Dublin: Monday, 22nd April 2013; Socialcomputing.ie which is being launched today is a free website to assist people new to the internet. The website, a collaboration between a number of not for profit organisations and IBM Ireland, provides an easy to use index of popular Irish sites, such as newspapers, online banking and TV channels to make them easier to access. The website is free to access and can be used by anyone who is unfamiliar with how to navigate the internet.
Business in the Community Ireland initiated and led the project between IBM volunteers and Active Retirement Ireland, Age Action, Age & Opportunity, Third Age and the Older Women’s Network. The user is presented with a choice of nine buttons from Keeping In Touch, to Newspapers, Radio and TV to Health and Well-being and Money Matters. It is an indexing of the internet specifically tailored for an Irish audience to bring them directly to popular online sites and also provides various tutorials on using Skype, setting up email and how to use TV players amongst many others.
“The internet provides a great portal for communication and keeping in touch with the world. However, for people unfamiliar with it, it can seem very daunting, a labyrinth of endless information. This website provides a simple step by step guide to new users and takes away the element of fear or anxiety about where to start when exploring the internet.” said Tina Roche CEO, of Business in the Community Ireland.
The IBM volunteers involved in the project worked closely with members of the various NGOs to find out what they really wanted from the site.
“Previously I worked with An Post as a postman, responsible for all aspects of postal duties including manually connecting the phone lines, now since getting involved in this project I am learning how to use Skype and other social media tools which is opening up a whole new world of communication for me and hopefully for others who are starting to use the site.” said Kevin Molloy from the working group and a member of Active Retirement Ireland.
“To be broadening horizons for people such as Kevin has been a very rewarding experience. The collaboration between so many different organisations has meant we have really had to work as a team and take all considerations on board and as a result I think we have made a really useful web tool for various new web users.” said Pablo Perez Rodriquez, the project manager and an IBM volunteer.
The website is now open to all and can be accessed simply by using the URL, there is no registration or sign up required. As part of the project, over 100 computers have also been supplied for refurbishment by other Business in the Community Ireland member companies to be given to local community groups. NGOs that have assisted in the refurbishing side of the project are IASIO (Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders), FIT (Fast Track to IT) and Camara. The first six computers have already been distributed to a group in Gorey along with webcams and headpieces donated by Logitech. The project was funded through grant funding from IBM.