Engaged? How would I know?

A fictitious and unfair parody of the establishment approach to digital engagement.

Institution: ‘Come and engage!’

Public: ‘Engage with what?’

Institution: ‘This!’ – unveils a small website, which is in fact the end result of an 18 month research program which cost the equivalent of one of the more modestly proportioned Scottish islands, and provided four students with enough material to gain a masters each.

Public: ‘Hmm. That’s amazing/totally unsatisfactory.’

Institution: ‘Hmm. Thanks’




Professor Picard: ‘There – we’ve done it. Now let’s write it up, and publish it as a PDF priced £120. We rock. People will be citing it for decades. Is citation a kind of engagement? This could take years to answer – quick – break out the funding proposal template. Wait! Are funding proposals a kind of engagement? Which question should we answer first? Break out the meta-funding proposal template. We need to establish which question to ask first before we ask anything. Don’t squint your eyes at me, Candidate, or I’ll question your commitment.’

Anne Candidate: ‘I wasn’t questioning anything. I need a wee.’

Picard: ‘Well go to the lavatory then.’

Anne: ‘I tried. It’s engaged.’

Picard: ‘It is? Who with? How many times is it visited in the average day? What’s the average time people spend on it? Who referred them to the lavatory?’

Anne: ‘Is this why your wife left you?’

Picard: ‘We were never married.’

Anne: ‘Engaged?’

Picard: ‘How would I find out?’

Anne: ‘I totally respect you.’

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