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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’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 Twitter, I meet people. I meet people, I join networks. I join networks, I discover ning. I discover ning and before I know it I’m offering to create one, in a national meeting.

OMG says I, I know not what I’ve done.

Ah well, it can’t be too hard and besides, I know one of my new Twitter chums will help. So what do I do? Contact him, talk it through, work on it together? No, of course not, I dive right in… and 5 minutes later, I have a network.

Yes, 5 minutes.

It looks great. My colleagues can blog, chat, put up photos and images, create groups and all sorts.

I’ve sent a message out on Facebook to some of my friends who were then when I volunteered to do this hard thing. I’ve asked them to join (still waiting?!?!)

I’ve told my new Twitter friends, who have been delightfully supportive of this simple effort.
and all from the comfort of my own living room while my daughter sleeps and hubby works late. Who needs a night out, I haven’t felt this much flow in years.

What can I do next?


RSS bin fairy on twitter

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