary and a resources section. Lots to keep you occupied during a long commute! If the report is a touch too long for you then I’d recommend the Futures and the Recommendations sections.

Although the report is about the third sector, it could frankly have been written about the public sector or business: a lot of the problems and recommendations are the same. So please do take a look, even if you’re not in the charitable sector, and let me know what you think in the comments.