A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

SpeedData: Jon Bounds


Jon explained why people do stuff for free on the web by talking about Cliche Kitty and Domo Kun.

For those who don’t know, Cliche Kitty and Domo Kun were brought together on the internet. Have a look here.

Chasing Kitty

Jon described how people started to use these images and add to them and create new and sometimes very clever things. Jon says that this process is very simple. It doesn’t take much skill to add captions to images, for example. And Jon also introduced Richard Dawkins’ Meme Theory. This states that ideas only survive if they are able to compete and therefore develop and evolve.

Jon then went on to describe how the LOLcats phenomenon began to develop, with pictures and captions – what are known as image macros. He then showed a graph that demonstrated how, by releasing your data in one single format you’ll only get a sudden short surge. By allowing your data to be played with it will attract a far greater audience.

Jon described how open movements can grow quickly, including the uksnow twitter tag and map and his own Twitpanto project, which started from nothing more than a message on twitter.

Big City Plan

Jon described how a group of Birmingham bloggers got together because they were frustrated by the ‘monolithic’ nature of the consultation document for the Big City Plan.

He described how the bloggers translated it into plain english and made a really simple website, Big City Plan Talk. The site included the council document and a plain English translation. It was also particularly easy to comment on. They vaguely knew that if people were aware of it they’d use it. Without any publicit a quarter of the total responses to the consultation came to their site. It was a genuinely useful thing, Jon said, because it has been useful to other people who’ve used the model since.

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