UK Catalyst Awards

UK Catalyst Awards

June 12, 2008 05:02 ET

Social Media Meets Social Action Head On

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - June 12, 2008) - People are increasingly looking to the web to address community issues, with over a quarter (28%) of those online in the UK having joined up as members of community action or charity groups on social networking sites, such as Facebook.

Whilst the younger age group is more likely to use these online campaigning tactics (59% of 18-24 year olds, 42% for 25-34 year-olds), the 55+ age group would also take online action, with 14% already members of social networking groups and nearly a fifth (17%) saying they would use the web to find others who share their views, compared with 23% overall.

The YouGov survey was commissioned by the UK Catalyst Awards, which aim to recognise individuals, organisations and community groups who are using social technology for social good. The survey showed that when faced with a community issue they feel strongly about:

- Nearly a third (29%) of 18-24 year-olds would start an online group or campaign and 37% would go online to find others with their views

- Traditional forms of activism are more popular with older age groups: 71% of people aged 55+ would write to their local MP, but this is still a tool popular amongst young people with 36% of 18 - 24 year-olds saying they would do so

- 18-24 year olds are half as likely to write to their local paper as the 55+ age group (25% compared to 51%)

- Young people are using the widest variety of social action tools suggesting they are adopting the same 'bite-size' media snacking approach to campaigning as they do to news consumption and communicating with friends

Dan McQuillan from Make Your Mark which is coordinating the awards, said: "We've seen just how powerful social media can be in catalysing collective action - from the rise of the Arctic Monkeys on MySpace, to silent discos organised via Facebook. We're now also seeing social technology being used to tackle community issues, and our awards are looking for the very best undiscovered examples."

The UK Catalyst Awards are looking to discover the social activists currently using this technology, and there are now just eight days left to enter at:

Applicants can enter or be nominated for something they have done individually or as part of their work for a business, charity, community group or other organisation. The entrants could have created their own social technology or used existing channels innovatively.

The UK Catalyst Awards applications deadline is Friday 20 June 2008. Find out more and enter at:

Notes to editors:

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,990 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 9th June 2008. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults.

2. The UK Catalyst Awards - Community Awards for Social Technology - were set up by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and call for inspiring stories of ways in which communities are being improved by people using social technology. They are sponsored by NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and Arts) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. They are supported by Make Your Mark, the campaign to unleash the UK's enterprise potential; Unltd, who support social entrepreneurs and Polecat, who help businesses and organisations measure their social impact.

There are nine categories up for grabs:

- The Shock for Good Award: for something that shocked people into doing something good

- The Revolutionary Award: for something that makes people in power more aware of the need for change

- The Self-Help Award: For something that helps the creator to help themselves

- The Chalk & Cheese Award: for something that brings two different groups of people together

- The David and Goliath Award: for something little that made a difference to a something big and powerful

- The Young Achiever Award: for someone under 25

- The Individual Hero Award: for an individual

- The Community Award: for a community association or group

- The Enterprise Award: for an innovative new technology solution developed by a business

There will also be a public vote online to decide the People's Choice Award.

3. Social technology means any internet, mobile or gaming software that lets you connect and communicate with other people. Examples are text messaging, social networking (e.g. Facebook, MySpace, Bebo), blogging, and so on.

4. The Council on Social Action was first announced on July 24 2007 by the Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The aim of the Council is to bring together leaders from business and the public and third sectors to help inspire, facilitate and celebrate social change in the UK, and to generate ideas and initiatives to advance social action. One of the Council's very first pieces of work was to support the creation of a new set of awards to recognise and support the use of new technology to social ends. For more information about the Council, please contact the Cabinet Office Press Office on 020 7276 0311.

5. Make Your Mark is the national campaign to unleash the UK's enterprise potential. It is a not-for-profit campaign that is backed by an unprecedented coalition of businesses, charities, education bodies and government.

It was founded by the four leading UK business membership organisations - the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors. Their Director Generals sit on Make Your Mark's board. It is also supported by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and is endorsed by the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

National organisations working closely with the campaign include:

Arts Council England - Association of Colleges - Black Training and Enterprise Group - Business in the Community - Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform - Department for Children, Schools and Families - Enterprise Education Trust - Learning and Skills Council - National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship - National Education Business Partnership Network - National Federation of Enterprise Agencies - Prowess - Quality Improvement Agency - Scottish Government - South-East England Development Agency (representing Regional Development Agencies) - Shell LiveWIRE - Social Enterprise Coalition - Specialist Schools and Academies Trust - The Prince's Trust - UnLtd - Young Enterprise

5. Founded by Jim Lawn and Bronwyn Kunhardt, formerly Head of Innovation and Director of Citizenship at Microsoft UK, Polecat is currently developing, and securing high-profile partners to oversee the creation of a Creative Commons index which measures the social impact of social media (online social networks, blogs, wikis etc).

6. UnLtd supports social entrepreneurs - people with vision, drive, commitment and passion who want to change the world for the better - by providing a complete package of funding and support to help individuals make their ideas a reality. UnLtdWorld, the online platform for the Catalyst awards, is supported by UnLtd. It is a social networking site that enables social entrepreneurs, socially-minded people and socially-driven organisations to share, shape and use social insight to generate greater positive impact in the real world.

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