Birmingham Social Media Surgery No: 6 – May 13th 2009

So we’ve made it to a full half a dozen  surgeries, cracking. Scroll down for a report on Surgery no 5.

If you belong to a Birmingham based community or neighbourhood group or charity please Come and join us for the May 13th 2009 Surgery.

When & Where

Next Surgery: Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 drop in anytime between 5.30pm to 7.00pm at Fazeley Studios, 191 Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR,  link to map. (not BVSC) It’s opposite the bond and a go kart track. Push the large pale blue door with the silver door knob.

To sign up please go here.

Social Media Surgery in Birmingham, from HNM_1977 on Flickr
Social Media Surgery in Birmingham, from HNM_1977 on Flickr

So what happened last time?  Well, Paul Henderson took the photo above whilst Chris Ivens summed up the point of the surgeries rather neatly:

Q: What is a Social Media Surgery?  A: With an abundance of buzz-words at every tick and turn and an almost daily mention of twitter in the news we try to look at what technologies could really help your organisation and we’re here to explain in plain English what they are. It’s not a sales pitch nor are you obliged to do anything after the meet, I guess it’s the old cliché; ‘Giving Something Back’. If you come and find the session useful, please pass on the word so more people can benefit.

As with most of our surgeries, people went away having set up new blogs or picked up tips about how else they can use the social web to help their project, programme, campaign or neighbourhood.

Cannon Hill People’s Park came along for the second time. Tony Fox said of his first surgery:

Thanks to the brilliant advice and support we got last time it inspired us to put our up (just), and we’ll be along to discuss building on our Social support!

Tony and his team have now begun making good use of google maps.  Karen and Geoff Caine are the first people who’ve made the move from patient to surgeon, having now made good use of their newish blog for the City Centre Neighbourhood Forum, explored with google maps and begun to encourage people to use services such as the excellent fixmystreet.

It was a good evening for neighbourhood groups.  Ged Hughes of the Acocks Green Neighbourhood Forum came along, her first time at a surgery. She left saying she would love to come again and the following day created a blog for the forum. (Hurrah!).  The first post tells us that their AGM is on May 14th, the day after the next social media surgery. It also pointed me to another local group already using social media, the Acocks Green Focus Group.

Other neighbourhood interest came from the East Yardley Neighbourhood Forum who went away with a head crammed full of ideas and established this starting point for conquering the social web world. Also John Heaven was with us looking for help on how to build on what is already being achieved at

Laura Creaven  of LUCIA Charity set up this personal blog and has got off to a roaring start. Her take on the surgery:

I have to say it was a fascinating meeting and I’m really glad I went. I’m all a bit keen about what we could achieve with it. So I’m a little excited about going to work tomorrow – sad isn’t it?!

Also with us was Mary from Birmingham Friends of the Earth and Attiya from the Health Exchange who left having set up an experimental personal blog.

The ever brilliant all-volunteer surgeons were Ben WaddingtonNicky Getgood, Chris Ivens, Pete Ashton, Paul Henderson, Gavin Wray, Daniel Davis, Simon WhitehouseNeil Houston – who blogs about food – joined us for his first session and Rob Annable gave some great help on open source mapping. I love the way the people who help at the surgeries vary from month to month, so endless thanks for their help and a particular thank you to Diane from Fazeley Studios who also volunteers her time to keep the place open.   I always forget at least one person when I list these, so apologies in advance and please just tell me and I’ll put it right.


  1. Since the social media surgery things have been moving along quite nicely. The hospital I work at (itself a charity) is looking into developing its social media stuff in various different ways – mainly through its media/communications. I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of really good advice about that – thanks! We’re now working out just how we can achieve all of this and move it into areas like internal communication so the three hospitals can link up. Hopefully once all that’s figured we can start looking at passing the info over to the membership and volunteers.

    It’s also been incredibly helpful for other charity stuff. I’m hoping to help come up with ideas for LUCIA and at work I’ve been approached to help develop stuff for a local branch of a cancer charity and some doctors who are cycling for charity. So despite not really knowing what I’m doing the social media surgery was fantastic – and potentially helped out three or four charities in one go! So thanks, I learnt a lot and am really excited to get it all going!

    And I got to see a voice recorder that looked like a taser.

  2. Sanna says:

    I like this. I wish I was at the meeting because I have a lot of questions 🙂

    Nick, this might sound dumb but why have you called it “Social Media Surgery”. What has “Surgery” got to do with what you are doing? I’m sorry, I’m ocnfused!Could you please explain to me what you mean by this?

    Thank you.

  3. Nick Booth says:

    Hi Sanna,

    Politians and medics have surgeries. The idea is simpl: drop in with whatever problem you have/want to solve and we will do our best to use our skills to help you.

    It’s different from training – training is about learning what we want you to learn. Surgeries are about us helping you solve your problems.

    Your blog post has been mentioned quite a bit on twitter!

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