Social by Social

A community around using social tech for social impact


Social App Store

Discussion on how to develop an online store of tech-supported methods for local social action

Members: 32
Latest Activity: Jul 12, 2011

Designing a Social App Store

This is a temporary home for those interested in practical action to take forward discussions started in a SocialbySocial forum. Once we have the beginnings of a Store, we can move aross.
As explained there, the idea of a Social App Store originated in meetings organised by the Big Society Network, and then at the Big Society in the North launch event. Background here on the network, where I'm working part time a social innovation reporter.
David Wilcox

Discussion Forum

What app would you include in a Social App Store? 5 Replies

I've been given a quick mission1. To identify the top 100 civic / social / environmental business models that are worthscaling around the UK across a multitude of ‘sectors’ (food, energy,…Continue

Tags: models, business, apps, social

Started by Josef Davies-Coates. Last reply by David Wilcox Jul 12, 2011.

Updates on development of Social App Store 9 Replies

I'll use this discussion thread to add updates on the work that I'm doing on the Store, and hope that others will too. The aim is to make this a collaborative process, so I'm hoping ideas and…Continue

Tags: updates, socialappstore

Started by David Wilcox. Last reply by David Wilcox Sep 1, 2010.

What's your interest in the Store? 9 Replies

Thanks everyone who posted in the original forum. I hope you will recap here your ideas and interests if necessary. In…Continue

Started by David Wilcox. Last reply by David Wilcox Aug 23, 2010.

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Comment by Phil Green on September 29, 2010 at 9:24
(time of day a bit weird? - London-centric? but) thought this might be of interest:
Collaborative Consumption: Re-imagining public services
Thursday, October 21, 2010 from 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM (GMT)
Comment by Phil Green on September 17, 2010 at 11:20
Just added a video to SCA wiki's apps for sustainability page . The video is about related stuff, it's primarily talking to and about government, it's long, the people talk fast, some of the language is a bit techie, but seems highly related to Apps for sustainability and the wider Big Society type (Social apps store) project to which it might contribute. Particularly like the "it takes a village of villages" comment which occurs about 8 or 9 mins in. Maybe I just don't know stuff, but what have we got over here that approaches Code for America /, Civic Commons , and OpenPlans , particularly as regards their openness, inclusivity and apparent welcome to all, and crucially their backing?
Comment by John Popham on August 31, 2010 at 20:49
Nick, have you considered Similar to Ning, but free, unlike Ning. See our Big Society in the North forum at
Comment by Nick Buckley on August 31, 2010 at 20:40
I really feel I ought to be contributing more to this debate. But, ironically, right now my time and energies are consumed with trying to identify and deploy the basic shared online space to which I need to be able to point anyone in my own square mile who buys my premise and says 'yes - I'm in'. i.e. a space in which to be visible to each other, start a basic conversation and share news/info/local knowledge.

The off/on/off-line noticeboard sounds fantastic (hits all the spots and difficulties) but it obviously won't be along in time to get me started.

So I'm still going... social network(Ning?), forum, blog, social network, forum, blog... over and over in my head.

I think I need the dangerous book of social apps for boys. ;0)
Comment by Jeff Mowatt on August 26, 2010 at 20:07
Rather than co-creating an app store with all the complexities that have been raised here, has a dual-currency barter network been considered. The product from XO offers an Ebay type marketplace in which products may be offered in either community or real currency.

It won't be an instant solution. It requires training and the collaboration of a credit union, but it does offer scope for creating income for the community of interest.
Comment by Tracy Currer on August 21, 2010 at 17:37
Ben : Love your waiver .. The legal / liability side of all this is a mine field (we've been through it with lending and borrowing). If there was a Social App Developer Kit - access to legal advice / skills would be very necessary.
Comment by Ben Lee on August 21, 2010 at 10:20
David and friends. You may have seen earlier references to our "Easy Waiver" inspired by the Social App idea. We've had some legal help and fine tuned it - latest version just posted on our blog.
Comment by David Wilcox on August 20, 2010 at 14:31
Thanks everyone for continuing contributions. I had a great chat in Sheffield yesterday with John Popham in Sheffiled, and Nick Temple has picked up app store discussions on the School for Social Entrepreneurs blog.
More next week.
Comment by Phil Green on August 16, 2010 at 11:44
How do we actually get citizens and user-centred groups to participate enough?

Came across this helpful comment on Open Source Planning Paradigm & Climate Change :

"It’s a neat idea. Having some easily-reached array of options and tools could be very powerful. Many of the conversations at SpeakUpNY were initially about access to tools. Very helpful to see which tools are in use and highly-rated, and learning who uses them. Unlike the app store, users should be able to indicate that they’re using the tool, and link to their version. For example, if you happen upon this thing called Wordpress for blogging, the links section shows you several examples of block associations and groups using Wordpress.

For planning processes, the guidebook bookshelf would be really handy. Imagine seeing guides to zoning and development, from groups in different metro areas, with a mix of information, case studies and campaign guidance. Active moderation or a watchful membership keep the relevant materials near to the top.

The app store concept gets less clear as you move further from software - ok for pdfs, info websites and reports, ok for advocacy guidance and how-tos, but much less good for stuff that’s people focused. What about organizations who mostly talk to other orgs - or are they ok? Could I put myself onto the store, and people can contact me? Is there a line between apps and just generally finding out about other orgs? Maybe you restrict listings to the tangible (digital or otherwise)."

Seems to be hinting at a question that been nagging away at me also. I can see, and wholeheartedly agree with the intent to make the store people/citizen friendly ("...with the interests of citizen-consumers at their heart" ) but what game changing stuff is there in this whole proposal which would make this actually happen?

In the store analogy it seems to rely a lot on the 'buyer' role (?) (Not sure how 'curator' would make a siginificant difference) or whoever (and however many) performs "Active moderation or a watchful membership". Whatever tools we set up, if they're open, how is it that they actually come to be taken up by people/citizen/user centred groups and not dominated by the same old establishment organisations pushing their generally anything but people/citizen/user friendly stuff? ("organizations who mostly talk to other orgs" generally in un-user-friendly language) Yes, we can invite, we can offer, but what have we got to offer that will get actual participation by people/citizen/user centred groups, when perhaps in some cases working against feelings of years if not decades of broken, or never ever really established trust?

One answer to this might be that there is a focus (not sure how comes about?) on the software that just does it (presumably because the developers just get it) but is this enough? Is there more?

Another possible answer is that somehow we get better at sharing the good news, at encouraging those people/citizen/user centred groups who've had success (in their own terms, not a bureaucrat's) from using an app, to share their good news. Doesn't this have to be light years on from dreadfully dreary, out of date, tokenistic, bureacrat-speak 'case studies'? If so how does this come about? And who steers it that way? How do we actually get the people/citizen/user centred groups to move on from content creation to participation in things like moderation? (stuff like this can be set up in 'values' but still need for a community to ensure it walks the talk).

'Take-up' of course includes "Converts interest into participation", and participation that tends to be ongoing, meaningful, trusted, sustained and sustainable. Is it possible to inch towards a 'fully open and complete online record of involvement and influence, for purposes of recognition, reward, respect, trust, and, last but not least, learning and not having to keep reinventing the wheel'. Crack this and the rest of it more easily fall into place?

David set up a netvibes page for Big Society (via the wiki) but perhaps need for something more specific. Something like Big Society App store on addictomatic ? (tried also 'Social app store' but didn't look as useful)
Comment by John Popham on August 15, 2010 at 19:15
Thanks to Paul Webster, we've taken another big step towards the Big Society Community Noticeboard, which is intended to collect information from offline groups, collate it via the web, and output it to places where offline people can see it.

We have some way to go before we can make a reality of this, but we've made a start, and it works like this.

You can call iPadio from any phone on 02033842144 & enter the PIN code 4455. You can then record a message which will be uploaded onto the web, and, after moderation by me, appear here

Paul has done a bit of RSS trickery which means that the iPadio recordings are pulled through to appear on a Big Society in the North Noticeboard here iPadio uses Spinvox automatically to transcribe the first minute of all recordings, and this provides the text that appears on the Noticeboard. The transcription is not that good unless you speak very clearly.

As I say, this is a very early prototype, and the really big challenge is going to be to output the information onto local community noticeboards. That is going to need displays in communities, and a way of localising information to appear on particular screens.

It would be useful, however, if we could start to put the word out and try to get some offline groups using it.. We will need to re-think if it really takes off, because I am currently having to moderate each individual recording.

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