Tag: Social Networking

Handsworth, Lozells, Twitter and Community Consultation

On Saturday I popped up to Handsworth for a community consultation event.
John Heaven, a council officer, was there live blogging with this wordpress site that he created literally as the event started. John and I also tweeted the event (using different tags – doh) and you can find the streams for the event here and for Handsworth in general here.

If you’re not sure what a hashtag is there is a complicated explication on wikipedia here or put simply its a label than any of us can use on twitter to mark that we are talking about the same subject. When used in a search of twitter the tag then brings together every thing everyone has said about that subject.

It also helps those not in the room watch and join the conversation. So as we twittered about Handsworth from a meeting room in the neighbourhood, observations were added from other parts of the city or country by David Nikkel, Leonardo Morgado, Andy Mabbett, Cyberdoyle and Carrie Bishop.

Carrie even pointed to a new service she has helped create to allow the public to reflect their opinions of police service called MyPolice.org.

So not only has social media been used to creatd a simple and immediate record of the meeting but it has also brought new attention to what is going on and the potential of fresh ideas, input and questioning.

Non of this was planned – John and I just got on with it because we could.

Why was I there? I want to meet some people who could help me set up a very local social media surgery for the area. More on that soon.

I also posted this over at Be Vocal.

Social Media and Local Government: What’s Working?

A year ago I delivered a presentation at the Local Government Communications annual conference called Naked in a Goldfish Bowl. It was an evangelising rant, a wake up call for an audience that was, to a degree, still getting used to “new media” an unaware of possibilities and implications of social media.  I wanted them to understand that whilst they concentrated their efforts on relating to the media they were left “exposed” by the conversations about their work going on on the net.

Last month I was back again and a great deal has changed in that time. As Liz demonstrates with her research, local government  has rushed to understand social web tools.  So this this time I tried something much more modest. A  few examples of what might be working, all on a very modest scale, and a chance for people to talk about them. These were my slides:

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 Net.website 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 Lozells.info.

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.