Who’s coming to the Birmingham Social Media Surgery, BAD08

Pete Ashton stumbles across a 'shelter' for homeless people in Birmingham

I thought is was time to take stock, not least to ensure sufficient tea and coffee for the social media surgery which us Birmingham bloggy folk are organising (with BVSC) to support voluntary and community groups in the city on Blog Action Day.

If you want to know how social media can help you campaign, garner support, raise funds, change the world then please sign up through this link (Wednesday, October 15th 2008, BVSC (map) 5.30pm to 7.30 pm). Come when you can for some free, friendly, one to one support.

Sign up here:


The Social Media Surgeons:

Coming from Somerset we have Steve Bridger, once of The Guardian website and Oxfam now a specialist in online fund raising and community management. I first met Steve through shared involvement with the NCVO ICT Foresight project.  Also getting here by train, this time from Sheffield, is Paul Webster. I think I first met Paul at the UKGOVBarcamp.   Paul travels endlessly, bringing vol orgs and their suport organisations up to speed with how IT and the web can help them.

Stef Lewandowksi will be there, sharing his enormous experience of producing blog based websites which achieve things, from webby award winning sites to those that build networks around curious human ideas, Stef builds some of the most elegant pages you can find on the web. He’s also offering:

half a day of my time to produce from scratch a blog-based website for one charitable organisation that works with disadvantaged or at risk kids, at no charge.

This is a brilliant offer. Stef can achieve a great deal in half a day if he’s working with an organisation that’s keen to get on with things.

Pete Ashton – who’s the first person I know to come up with the idea of a social media surgery – will also be there to help. One of the countries first professional bloggers, Pete has won national awards and helped the cities creative community burst into online collaboration and conversation through establishing Created in Birmingham. That leads me on  to another local. Chris Unitt has run Created in Birmingham for the last 6 months or so and is a very talented blogger who’s also applied his professional energies to initiatives such as cQuestrate, an ambitious project to develop an open source solution to climate change.

Others possibly/hopefully coming who can help with everything from how to set up a blog to how to run a festival (should that help reduce poverty) are Anthony Herron, Dave Briggs, Nicky Getgood and Antonio Roberts. (Update:  Joanna Geary – a Birmingham Post journalist who’s helping introduce social media to newspapers, is also hoping to come).
I (Nick Booth) will also be there with my background in BBC journalism then community podcasting and various work with local government, schools and community groups on using social media as a tool for empowerment.

Jon Bounds and Julia Gilbert, both of whom have energetically inspired and worked on this idea, can’t make Wednesday, but just thought I’d day hello and thank you.

Social Media Patients(!?):

So far I’ve had about 15 people say they’re hoping to come from various groups, some with url, some without names!  Among them are Gerry Moynihan of the Bordesley Green Neighbourhood Forum. I’ve worked with Gerry before to make this film and podcast for a European wide group of active citizens called R4R.  I spoke to Claire Rigby of Fairbridge earlier this week and if she can’t make it she means to encourage someone else to com along.  Her charity supports young people to pull themselves out of destructive patterns, often involving drugs.
Stuart Parker is establishing a social enterprise to use the power of the social web to help people who foundered in education. I’m sure he’ll be teaching and learning.
Ally Sultana works with women in Balsall Heath and has been developing a podcast project – she’s already explored some social mediaAudrey Miller helped create the Jubilee Debt campaign which put so much pressure on the 1998 Birmingham G8 to cancel debt to Africa. Serena Malone works with Rural net, and again is someone who may be able to teach as much as she learns.

Then there’s Gary Smith from firstlightmedia and also working with young people, Colin Kerrigan of the charity Stage 2Stephen Brook is coming along from another educational charity excell3.

Linda Hines from the Witton Lodge Community Association in Perry Common is coming. She’s also a community champion for Be Birmingham (I recently worked with Be Birmingham on simple podcasts and material for their youtube channel and flickr.)  Other community champions might join us, as might community groups who’ve worked with Groundwork in Birmingham and members of the Third Sector Assembly.

If you’re coming and I haven’t mentioned you please use the comments section to say hello. For some that will be familiar – for others commenting on this blog post might be your first step in social media!—


Update. Beside the bloggers some key organisations have also offerred their support with links and publicity, including Digital BirminghamBVSC who’s providing us with space and drinks and NAVCA.


  1. Stef says:

    I will be there and I am offering half a day of my time to produce from scratch a blog-based website for one charitable organisation that works with disadvantaged or at risk kids, at no charge. I’ll also be available for short consultations on lots of other issues and happy to be brought in (when I’m free) to give advice.

    Nick/all – how are we getting the message as wide as possible about this?

  2. Nick Booth says:

    Stef, that is a fabulous offer.

    Since last week I’ve been in touch with BVSC, Third sector Assembly, Be Birmingham, Groundwork UK, NCVO, NAVCA (I know that’s a lot of letters) all of whom have put the word out to their networks.

    Our networks have been spreading the word – which has given us plenty of bloggy types and a few vol orgs. We would like to reach more of the latter.

    I’ve been in touch with many community activists who’ve featured on the Grassroots Channel and other friends from my own work with the voluntary and community sector.

    I think it is the personal contact that helps the most. But any more connections with vol orgs, especially those that work to alleviate poverty in some way, please exploit them and encourage them to come.

  3. Paul says:

    I’ll chaperone Serena and assist in the surgery if you like – the Hotlips Hoolihan to your BJ and Hawkeye…or possibly not

  4. Rob says:

    Not sure if there’ll be any need for a social media architect, but I thought I might come along for an hour or so to meet a few folks. I’ll have to be away by 7pm but should be able to get there in good time for the start.

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