I’ve found it quite interesting seeing what sorts of social media scenes are in other cities/towns around the country. Especially as things are maturing to the point where there’s a bit of cross-pollination and influence going on and Amplified looks to be tying everything together. From what I’ve seen London, Manchester, Leeds and others all have slightly different approaches to shifting online relationships offline.
Here in Birmingham we’ve got something for pretty much everyone (as long as you don’t mind leaving the house):
- the Bloggers meets have been going for a year now with their sociable, slightly booze-sodden atmosphere.
- under Joanna Geary‘s auspices the Birmingham Social Media Cafe is growing stronger, with an ever-growing list of professionals turning up to meet and chat with peers about how social media feeds into their day jobs
- Likemind‘s breakfast club is attracting some social media-types, although the focus of the meet-ups is on general chatting/networking irrespective of business
- Pete Ashton‘s free, weekly social media drop-in surgeries have been a success
We’ve got BrumTwestival coming up as well as the first Amplified Midlands. There’s also Multipack, the Birmingham Linux User and Midlands Mac User Groups. I don’t doubt there are others I’m not aware of too.
It’s great to see people coming together in all these ways.
Even better, however, are the examples of people from these communities (and beyond) volunteering their time and knowledge make some sort of positive difference. Here are just two of those examples:
Birmingham City Council are looking to develop a ‘city centre masterplan’ to guide the city’s development. The good news is they’re asking for as much input from the public as possible. The bad news is that the way they’ve inplemented the consultation online is very poor.
So, with little fuss but plenty of hard work, a few good people who are passionate about this consultation working properly have produced a companion website to help generate discussion.
It’s working too – with some good suggestions and a little debate around the issues too. The consultation closes on Friday 6 February 2009. If you live in Birmingham then this will affect you so go have a look and please chuck at least one idea into the mix.
Organised by Nick Booth with a group of ‘surgeons‘ donating their time, these sessions are aimed at people who simply don’t have the time or budget to invest in finding out how technology can help them. They’re great events and I was disappointed to miss last nights one because it feels good to use social media for something more than ‘just’ profit or play.
It looks like last night was another success and I’m looking forward to making it to the next one.
For a flavour of the events, Nick took this video to get a little feedback from the ‘patients’:
While Pete Ashton’s video provides a glance around all the groups hard at work: