Monthly Archives: July 2008

NZers online and not – WIPNZ survey

At $50 for a hard copy I’ll be reading the results of the the World Internet Project survey of NZ internet use available freely on AUT’s website.

At a pre-release briefing for important people, the good people who paid for the survey and other hangers on (including the likes of me), we talked about the reliability of the data in the survey.

Yes, the survey sample was sizeable at 1,500 people and we were assured it is representative of the NZ population. However, as it was a phone survey the habits and views of those people without a landline are not reflected.

When you then muse on the fact that those on household incomes of under $25,000 have the lowest levels of reported internet access – something that I can’t find a reference to anywhere in the final report – I begin to wonder if a different data collection method would show an even lower level of access. We just don’t know.

The worrying persistence of a divide between information haves and have nots is probably more to do with a growing underclass in NZ than the price of internet connectivity. Regulating to increase competition won’t address basic structural inequality in society. I’m hoping the results might spur some debate along these lines.

In other data reported, it’s helpful to see how common the habit of checking Facebook is – 28% of New Zealanders who are online use some social networking sites. And apparently we’re top bloggers.

The WIP survey is a useful and up-to-date companion to the Statistics department’s Household ICT use survey from the last quarter of 2006.

There’ll be a second WIP survey next year, and then there’s the other 25 odd countries running the same survey. Plenty of numbers if that’s your thing.

Findings in a nutshell (as reported in the NZ Herald article “Kiwis top of international survey for blogging”):

Of the 78 per cent of New Zealanders who use the internet:
* 66 per cent have broadband.
* 77 per cent check their email every day.
* 28 per cent use social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
* 25 per cent have made a friend online, and half of those have gone on to meet an online friend in person.
* 13 per cent maintain their own website.
* 10 per cent have a blog.

CommunityCentral: coming soon

We’ve been a bit coy of singing too loudly that a new website for the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector is coming soon.

With major website developments timing can be fickle. It’s really difficult to be sure you have enough to show others.

But later next month, we’ll be unveiling CommunityCentral. There’ll be spaces people can set up to work together. This could be on a discrete project or as part of an ongoing network. And then there’ll be some news sources and big projects to keep an eye on.

This is just the start and the project aims to get people talking about what online tools will best support work in communities. Although we have yet to secure an ongoing source of funding, the aim is to keep growing and modifying CommunityCentral in response to what people working in grassroots organisations need.

To find out some more you can read our early marketing brochure (200 KB, PDF), read a few posts on the CommunityCentral blog where we’re talking about the development process, or listen to a recent interview.

Last week Ros and Michael from Collaborative Voices interviewed me as part of the their monthly radio show. The show keeps the not-for-profit and social service sectors up to date and informed. There is an mp3 file or your can listen on demand to the “NFP Computer Stuff You Need To Know” feature. If downloading the mp3 file, be warned it is a 25 MB file, so it’s best not to use dial-up.

Later in the year we’ll be doing a roadshow around Aotearoa sharing the website and getting feedback on where we should head.

I’ve been working on this project since November last year, so it’s great to be finally making visible progress. Get in touch with any questions or feedback.

.tangatawhenua, .hapu, .temea – coming our way

The recent decision to open anyone to create any internet domain name has been widely reported as starting a potential boom on the Internet.

The release of an unlimited number of domains, currently restricted to just 21 top level acronyms, (including .com, .net, etc), will allow for unrivaled personal expression. Every family of individual could register their own name. The decision is due to come into affect next year.

What has been little reported is the opportunity the new name structure allows indigenous people to assert their identity. The NZ Maori Internet Society is delighted at the outcome.

“It has been a long time coming we just hope that associated set up costs for Top Level Domain names will be affordable not only for Maori but for all Indigenous Peoples worldwide” said Ross Himona on the NZMIS website.

Karaitiana Taiuru, from Otautahi, a stalwart of NZMIS and a representative on the global body (called ICANN) that makes the rules on the internet naming conventions. He was due to the attend at the 26 June meeting in Paris that opened the floodgates, but regrettably missed the historic event.

He believes that there are perils in the decision, but it’s good news for Maori and other indigenous people.

“While conglomerates may see gTLDs [top level domains] as a branding exercise, cultural based groups around the world now have an opportunity to be represented on the Internet regardless of their countries majority rule or impacts of colonisation,” he wrote on his blog.

Concerns have been raised about the new system to perpetuate new scams by criminals and allow for profiteering. See the “Domain name shakeup may bring new net goldrush“.

There will be rules and hurdles in the registration process, but there seems to be lots of optimism this will recognise the rights of people to assert their identify. Non-roman characters will be able to be used for the first time.

Although I won’t be racing out to be the first to register .blyth, I’m glad there’ll soon be a choice.

Beyond surfing: finding stuff on the web

I presented a workshop to around 25 people from the Age Concern Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention network on 26 June 2008.

During the workshop I sought to share essential information about searching on the Internet and information literacy. There were questions that took us way of track, and plenty of knowledge amongst participants.

Below is the presentation I made (plus there is also a copy publicly available on SlideShare), plus the handout I shared.

Beyond searching workshop handout (PDF, 200 KB).