Irish 'Silver' blogger short-listed for European IT award
A 64-year old Co. Limerick blogger is one of just three people from across the EU to be shortlisted for a prestigious European Commission e-Inclusion Award.
Angela Gallagher (64), from Ardagh, Co. Limerick, runs her own blog, "A Silver Voice from Ireland", along with an accompanying Facebook page. She was nominated by Age Action for the European Commission e-Inclusion Awards, having won the social networking category at last year's Google Silver Surfer Awards, run by Age Action.
The European Commission established the e-Inclusion Awards to raise awareness, encourage participation and recognise excellence and good practice in using information communications technology and digital technology to tackle social and digital exclusion. Anglea has been shortlisted for the "I Am Part of IT" category. This award is for individuals who have felt significant benefit and empowerment by becoming e-included.
She is delighted to have been shortlisted. "I was surprised and taken aback to have been picked from all the nominations across Europe," she said. "I hope it helps encourage older people to learn new technology. I strongly believe that the social media revolution is of more relevance to older generations than to any other, as it offers us a chance to interact with each other on a level that is often denied us as we grow older and less physically active."
The fact that Angela has been shortlisted from entries drawn from across the EU is a remarkable achievement, according to Pauline Power, development manager of Age Action's computer training programme,. "Angela's experience of how technology can change a person's life will hopefully inspire more older people to take the plunge and learn how to use computers and the internet," she said.
Angela has written over 60 blog posts in the past 14 months, that have been read by almost 20,000 people. "It is hard to believe that only two years ago I was unaware of what a 'blog' or 'Twitter' were all about, and now they are such an integral part of my life," she said. "I really can think of nothing more enjoyable than this form of social engagement – it is mentally challenging and stimulating and has given me a new lease of life."
Much of what Angela blogs about is of interest and relevance to older people, such as social history, geneology and family history. "I hope in some small way to be helping others who may find themselves isolated or daunted by these new technologies," she said.
Through her blog and online discussion groups, Angela has made friendships and met up with new friends in Ireland, the US and Australia.
She now spends a couple of hours a day researching online or writing her blog. "I have developed a drive to seek out and impart information that might be useful and of interest to people of my own generation, whether related to the older person, or the Irish diaspora worldwide," she said.
Angela has also had to overcome technical challenges to pursue her new passion. She has only recently been able to receive broadband, having previously had to depend on a dial-up internet service.
Age Action's Getting Started computer training programme is currently running classes in Dublin, Cork (city, west Cork and east Cork), Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, west Waterford, Kildare and Dundalk. For more details of how to book a class contact Age Action at 01-4756989.
Angela will travel to Brussels for the awards ceremony on June 22. The winners will be announced as part of the European Commission's Digital Agenda Assembly Conference.
Further details of the awards are available at http://www.e-inclusionawards.eu/
Angela's blog can be read at http://thesilvervoice.wordpress.com