Notes from Day 1 at Connecting Up Australia 2009

Despite ongoing connectivity issues (and this affected everyone live blogging and Twittering), it didn’t stop me from enjoying the first day of Connecting Up Australia 09. Very briefly, some of the highlights from the first day included:

  • Cheryl Kernot mentioning Patient Opinion and Headshift during her keynote! I think Cheryl was as surprised to find someone in the audience from Headshift, as I was to hear her talking about us… of course, Cheryl has spent the last five years working in the UK, so its no surprise that she is aware of Headshift’s work.
  • Doug Jacquier, CEO of Connecting Up Australia, provided a very insightful (and at times funny) overview of the current state and future of IT for the non-for-profit sector.
  • Patrick Edwards’ case study from NZ, which highlighted the importance of sustainable IT solutions for non-profits and how effective partnerships with the commercial sector are both desirable and achievable.
  • Peter Detiz’s from Social Actions (see his notes and slides).
  • While I didn’t agree with everything they said, I was pleased to see the team from the Inner West Business Enterprise Centre in South Australia actually putting a wiki to practical use. They are a good example of doing something on a small budget, but one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to wiki implementations.
  • Allen Gunn, from US-based Aspiration, wrapped things up with a great interactive session.

Based on Allen Gunn’s exercise, I think its fair to say that opinions are still divided on the importance of social media and social computing to the non-profit sector. On one hand people like Peter Detiz well tell you that Web 2.0 has introduced the potential for brand new and previously unimaginable models of social change, but others will still question why you would ever want to use Twitter for anything when they have email and the telephone.

I hope to demonstrate in my session tomorrow that there are real examples out there that show a social computing approach can make a difference. And that there is more to it than just Twitter 😉