Directors' blog

Links, thoughts and updates from the directors of Dim Sum Digital.

BBC to launch social calender for the north (#smc_mcr)


This week, like most weeks, in Manchester there’s a whole heap of digital community events going on – Social Media Cafe, a Jotta session, Geek Girl Dinner to name but a few on my personal radar.

It’s also a fair bet that there’s similar in Leeds, Liverpool, Hull, Sheffield, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Each will undoubtedly be well supported and promoted by their own organisers fine – but without any central reference point or collation, no place to potentially start cross-pollination of ideas and awareness.

Enter the Beeb with an online social calender.

Ian Forrester

Ian Forrester

Speaking at last night’s Social Media Cafe gathering, Ian Forrester told the group that a soft launch of such a website is imminent in the next month – six weeks and it will cover a patch defined as ‘the north’ which runs from Scotland to Birmingham.

Ian showed the group something similar operating in Oregon – Calagator.

In answer to a question from the group, Ian said: “the scope of the project is ‘if you think something is interesting to you, it can go in’.”

But having said that, it’s intended to be used for events of interest to the digital communities and not step into competing for eyeballs on the heavily crowded general entertainments listings where media companies are pushing.

Ian told me this morning that any listings from commercial enterprises would be removed by editors.

While Ian was careful to make it clear that the BBC wasn’t getting into the commercial space of venue or event advertising, it’s inevitable there will be many media companies, professional promoters and others keeping a watchful eye on this development from the corporation.

What do you think? Is this an area suitable for the BBC’s attention? A few whispers in my direction last night expressed doubts while others seemed hugely enthuiastic about having such platform made available . Love to hear your thoughts .

* A FriendFeed commentary I did during the session with Ian can be entered here.

Written by sarahhartley

June 3rd, 2009 at 11:39 am

4 Responses to 'BBC to launch social calender for the north (#smc_mcr)'

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  1. I think it sounds great. As you point out, it’s far easier to know about events happening in your own circles but a central, trusted reference point would help bridge some gaps between communities and help people who are new to it all find out what’s going on without being completely bamboozled by hashtags and other, essential but jargony, Twitter shorthand.

    Hopefully they will open it out nationally before too long. I know I’d find a service very handy for when I was going to other cities to see if there were any interesting social media events to drop into and I’m sure people visiting cities would appreciate its real character more if they could come to a volunteer-run event, rather than just seeing it through a conference-visitor, consultant or tourist’s eyes.

    Most of these events are non-profit and volunteer-run so it sounds like exactly the sort of thing the BBC should build. I just hope they build it well and interactively rather than the very clunky community listings pages they’ve got on our local BBC site. Calagator looks OK and is easy to add to and tag.

    It would be interesting to know what those other doubts were to help the BBC develop the service, or indeed if the BBC could put its development into a public space for people to contribute at an early stage. What they don’t want to build is a(nother) service that doesn’t really get used by the social media communities, but it sounds like they’re making a good start speaking to you in Manchester.

    Clare White

    3 Jun 09 at 6:44 pm

  2. [...] BBC to launch social calender for the north (#smc_mcr) « Sarah Hartley [...]

  3. Sounds excellent. Would be very handy for promoting the Bloggers Meetups and Tweetups we’ve started in Preston, Lancashire.

    Ed Walker

    8 Jun 09 at 11:33 pm

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