Tuesday the 12th September 2017 will be remembered as the day that Web Matters officially came into being. We can now emerge from our underground lair and cry:
Our inaugural Annual General Meeting was physically held at CodeBase in Edinburgh, and attended virtually through a live stream and our active Slack channel. Discussion covered a lot of ground, and we’re pleased to announce we now have a Committee comprising of the following people:
Chairman: Alan White
Secretary: Damian Sefton
Treasurer: Charlie Wood
Communications officer: James Sheasby-Thomas
Ordinary member: Dave Potter
Ordinary member: Heather Burns
Due to the machinations of the British banking system we’re still waiting for a bank account to be set up so membership dues cannot yet be taken. However we’re absolutely committed to spreading the word about Web Matters, attracting new members, and gaining good standing in the web industry where an organisation like this is so badly needed.
Something to believe in
Two important decisions were made at the AGM. Firstly the acceptance of our Manifesto, which you can read here. This outlines the aims of the organisation, and sets a bar to ensure we act with integrity for our membership.
As a reminder, here are the main statements we make:
- We will represent the interests of our members
- We will respect and honour our profession
- We will aspire to consultative status with governments
- We will prepare and provide informed responses to digital policy issues
- We will be the informed and independent voice of the web community in media and politics
With such goals it’s clear we need to start somewhere, which is why we agreed on three areas of focus for the coming year (and beyond).
Area of focus 1: Achieve consultative status
It is imperative that an organisation like Web Matters has a “seat at the table” when to comes to informing local, national and EU policy on issues that affect our industry. We do this by meeting the requirements to be an official organisation (Articles of Association, a formal committee etc) and by representing a committed membership.
Therefore our primary task is to ensure all the legal “stuff” is done – which, thankfully, is mainly completed – and to attract members whom we can support and represent. Thusly armed we can approach governments so they can recognise us as representing our members, understand we are experts in our industry, and consult us on issues that affect the web.
This is our primary reason for existing, therefore has to be our first priority.
Area of focus 2: Open a discussion on Ethics of the Web
Ethics is a subject which doesn’t often spring to mind when thinking about building websites, and we hope to change that. Whether you count “ethics” as not helping build an online Ponzi scheme, or trying to ensure your systems are as secure as possible, or ensuring the companies at which you work consider accessibility, we want to get web workers thinking and talking about it.
This will go a long way towards making the web industry a place of professionals – not just those who get paid to do a job, but those who adhere to a high standard of conduct.
Area of focus 3: Delivery of a Communications strategy
Clearly achieving consultative status and opening a discussion on ethics isn’t going to be possible without communication. This is the life-blood of the web, indeed the very reason it was invented. We will focus on ensuring we can communicate effectively with:
- Other people who work on the web
- Legislative bodies
- The press
- Users of the web
We’re already starting this work by writing succinct, clear articles on industry issues that will be published on our website. In line with our Manifesto we’ll be prepared to speak about these issues. In the past we’ve seen many examples where the web has been misunderstood, misrepresented or downright lied about, and we will ensure that our communication strategy aims to tackle these problems.
Finally we’ll support people who want to set up regional chapters of Web Matters, by providing resources and advice. We’ve already got small but enthusiastic groups in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds, and we hope that other motivated people will get involved – wherever they are in the UK.
This is for you!
So we open our arms to you in welcome! If you consider yourself to work “on the web” then Web Matters is for you. Contact us on our membership page and we’ll send you details of how you can get involved.