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Archive for the ‘leedssocialmediasurgery’ tag

First came surgeons. Then a train. Now, is Tuttle about to start in Leeds?


The social media scene in Leeds is starting 2010 with a busy diary – and a possible new group for the city.

Some of the keen-eyed Leeds tweeters and bloggers have been in touch about the arrival of this Ning, exploring the idea of a Tuttle for Leeds.

Tuttle is the name given to the club which originated in London and which the Manchester Social Media Cafe (which I’m involved with) is also affiliated to.

The idea of Tuttle is to bring people with an interest in social media together, but, unlike more tightly defined groups which concentrate on specific interests or skills, it has no particular remit and definitely no ‘membership’ criteria – interest, passion or merely vague curiosity is enough.

As the Tuttle for Leeds Ning’s founder, York-based James Hester explains;

“Tuttle is open to everyone. Absolutely everyone. It is a place where anyone active in/interested in social media and its wondrous possibilities in helping people to come together and exchange ideas to meet up off-line, chat, make plans, have a drink and, most importantly, have fun. The location will have free Wi-Fi, so feel free to bring your tech of choice along and blog while you’re there.”

So there’s the invitation – sign up at the Ning here and join the first debate about venue. I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads, Leeds!

Other social media events coming up;

* The second Social Media Surgery will be taking place Thursday 21st January, 5:30-7pm at the Round Foundry in Holbeck Urban Village.  if you want an idea of what goes on, here’s a look back at the first event of this format at the end of last year.

* The Social Media Train will set out from Sheffield on February 10th. Read more about this unusual travel meets unconference here.

Written by sarahhartley

January 7th, 2010 at 7:57 am

Musings on the week: A north-south social media divide?



Inside #1pound40

Two very different experiences this week have had me musing on whether there’s a north-south divide in how social media is used.

Looking first at the #1pound40 event in London. It was an intriguing concept – for just £1.40, the opportunity to share knowledge and ideas with some of the leading lights of the social media UK whirl.

There were Tuttlers, journalists and broadcasters; there were geeks, students and marketing types; the venue was impressive (Reuters in the Daily Planet like environs of Canary Wharf) and the whole event had an air of expectation.

Something was going to happen. SOMETHING IMPORTANT.

So, a couple of days later, why do I still have this niggling feeling that, if something did happen, I must have missed it?

Perhaps this feeling was in part provoked by my experience the night before at Leeds Social Media Surgery.


Leeds surgeons

The surgery was an opportunity for charities and not-for-profits to come and find out about social media and see if it could help them in their work. I spent the evening talking about blogging with a woman who wants to provide the opportunity for interaction via a blog for workers in the mental health sector, as well as hearing about an impassioned campaign to help Palestinians where I was able to offer some basic advice about libel. In this setting, the social media tools were just that – tools to be utilised as part of a wider aim.

Back to London and what was described as ‘a curated unconference’, the purpose of our gathering was to explore issues raised by social media – questions such as if Twitter was a force for good, whether journalism was being democratised by the tools of web 2.0 and my old favourite – who can be called, or call themselves, a journalist?

Unlike other ‘unconference’ events I’ve been to, there were no sessions or pitches and instead small groups at tables discussed the issues between themselves before sharing their individual pithy conclusions via Twitter.

(As an aside, oddly for an event which ended up being monopolised by talk about Twitter, the backchannel wasn’t always in evidence – in fact when it was projected behind the panel at the end of the event it proved to be such a novel intervention that it completely distracted both panelists and audience!)

As the sessions concluded I took stock – had I learned anything? No. Had I contributed to anyone else learning anything? No.

It felt like we were all saying the same thing, speaking the social media speak. The digerati in full flow – agreeing with one another.

Some of the topics touched upon digital inclusion and the potential for political engagement through social media, but while we were talking, tweeting and pontificating, who was actually listening? What do the views of a bunch of always-on wired meeja professionals in London have to do with delivering news and information services to people working in tough but essential spheres such as the mental health sector, or living in areas where broadband access is still an aspiration not a reality?

That’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable event – I caught up with some people I haven’t seen in a while, put some faces to Twitter avatars and met some completely new people I’m sure I’ll enjoy following. As a meet-up, it was most conducive.

But all in all, for me at least, it was an afternoon inside the echo chamber, the reverberations of which will probably not even reach Islington, let alone Leeds.

There’s some other coverage of these two events that I’ve seen, as follows;

* The Guardian’s Mercedes Bunz gamely attempted a live blog of #1pound40 here and here.
* Leeds Social Media Surgery organiser John Popham summed up the evening here.
* The echo chamber is one of the topics which Christian Payne (AKA @documentally) also discusses in this audioboo which considered the psychology of Twitter.
* The Business Two Zero blog discusses the £1.40 event and also provides plenty of links to other views from the day.

Leeds gearing up for city’s first social media surgery


Next Tuesday will see the first Social Media Surgery held in Leeds – so what can you expect to find going on?

I spoke with Leeds organiser John Popham about the launch event as well as an old-hand at these surgeries, Nick Booth of Podnosh in Birmingham.

John: ” People were asking me questions about social media things but this has really come about because I was at the first year anniversary of the surgeries in Birmingham which happened about three weeks ago and people were asking why we weren’t doing it in this region.”

So he’s started it!

Nick explains how it’s worked in Birmingham: ” They are aimed at small charities, community groups and active citizens.  They are resolutely informal.  Volunteer surgeons pitch up and we sit them next to people who are trying to make a difference in the places where they live.  They talk to each other, share skills and go perhaps help people set up web tools.  The beneficiaries are welcome to come back time and again to get more help.”

He also offers this recipe to the event.

The Leeds event will be formulated in much the same way and John has already heard that other Yorkshire locations are interested in setting up similar events in Huddersfield, York, Sheffield and Hull so next week’s event could be the first of many.

Sharing some of the experience from Birmingham, Nick says a year of the surgeries in the city have raised awareness in the city about the potential of social media for social good.

“We have also helped to stitch together a few more squares in the patchwork quilt of very, very local blogging. That quilt will, eventually, prove a real democratic asset to the city.  We didn’t keep track of every group that has been helped – because at the beginning it was very informal.  We know of 22 sites we have helped set up – about half of those are still busy.

“We have also helped a lot of people who were already using the web.   We know that the idea has spun off to places as far a field as Sydney, Barcelona and soon South Africa plus surgeries cropping up in a growing number of town/cities in the UK.”

To be in at the start of all this, the Leeds Social Media Surgery is at Round Foundry Media Centre
Foundry Street, Leeds, LS11 5QP from 5.30pm – 7pm on Tuesday, November 10
. Map here.

See you there!

Written by sarahhartley

November 6th, 2009 at 6:50 pm