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I’ve been talking about creating a Social Media Surgery in Southampton for over a year now.  I am so delighted that we are running our first session tomorrow at the Shooting Star pub.

We nearly made it last year, but sadly Aris (one of our students) graduated and left the area before we could get going.  But the internet is a marvellous thing. Gavin Barker found details about the surgeries on the Our Society ning created by John Popham.  John pointed him to Nick Booth at podnosh, and whilst putting two and two together suggested he talk to me too.  Why?  I’ve never been to a surgery. I have no direct experience of how they work. What I have done is been surrounded by the energy, enthusiasm and outputs since they began.  I lived in Brum when they started and have spent hours discussing them with Nick.  I think it is such a powerful idea.  That folk who believe in social activism can volunteer to help other volunteers – and others from community organisations.

So we meet tomorrow.  My huge thanks go to a few people, mostly to Gavin who has actually made this happen, to his contact Ben who has helped out with the venue, the venue, and then of course to the surgeons:

Standards nerves around rsvp’s means we have no idea if anyone will actually want any help.  I have absolutely no doubt that the surgeons will be well able to amuse themselves sharing ideas, wowing each other with their work and getting to know other great people.  Working on the strong assumption that people will turn up for help, Gavin has put together a useful crib sheets to give surgeons some ideas of the sort of solutions to offer surgeons.  I’ve popped it into a post on this site here.

So, besides packing my dongles – you can never be too careful with wifi, remembering the camera, and charging up my laptop, I’m good to go.  Wish us luck, and check back soon for a review of how it went.


I very much enjoyed my first presentation to the Birmingham Social Media World today.  Held as part of the Fazeley Digital Festival, I was asked to present as a relative novice.  IMG_0295I have to say I can happily present on many topics to a large audience for as long as you like, but this was daunting.  No need, they are lovely people.

Here is some of what I went on about on my first slide share, including successfully embedding it – not quite what I expected, but there it is.:


Oh, no, how exciting, this is what I expected.  Well you live and learn…

On reflection a few things struck me:

drawnalism_headerThe idea of live animation/cartoon annotation of the conversations was fantastic.  It didn’t work as well as it could – but we were all relative novices on that point.  Drawnalism were great and a few pens in the hands of the audience would sort that for next time…

Children are way ahead of the game on this one and will take this somewhere mind-blowing in the next 10 years.  For that reason alone they are a really important part of these conversations.  (Oh and I was very proud of my dort, live blogging on club penguin – I wonder how many buddies she lost during the event!)

It would be great to see Birmingham use these kind of informal, free flowing sessions for something other than social media topics.  I am confident that all of the events I’ve been to have found great digital ways of sharing and recording ideas.  I am quite sure we are all passionate about  other topics we could put them to good use for?

Of course, I know the standard response – good idea, off you go then and we’ll be there.  That is certainly true and ordinarily I would.  But as I accepted a new job in Southampton the same day as I launched by “relative novice” speaking circuit, I’m afraid I won;t be here to do it ;-(

I set up this blog post way back in 2008 (autumn) and began by contemplating what I found as I rambled round the interwebs.  It occurred to me the other day that this had been quite a journey.  I have never been scared of IT, or nervous of the internet – I got a Computing O Level in 1979, so I know my stuff!  What I hadn’t really realised was how much control I could have on the interwebs.  So what’s happened since I set up this blog?

  • Attended a Birmingham bloggers meet (December at the Frankfurt Farmers Market)
  • Attended the Birmingham Twestival (12 February in the Arcadian)
  • Set up and hosted a B’ham City University Tweetup (January, with about 15 attendees)
  • Set up and about to host the next one (19 March, over lunch, Bar 42)
  • Was in at the concept and helped deliver #wxwm (the antidote to SwSWi, March Kings Heath)
  • defined a hashtag @tagref and @tagalus
  • had over 2,640 views on this site since November
  • Created a brand new website celebrating great Brummie Women
  • Had a couple of impromptu social media lunches in the Fighting Cocks on Moseley Farmers Market Days
  • Instigated a late night snow hunt with 6 other people in Cannon Hill Park (url available on request)
  • Crowd-sourced ideas for Modern Day Plagues and found 10
  • created a tumblr website with my dort – and lost it!
  • posted photos on twitpic
  • become an iphone addict (thanks to our uni)
  • made so many new friends, I’ve lost count

Some say the social media world in Birmingham is a clique.  Well, I have to say it’s a very easy clique to break into.  I don’t know where else a newbie like me would have been allowed to get away with quite so much.

So, one of the categories I’ve been filing blog posts under is “the ramblings of a novice interwebs adventurer“.  As we know, my newbie days were not very long ago.  But what I also know, is that if I met someone with that list I would not think them a newbie.  So I’ve decided it’s time for a new category.  I’m thinking “the further adventures of an interwebs adventurer

So what next, I do want to start embedding this into our work more.  Our website is coming along, but we need to be having conversations with our stakeholders through the internet.  Meanwhile, thanks for reading my first term report.  I look forward to stumblin’ over you in the ether sometime soon…

Andy Mabbett quite rightly pointed out that in my earlier blog post “7 things” I was supposed to name 7 more people to similarly do a blog post on 7 “thangs” about themselves.  Oops… I pass the gauntlet or indeed baton on to the following fab women:

Happy writing one and all…

Thank you so much to everyone who has put up with me banging on about voting for as best UK blog in the weblog awards.  At the close of voting here was the outcome:

In order to ensure fair play and yada yada yada they now check for cheating and announce winners on Thursday morning.    I can’t begin to imagine what will happen if they take this away from us!

Well done to the highly impressive Chris Unitt, Pete Ashton and Stef Lewandowski who are responsible for all this excellence.

By ickle bro’ @podnosh aka Nick Booth very kindly acknowledged the lovely people who are supporting Create in Birmingham’s bid to win a coveted weblog award, with links to their posts which help you decide it’s a brill cause. So in keeping with his loveliness:

Thanks and a little bit of link love to:

Mail Watch


Pete Ashton (also in the race but the bloke who set up CiB)

Bob Piper


Blue Gal

Other Excuses

The Stirrer

Podnosh (!)

Nosemonkey is sacrificing their own vote. Thank you: ” vote often. To those still voting for me – thanks, you’re very sweet, but even I’m not voting for me any more.”


Indymedia Ireland

John Band

Art Stalking “I’m keen for them to win not just because I think their hearts are in the right place, but because it’s a way of saying that Birmingham has a strong creative community.”


Bostin (through a facebook group)

Spaghetti Gazetti

Joanna Geary “It has changed the way I think about my industry, about the businesses that form it and the organisations that claim to support it.”

Gavin Wray

Peter Bacon “Strength and influence are both crucial to the vitality of the arts and creative industries, and strength and influence are greatly enhanced by those who link us all together.”

Shona. (politer than sometimes) “If you don’t, I will scweam and scweam and scweam and scweam. And you wouldn’t want to be responsible for a breach of the peace now, would you?”


Sunny at Pickled Politics “You’ll be doing humanity a favour.”

Anthony Herron “It was started by Pete Ashton, who is also up for the award but who has already asked people to vote for CiB instead. Pete is renowned for his blogging and he puts a massive amount back into the community, along with Chris Unitt, who has been running CiB for the last year now. CiB is about to be taken over by Kate Spragg for the next year or so I guess. Let’s not forget the contributors and people who’ve help CiB start up – Stef Lewandowski, Danny Smith, Frankie Ward, I’m sure there have been a few more.”

If I’ve missed you off please leave a comment – if you blog vote CiB in the next few days let me know and I’ll add you to the list.

Oh, and don’t forget to vote…


If you want to know what’s happening in the Birmingham Creative Industries, then you could do much worse than bookmark this site:

Created in Birmingham

If you are excited about helping a great Birmingham project win an international award – or just content to trust me and a load of other faithful Brummies and committed creative types, then please click here:



Created in Birmingham is currently in a neck and neck race with Melanie Phillips of the Spectator and Daily Mail.  She appears to have a good deal of US support, overnight she’s stolen a nearly 200 vote lead on our lead yesterday.  So we need to keep voting and here are the rules:

  • Polls close January 12, 2009.
  • You may vote once every 24 hours in each poll.
  • After voting in an individual poll you will be locked out from voting again in that poll (on the computer you voted from) for 24 hours.
  • Each poll has its own separate 24 hour lockout control. Voting in, for example, Best Blog will not lock you out of voting in other categories.
  • Vote totals are not final until certified.
  • Vote totals are subject to periodic correction for identified cheating.
  • Cheaters will be banned from accessing the site for the duration of the voting.
  • We reserve the right to close some or all polls earlier than the posted end date.
  • In the event of identified cheating, the decisions of the judges as to the manner of correction is final.

And the site helpfully advises you to not vote simulataneously from computers on the same home or corporate network – so, don’t forget to do vote on each of your machines in turn…

Oh and if you find out if you can vote on an iphone – please leave a comment telling me how!

I am quite sure we can reclaim the lead during the course of today and tomorrow. So let’s get clicking…

I’ve been tweeting and blogging for a few months now.  As Christmas holidays approach it seems like a good time to reflect on that.

So, some numbers, as of Thursday 18 December [anyone who reads my tweets or knows me at all, will know I’m comfy with numbers].

On Twitter:

  • 131 people have decided to follow me on Twitter
  • I’ve posted 1,244 updates since I joined in September 2008.
  • most, 272, of these have been on Wednesdays
  • I’ve sent over 300 of my replies directly to only 2 people!
  • My most active hour is after 11pm.
Thanks to for most of these stats…

On my Blog site:

I’ve also joined 1 Ning and set up two others.  Interestingly none of these particularly feature in my everyday life.  Conversely I have been suffering something of a Twitter addiction and do keep on top of my blogging. 

From Twitter I have learnt loads and met so many new people.  It was only because of a desire to meet new friends made online that I attended the December Birmingham Bloggers meet at our Frankfurt Christmas Market earlier this month.

One of the features I’ve noticed about this new world is that many things happen just because some folks are interested enough to make it happen and not expect everyone else to do it for them.   There is a high sense of achievement.  I’m not sure if that is just amongst the people I’ve decided to follow or twitter-land in general.

Another is that professionals and amateurs rub along together very well.  So, many of my followers(ings) make a living from the internet and social media one way or another, whilst the rest are keen amateurs or just like to commune.  I’m not sure how the pros put up with some of our amateurish nonsense on some evenings, but we have a great time…

I’m constantly pondering how exactly to use all of this at work.  How to really embrace social media to engage our 25,000 members beyond Facebook.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Ed Walker does at UCLAN SU as he embeds it more there.  I’m also contemplating how we go about using the web to “walk alongside” our members, where in the past we may well have demanded they come inside…  Looking forwad to where that will take us, I think it may be an interesting model going forward.  I feel it will give us a greater chance of building a positive reputation: one of a students’ union who cares enough about what it’s members choose to do, that we join in with them rather than necessarily the other way round.


So what does 2009 have in store:

  • It’s looking likely that I’ll host a Birmingham meeting of Twitterers in the not for profit sector. 
  • More bin blogging [including 1st bins on vacation post planned for Feb 2009]
  • More workmen [at least two sites up my sleeve, just need the camera at the right time
  • More ramblings
  • More Tweets
  • …oh, and more time with my family – not sure how they are compatible, but need to find out real soon.

Like now!


Happy New Year

I’ve been playing a little game with myself. 

Regular visitors will have noticed my habit of posting photos often without explanation (ref: bins and workmen categories). 

I have a pretty clear reason for putting them up.  For me, there is a clear story behind them and a clear reason for posting them.  One of the interesting consequences of posting many photos, is that as I post more photos, my story changes.  What I also wonder is whether they tell the same story as I set out to tell. 

So, the little game I am playing with myself is to see how long I can hold out before I tell the stories.  

When I set out to write this post, I thought I’d reached that point where I would write them down.  Now I realise, I can stand it a little longer.  In fact, this post gives me the chance to ask you what stories you glean from my photo posts – if indeed you hear a story at all…  I look forward to your comments.

Meanwhile, here I am still playing that little game with myself…


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