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Getting everyone connected

12 June 2014
Young woman helping young girl use computer

St Barts Leeds workshop

When the Big Lottery Fund was set up in 2004, Facebook was a mere twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye; the web had just 50 million websites – compared with today’s mind boggling 759 million; and, perhaps most shockingly, Britney Spears topped Google’s most popular search queries.

By 2024 the size of our online universe is projected to expand by nearly 300 per cent, fuelled by an ongoing digital explosion of human expression, opinion, content and measurable data. Advances in artificial intelligence, automated translation and real-time big data analytics, coupled with a global network of over 50 billion networked sensors embedded in smart devices, wearable technology, appliances and infrastructure (the Internet of Things) will revolutionise our online experience. New user interfaces operated by voice, retina movements or touch will transform how we work, play and communicate.

It’s clear we’ve only just begun to experience and understand the web’s game-changing potential; but it’s still all too easy to assume that everyone can already explore their own online opportunities.  Yet here in the UK, just under 1 in 5 adults (9.5 million people) still don’t have the basic online skills to be confident online.  They can’t send and receive email, use a search engine, browse, or complete forms online; let alone all the fun stuff the rest of us take for granted.

Also surprisingly, thousands of businesses and charities are missing out on crucial opportunities to save money and time, or promote themselves online.  Between 2011 and 2012 alone, we in the UK donated a whopping £2.4 billion to charity via the web and now, over a quarter of philanthropic gifts are made online.  Yet just half of charities have a website – and of those who do – only 1 in 5 allow customers to donate from their site.

That’s why Go ON UK and its fabulous network of UK wide partners are on a mission to change this.  Big Lottery Fund for example – a Go ON UK founder – recently launched a £15 million Basic Online Skills programme to help people and communities most in need.

Anyone can share their online skills with others.  Our new site, digitalskills.com, inspires and supports digital champions – everyday people who are willing and able to share their online skills.  Stuffed with over 3,000 top tools, including downloadable guides, certificates, posters and learning resources to rate and share, there’s something for anyone looking to share digital skills with someone they know, within their local community or organisation.

As we enter the next chapter of our digital journey, we want everyone to become confident online and start making the internet their own.  Together, we can help everyone in the UK get connected.

 

Emily Keef, communications manager @ Go On UK

 

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