Switching on Social Media Surgery Plus

I don’t get excited very often ;-).  Today I am.

Last night we flicked a switch.  You might think it was a simple switch.  On the face of it all we  did was turn http://beta.socialmediasurgery.com/ over  to www.socialmediasurgery.com.

For me though that is one helluva switch.  It means that today you lot can start making the most of Social Media Surgery Plus – a site created to make it easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy to find, organise and report on social media surgeries.  You can start creating surgeries, joining surgeries, learning form them and sharing that with others.  And it’s not just for us Brits – oh no – it works anywhere!

It has taken a long time to get to this point and of course we still have a big beta badge – this needs a lot more work.

It all started with the first surgery we ran on October 2008.  Shortly after  that that Dave Briggs did his usual bit of forward thinking and registered the domain.  He’s like that. He knew at some point someone would need it, even if we didn’t know why or what for.  Last December I asked him if he minded me using it and essentially he responded with “about time too you numpty” and transferred the domain.

Then I started talking to Claire at Substrakt who came up with the design and That Josh Hart.  In fact for weeks Josh and I talked about it. Then, he disappeared into his shed – like our very own Caractacus Potts on crack code. He would emerge, covered in Ruby coloured soot, we would talk, he would disappear again.

Eventually we shared it with the the most brilliant people in the world:  social media surgery organisers.  They started tinkering and using so that  even before we are out of beta there are surgeries from 18 places using the site and 219 registered users.

Thank you also to…

Marlon Parker from Rlabs is using it to run them in South Africa, Paul Webster (a huge supporter of surgeries who came to our first) is registered as the surgery manager for York, along with the efforts of Yortime and Abhay Adhikara of Dyaan Design.  The folks in York even made it onto the ipadio blog.

Diane Sims has been using the site for the very succesful  Huddersfield Social Media Surgery while Mike Rawlins has been doing the same in Stoke and John Popham in both North East Lincolnshire and Leeds. Like Paul,  John has made huge efforts to set up and encourage wider use of the approach.

Also thanks to Jag Gill of Gistlab in Sheffield, Podnosh’s one time staffer Hannah Waldram and Ed  Walker for their runaway success in CardiffRennee Wallace from Shropshire, Ben McKenna from Bradford, Michael Waugaman near Bristol, Duncan Hodgson in Blackpool and Pauline Sargent from Drimnagh near Dublin.
Our own Andrew Brightwell has also used it and tested it an poked as he organised the surgeries we run for our customers and the central Birmingham one – which we still do on a voluntary basis.
Thanks, every single one of you who helped us get to this point, along with 200 others who signed up as surgeons or to get help.

So what does Social Media Surgery Plus do?

If you are looking to attend  a social media surgery (to help or for help) then the site:

  1. Helps you find your nearest Surgery
  2. Makes it easy to register for one near you – for help or as a helper
  3. Sends you a polite reminder via email to remind you to go
  4. Lets you keep track of who helped you and what help they gave you – or vice versa
  5. Tells you when the next one will be

If you want to set up your own local surgery to support community and voluntary groups:

  1. You can create a surgery for a single place with as many events and venues as you need
  2. E-mail the link to potential surgeons (helpers) and people who want help.
  3. See them sign up – send them reminders
  4. Check dates of other surgeries to avoid clashes
  5. Generate a flyer from the description you write for each event (including adding your own logos – coming soon!)
  6. Manage the surgery on the days – including a register, marking who helped who do what, add links to sites/accounts created on the day.
  7. Blog about and create reports of what happened very easily.  As you add the above information the site automatically begin to generate a simple post – very near the end of the event you can refine that, make a few changes and publish it.  You can also highlight the text and then publish it directly to a wordpress blog of your choice, or copy and paste into any other blog. it makes the business of linking to surgeons to say thanks and telling people what happened much, much simpler.
  8. Keep and manage e-mail lists of people who came to one surgery event or to all of them.
  9. Help promote your surgery with Calendar files, add to Google Calendar buttons, blog this buttons, share on Twitter, via email and more ways to help spread the word on your event page.
  10. Display tweets that use a hashtag of your choosing so your conversation is on that page too.
  11. Can set limits on the number of attendees (if that’s your thing) and a waiting list that kicks in if you’re full
  12. WordPress sidebar widget (coming very soon) to show your upcoming event in your sidebar (also available to others so friends can install it on their sites too)

So a social media surgery specific eventbrite with a whole load of extras.  All the above is free for the volunteers who run the one surgery for their own neighbourhoods.

If you’re an organisations running a number of surgeries:

Some commercial and public organisations are already using the site to save them time and money managing how they organise surgeries and how they keep track of who goes, what happens there. The site also monitors the outcomes form the surgeries and we’re just refining how that can be used to make it easier to join relevant conversations..  The site makes all of this simple and inexpensive.
It’s just the end of the first stage, of a big investment of time and some cash on our part.  I’m hoping that you all enjoy using it and it makes your efforts easier.

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