Points of View 23rd February 2018

Know your network: Bruce Ryan

by Paul Bradley

Member Profiles: Bruce Ryan

Job title: Associate Researcher; webmaster and minutes secretary for 3 Edinburgh community councils

Org: Edinburgh Napier University

Location: Edinburgh

Network Member since: I forget!

Contact me at: [email protected]

How would you describe your job to a child?

I try to understand how people use computers to work together to make local things happen. When they do this, I write it down so it’s not forgotten. Then I put it all on the internet so other people can read it.

What does the concept of open government mean to you?

People being able to know all that is done in their name – and being able to change this!

What would your autobiography be called?

Before I die, it would be named after an old blog: Just another bipedal sack of DNA and neuroses, because that’s what humans are

Why did you become involved in the Open Government Network?

I’m not very involved yet, unfortunately. But I hope that will change. It’s because too much is done without democratic accountability. If we can see what’s being done in our names, we may be able to change it for the better.

Tell us one thing you’d like this Network to do in the next 6 months

Help Community Councils get online better. I think they are generally willing to do so, but quite a few lack the expertise and people to do it well. (NB there are some who do it very well!) So people who want to do something tangible – look for your local community council: http://www.communitycouncils.scot/community-council-finder.html

What does a typical day look like for you?

There aren’t any typical days but my typical week involves at least a day of community council minutes-writing and website-wrangling. Then there’s teaching community councillors how to do online things, learning from them J, reading academic papers, writing my own, doing research, applying for funding, a little bit of research supervision, remotely supporting family members in England, spending time with my wonderful wife, spinning at LifesCycle and time on my touring bike.

What breed of social media user are you?

A ranty dipper

What three things could members of this network get in contact with you about?

Community councils,

Academic research around the social aspects of computing

Cycle-touring – let’s swap misadventures!

The link to the one website/blog/online community that you cannot live without, and nor should others:

The indispensible physical link is my iPhone (currently a 6plus). As for hyperlinks, I can’t decide between The Register and The Guardian

Is there a particular area of open government that you’re interested in? Or, do you have a question you’d like network members to respond to?

I’m not yet knowledgeable enough to contribute at central or local government levels, so I’ll stick to the hyperlocal while I rectify this gap.

Where do you see the open government movement in Scotland in three years?

If I’m naively optimistic, I’d say ‘un-necessary’ because government will be completely open!

Biggest like:

My wife, of course

Biggest Dislike: 

Humans being deliberately awful to each other, and to other beings – sadly far too common.