le are enthusiastic about that, because they get really good services and they love it, but quite a lot of other people
are either quite doubtful or outright skeptical about it.“There is some sense in which the internet is in danger of not meeting its potential… the promise that was there in the mid-2000s, which was about collaborating to create better ways to do things.”Against that, Leadbeater is calling for optimism, for a new awareness and focus on more constructive, t
angible ways of using the internet rather
than “simply filling out social media profiles”. ‘Good ideas are emerging faster than ever’The report was commissioned by the Nominet Trust, the charity that disburses profits from the sale of .UK domain names to promote technology for social good, which has praised low profile but important examples of projects using
the internet as the basis for social and civic improvement.Covering health and education to smart, “social” cities and equality, Leadbeater points to progress being made by charities and social enterprises a
s reason for optimism. “Good ideas are emerging faster than ever, because once an idea such as the Khan Academy proves successful, demand almost mobilises itself,” he said. The not-for-profit digital education start-up provides free teaching online, and started seven years ago. It has delivered 260m lessons in languages ranging from Indonesian to Xhosa.Annika Small, the CEO of Nominet Trust, praised School in a Box, which uses minimal internet access to deliver educational session from anywhere, including prisons or offshore sites. “Ways in which you can rethink the sites and spaces of learning are beginning to emerge, and that is very exciting,” she said.Big White Wall is another successful project, which provides anonymous online counselling to support people with mental health problems.“This is a powerful and very simple example of how -
mental health being such an issue in our society, often with a large stigma attached - to use a platform that is very safe, very anonymous if you wish it to be, to post how you’re feeling,” said Small. “It gives you tools as to how to deal with that, but also gives you access to trained counsellors. It’s also shifted the sense that you don’t have to go into your GP: you have greater control as the patient.”It’s not that all of the internet is crapLeadbeater’s message is not to think the internet is doomed to colonisation by American social media firms, but to focus on the achievements that can be made if the next wave of tech firms stop focusing on getting bit and selling out. Instead, they can devote themselves to good, and change the nation.“All over the world, people are doing that, in all sorts of inventive ways. We shouldn’t sell ourselves short by thinking that the internet is all crap, and there’s not much we can do with it because Facebook controls all of it. Actually, there’s a huge amount that is s
till there to be done.”Kickstarter: a platform for investment, philanthropy or shopping?