Failures and success in using webcasts, discussion forums, Twitter, and email to engage older people and other stakeholders in rural ageing

Ray B Jones, Janet Smithson, Catherine Hennessy


Dispersed stakeholders could use the Internet to discuss issues of concern in rural ageing but the best methods for long-term online focus groups were unclear. We explored use of webcasts, discussion forums, Twitter, and email to facilitate inter-regional inter-sectoral stakeholder discussion. Synchronicity and scheduling seemed important to get professionals and older people to engage in discussion but unfamiliar technology such as webcasts and Twitter introduced barriers. A time-limited email listserve discussion provided sufficient synchronicity while preserving the convenience of familiar technology, and was the best method of engaging geographically dispersed older users in discussions with academics and support organisations.

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The Journal of Community Informatics. ISSN: 1712-4441