Archive for socialweb

TeaCamp / BrewCamp by John Popham

By John Popham.

Following on from the success of TeaCamp in London and BrewCamp in Birmingham, I am now looking to bring this concept to the North.

TeaCamp (see here) is a regular, informal meeting of London-based people who use the internet and social media to help the public sector do more interesting things and do what they already do more effectively. The concept has also been successfully transplanted to the West Midlands, where BrewCamp brings together people from local government, police, NHS and other parts of the public sector to support each other in their pioneering work with the internet and social media.

TeaCamp / BrewCamp are held in the early evening, after work, in a coffee shop with wifi, and continue the longstanding tradition of people getting together over a cuppa and a piece of cake to chew the fat. They normally involve one or more people giving a little talk about an interesting project, or something they feel passionate about, and often result in people being able to help each other overcome obstacles, and perhaps even work on joint projects.

Being an internet or social media pioneer in the public sector can be a lonely process, so the principal aim of these events is help people get some mutual support. If something more concrete comes out of it, that is a bonus. Following TeaCamp and BrewCamp events, Twitter is normally full of people expressing their joy about meeting people face-to-face in similar circumstances to themselves. Archived live video of the latest BrewCamp can be found here.

So, do you work with the internet and / or social media in the public sector in the North West, Yorkshire or the East Midlands? and, if so, would you be interested in an informal get together on a monthly basis in the early evening (say 5:30-8pm)?

I am looking to run CuppaCamp North in Leeds and Manchester, and my good friend and esteemed colleague, Paul Webster is testing the water about support for a MashCamp East Midlands (if you don’t know “Mashing” is a term used for brewing tea in parts of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire). If you think this is something you might be interested in being part of (you don’t have to commit yourself to anything), then please add your name to this Google Doc. There are three separate tables, for Leeds, Manchester and East Midlands. Feel free to add yourself to more than one table if you could attend in either location.

If there is enough support I will go about sorting venues which will be in the city centres in Leeds, Manchester and whichever of the East Midlands cities is most convenient to attendees.


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twitter cop

Greater Manchester Police are today tweeting every incident that they have to deal with over the next 24 hour period This is to create awareness of the number and variety of incidents and services that they provide on a daily basis. They are also claiming that two thirds of the incidents that they deal with are of a social (care) nature – dealing with domestic incidents, people with mental illness, dealing with homeless people etc. They are hoping to highlight this issue before the spending review I suppose in the hope of either avoiding cuts getting that work diverted to other agencies. Interesting use of twitter though I thought.

Manchester Evening News:  Live – Police use Twitter to post 24 hours of incidents in Greater Manchester

Sky News:  Day In The Life Live: Bobbies On The Tweet

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4 Letter Word

When doing a presentation, workshop, surgery or any other type of social media advice session I find that clearing up the mystery behind some of the terms is an essential first step. It’s the same old story. Those who use terms everyday use them with a full (hopefully) understanding of what lies beneath the word. Most people (myself included), often don’t ask for clarification of the terms. This leads to slow or sometimes no progress at all. One of the most fearful words that still strikes fear into peoples hearts is Blog. That’s it. A simple, small 4 letter word that has the potential to cause untold confusion.

And do you know what a blog is? If you don’t or are not sure don’t be afraid to admit it because most people don’t. I might even not know but we’ve got to start somewhere.

So here goes..

Drum Roll………

A blog is….

A diary.

Sorry. That’s it.

Well the clue was in the name. Blog is simply the abbreviation of Weblog >> weBLOG >> get it? A Web Log being a log that you keep on the web 😉

Don’t look for any esoteric meaning, technical complexity, or insight that will elevate your conciousness onto a higher plane, that’s it. A blog is simply a web site used as a diary.

Easy innit?

How much you put in your diary is up to you
What you put in your diary is up to you
How often you update your diary is up to you

Now don’t get me wrong there are some things that work and some that don’t. Obviously if you’re a witty and errudite wordsmith you’re going to have more success than a clumsy mangler of the wirtten word like me. But that also depends on what you call success. If one person reads this and gets it I’ll consider this particular ramble a success but for some not making the Technorati Top 100 (or whatever) is a failure.

Why is this important? Because in my need to boil everything down to it’s most simplistic level isn’t most social media just a blog?

Twitter = small updates stating “What am I doing”

Facebook = small to medium status updates stating “What I am doing”

Blog = small to large updates stating “What I am doing”

etc etc…

There are varying degress of complexity within each of these tools but essentially they are still just diarys.

If you’re lucky enough you will attract people who are interested in “What you are doing” to your blog (whatever form that may take: blog, twitter, facebook etc) and form what has become known as a Social Network. Some of these people may want to just listen and some may want to communicate and engage with you. You may start to read their blogs which may introduce you to other routes and lead you to areas or poeple with a common interest and on it goes.

This is the social web which – remember – is just a diary.

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Social Media Surgeries and Council webcasts

That's what it's all about

Well we must be doing something right at the Huddersfield Social Media Surgeries (@huddsms)! Surgeons are turning up. Patients are turning up. @podnosh is turning up! Patients – some of who are keeping excellent blogs – are even becoming surgeons. Result!

But yet  I feel uneasy…

Why is that?

I’ve got my own ideas but really could do with some objective and inspiring debate to thrash a few ideas into shape.

On another strand I had one of those days at work today that makes it all worth while. Our first live webcast of a council meeting. The first full Council meeting after the election – Annual Council – apart from the sound being  a little low and a few other teething problems, it couldn’t have gone better. There is huge potential here, I’m hoping that’s recognised and embraced.

The Ning thing is a mess and, in a way has heightened of some of my concerns. I’ll feel a bit better about this when/if a method to export content from ning is revealed.


Facebook is changing its privacy settings from 26 May in response to complaints from users.

It’s taken me long enough to do this to know that it’s enough so I’ll stop there 🙂

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What the HELL is social media – in 2 minutes

Thanks to @michaelcooper for bringing this to my attention.

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Huddersfield Social Media

First meeting to get the Huddersfield Social Media Surgery #huddsms off the ground produced the Huudersfield Social Media group – a loose ‘collective’ of people to get things off the ground.  Using the excellent Recipe – How to make a Social Media Surgery provided by the equally excellent Nick Booth aka podnosh we discussed what format we should take as well as our reasons for doing this and what we hoped to achieve – more of this later on the Huddersfield Social Media Blog. We each left the meeting with several tasks – mine to set up the twitter account and the facebook group which I’d better get on with.

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getting back

PorridgeJust links for today but getting back into it. Except to say that social media is now called Porridge. Acutally that’s a good point mentioned to my by Liz Azyan. I was discussing with her my dropping of the use of the term Web 2.0 because I think it is more indicative of technology. Liz agreed but said it is useful to use Social Media, Web 2.0 and now Porridge depending on the sensitivities of the audience. A jolly good tip. 

  • The twittering classes 
    Twittering in local gov.  I submitted a piece but it didn’t make the final cut.
  • Stop Blocking 
    The value of enabling social media for employees, both inside and outside the firewall, keeps getting reinforced by study after study, yet organizations continue to block access to external sources while resisting internal implementation citing excuses ranging from bandwidth and storage limitations to fears of diminished worker productivity.

I’ve also been dipping into Everything is Miscellanious David Weinberger’s very interesting study of how we order stuff and the changes we need to make to that order in the digital world now that we can have single items in more than one place, and the implications this has for democratising information and knowledge. 

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