If you’ve visited the Our Society forum in recent weeks, you’ll have noticed things have been rather quiet. If you haven’t, you’re probably among the majority.
When we set up Our Society around 18 months ago the idea was to create an alternative space to the government’s ‘big society’ rhetoric: one where people could network and discuss, sharing information and learning on their own terms.
At first the forum was very active. If you visit oursociety.org.uk you can see the kind of discussions that took off, and important links and connections were made through them.
But activity has tailed off, reflecting the tailing off of debate about ‘big society’ and the realities of life for many people, where just getting by has become the priority. Most of those involved in getting Our Society going in the first place have had to juggle our involvement with job insecurity or the ups and downs of freelance work; the same is doubtless true for many of our members. It’s not easy to sustain a high level of energy to devote to building a network in such circumstances, but people have continued to join.
Many of the remaining members of our ‘core group’ (David Wilcox, John Popham, Emma Lees, Lorna Prescott, Phil Green, Paul Webster, Sophie Ballinger and myself) now feel it is time to draw a line under Our Society: it has served a purpose, but most people clearly don’t find it meets their current needs because they are not adding to the discussions.
Payment for the Ning platform that hosts Our Society is not due until the end of the year, so we will continue to keep the site alive and available until then, but most of us will not be in a position to add content or facilitate discussion. If others would like to take on that role, we’d be happy to discuss that with you and it may be that people will come forward who can move Our Society on to a new stage.
I have posted my own thoughts here on why Our Society has reached its current stage, and would welcome any views or comments.
I think all the members of the core group have learned a great deal through the experience of Our Society, and we hope it has been useful for you. No doubt we’ll connect with many of you in other ways as we continue to work out how best to link up and support communities in increasingly difficult times.
For now, Our Society is going into sleep mode: if you want to have a go at rebooting it, please get in touch.
With best wishes to you all
(also on behalf of David, Emma, John, Lorna, Paul, Phil and Sophie)
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