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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 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…

Thanks to Joanna Geary for choosing me for this task.  I say thanks, the further down the list I’m getting, the less thankful I am.  7 is a hard number.  To find 7 things that are interesting enough to read and which one is content to share is something of a challenge.  So here goes:

  1. I used to hate doing the bins every week, I started a blog post as a record of just how late I did them, never before midnight.   Now I post on it, they’re done before 9 every week!
  2. I appeared in A Very Peculiar Practice as an extra (student in the freshers talk scenes).  I was clearly recognisable: when at a new job in a College of HE 2 years later I was left a message from a lecturer surprised that I’d been a student at Lowlands University.  I still own the top I wore for the filming (in 1985!)
  3. I don’t do pets.  Whenever I have, I haven’t done them well.
  4. I am a gran, to my husband’s delightful granddaughter Jasmine, who lives in Sheffield
  5. I won the Business & Professional Women‘s Young Business Woman of the year award back in the day – when I was young!
  6. I am proud to say, that I have claimed to be the first person to direct Liz Light, Artistic Director of Stage 2.  She took part in the school house play I directed way back in the late 70s (Our Town).  I imagine it was one of the worst productions she has ever been associated with.  When she was the first person to direct my dort in Spoonface Steinberg in January it was one of the best.
  7. 7 is the square root of my favourite number and that’s why it’s my favourite number.

Phew.  Didn’t think I’d make it but actually managed to finish before the @cluedo game on twitter…  night 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 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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