I wanted to write a super short post about a fascinating dinner which I attended last night, hosted by The World Wide Web Foundation and Portland Communications, with Sir Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web as the guest speaker.
The intimate event focused on the Web Index which they are developing, which is taking on the ambitious task of measuring the impact of the web on society and people around the world. As well as bringing together an array of data from a wide range of sources, the index incorporates opinions from both experts and citizens and provides a ranking by country.
The Foundation hope that the data collected can greatly enhance strategic planning of web-based social change projects and will spur on governments and institutions to consider how interventions in their countries can improve their ratings. The Index also acts as a value statement, highlighting the elements of the web which they believe are most critical in terms of stimulating social impact. The index considers issues such as internet accessibility, the capacity of citizens to utilise the web, the availability of locally relevant content and the regulatory framework in various nations.
Various challenges were discussed including the balance between an open web and anonymity, the difficulty in ascertaining causative links between access to information and social impact, selecting appropriate indicators and the challenges involved in operating in such a rapdily evolving space.
The Index will officially be launched on 20th june 2012.