Urban Forum presentation

by David Wilcox April 1995

This presentation by David Wilcox at the annual meeting of the UK Urban Forum led to the first Communities Online conference at BT Centre in October 1995 and later to the development of UK Communities Online.

My background


Few to many communication.

Consultancy and training

Few to few relationships.


Many to many relationships.

Electronic networking

The scope for many to many communication.

Partnerships for tomorrow

Some loose definitions






The issue

Partnership today

Fashionable because of:

External pressure for partnership

Internal pressure for participation

Greater commitment to 'community'


Rhetoric and reality

The gap

The good intentions

The frequent reality


Can electronic networking help?

Frequently asked questions

What are the mainly forms of electronic networking?
Bulletin Boards, commercial services, Internet.

What do you need?
Computer, modem and software.

What does it cost?
Free BBS - just the call. Commercial - maybe £6 per month plus phone plus timer charges. Internet - £10-£15 per month plus local phone charges.

Who owns or manages?
BBS - system operator. Commercial - major corporations. Internet - no-one.

What can you do?
One to one e-mail: all - with limits
Many to many discussion groups: all - with limits
Many to many mailing lists: Internet
File libraries: all
Hypertext pages: Internet

What are the benefit?
Speed, economy and informality of one-to-one e-mail.
Minimum-cost mass-distribution of messages.
Documents on tap, with ability to rework material.
International, cross sector, professional communities.

What are the snags?
Very few people are online. Potential for information elitism.

Ways forward

National networking

A local network system

David Wilcox
13 Pelham Square
Brighton BN1 4ET
Tel +44 (0)1273 677377
Fax +44 (0)1273 677379