Directors' blog

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

Archive for the ‘socialmedia’ tag

Using social media for investigations #ipiwoco

one comment


The final session of the afternoon is about using social media for investigative journalism.

Will update for the next hour. Class being taught by Gunter Bartsch @guebartsch.

To start investigating someone who is not a Facebook friend, being suggested that we set up a made up account and attempt to befriend. Obviously the recipient will not be responsive. However, Facebook will then reveal all friends of the target’s friends.

Massive hole in Facebook! One of many. Tell your friends to lock down their settings.

Now searching to put a link to a photo and name on Facebook. I would normally do this via TinEye but the teacher is suggesting Google image search. I guess either will do but the problem with stock libraries is much more present in Google I find.

Scenario now is to find employees or people who live near a power plant, by using Facebook.

Change your language settings to English US and then the fuller Facebook search will work.

Moving onto Twitter. First example is The Guardian’s 2010 crowdsourcing of deportation arrest.


Written by sarahhartley

April 12th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Things to do before 2011 ends, 3 : Update profiles for  New Year

leave a comment

This can take more time than it should especially if you’re a compulsive joiner/ tester of new stuff.

I think I’m about there with the major ones but it did get me thinking that an app for that would be good….

One form to fill which has the format for the 140 characters for Twitter, the current, past, summary etc. for LinkedIn, the Facebook status etc. which then distributes directly to each. Anyone?

Written by sarahhartley

December 29th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Happy Birthday Social Media Cafe!

leave a comment

Manchester’s Social Media Cafe marks its second anniversary tonight – a milestone occasion as I wrote elsewhere yesterday.

For that PDA blogpost I talked to the three people most active in organising tonight’s event at BBC Club – here’s their complete answers to the questions put below.

Unfortunately work commitments will keep me from celebrating at the event tonight however, if anyone wants to submit a guest post from the proceedings, please do get in touch, email is SarahMancunianWay At

Have a great night all!

1. When and why did you get involved in the social media cafe?
Josh: I got involved with the Social Media Cafe at the first meeting which I heard about via Twitter. It was held during the first week that I’d moved to Manchester to start a new job in the digital sector and it seemed like a good place to get to meet the city’s digital community. The atmosphere was very friendly and I felt like I’d managed to make a number of positive connections.
Following that, I kept coming back and ran a session quite early on, sharing some knowledge I’d learned about using video and social media. I guess my persistence paid off, as I eventually become more involved with running the event, initially by maintaining the online community side of things at

Julian: Originally got the idea for the Social Media Cafe after following a blog by @sizemore who is a screen writer. It was there that I hooked up with Martin. You can see the comments here it didn’t take long
I felt that it was needed because it seemed that there was a lot of cool stuff being done in Manchester but there was no regular event for people to get together and discuss social media and technology at the time. It was then that I met you by coincidence.

Martin: It all started back in autumn 2008 at a time when Twitter was starting to gain a wider audience and new technologies like live video streaming were being experimented with by geeks, bloggers and reporters. I read a blog post by Mike Atherton, AKA Sizemore, about the Tuttle Club in London. This weekly Friday meetup of people involved in social media sounded great and I left a comment saying
that it was exactly the kind of thing I’d want to go to if it happened in Manchester. Julian Tait, who I’d never met, left a similar comment and Mike replied saying that if we wanted it we should build it.
A couple of meetings later, we’d assembled a group of like-minded people to help set up a Manchester Social Media Cafe. Typically for Manchester, we did it our own way. Rather than a Friday morning coffee
event, we chose to hold it in the evening do so that we could attract people whose day jobs wouldn’t allow them time off to hang out with a load of geeks. It’s not so true now but at the time the number of
people making a living from social media in Manchester was minuscule.
When 80 people turned up on the first night we knew we were onto something. It quickly became a focal point for like-minded people across the northwest whether they had a professional or personal interest in social media.

2. Why do you think it has lasted?
Josh: Despite a rapidly developing digital scene, I think the Social Media Cafe has endured because it’s a dynamic and changing event that keeps up with what the community wants it to do. Though there are a few of us who play a co-ordination role, it’s really up to the community as to what they want to hear about each month; every event, we ‘crowdsource’ the agenda which means we’ll always have something of interest to most people, and something that’s usually quite topical. For example, in the run-up to the last election, we had a talk from Openly Local, a project seeking to open up local election data. That spawned a piece of work by Trafford Council to apply those principles across all their data sets, which is something I’m really pleased to be able to point to as a tangible benefit from getting involved in the Social Media Cafe. This month, we have the team behind the Greater Manchester Police’s Twitter experiment, which created headlines all over the world.

Julian: There is a really nice supportive community that has developed around the Social Media Cafe and I think one reason why this has happened is that I think no-one has tried to take ownership of it. It can be what people want to make of it. I think the format of the event has been such that it reflects the diversity of its audience. This has come about through an evolution of its format from panel discussion through to unConference.

3.What’s your highlight from the past two years?
Josh: It’s tough to pick out a highlight, but something that’s stuck in my mind is the crowdsourced video that was made by Social Meida Cafe participants about their memories of Ceefax. A slightly obscure topic perhaps, but there were some great reminders how Teletext changed people’s lives, and the interactive element that was the message boards: one of the early examples of social media.

Julian: Over the last two years the highlights, for me have been some of the more left field presentations. From talks about Emoticons through Mertz Web and Literature. It also has been crucial to starting a number of initiatives such as the regularly attended Social Media Surgeries, Manchester Aggregator as well as being key in helping Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council releasing election data after Chris Taggart spoke at SMC.

Martin: I don’t really have one highlight but what I’m most proud of is how it’s helped all sorts of projects bloom across Manchester, from social media surgeries for businesses to transmedia storytelling projects.
Many more digital community events have sprung up since like we started and it’s great to have been there, helping Manchester’s digital scene develop in our own small way.

4. Has it had any impact on other parts of your life – new job perhaps?
Josh: Getting involved in the Social Media Cafe has been a great way to network with the local digital community, which has given me access to the skills and knowledge of some incredibly talented people. It’s been really useful to know who to call to solve a problem, who might be available for work or who might want to tender for a project that I’m working on. I also feel that the community is a really collaborative one that looks out for each other – and in a climate where jobs are hard to come by, and more people might lose their jobs, I feel that my future prospects are stronger by having been involved. By taking on the online community management aspect of the event, I also feel that I’ve developed new skills that I can market to future employers.

Julian: It has impacted in numerous ways. For a start Littlestar, my company was supporting the Social Media Cafe with equipment and time at the beginning and through it I came to work for FutureEverything. I have also met many people who I now regard as good friends through the Cafe it is after all a very sociable place

Martin: Social Media Cafe really signalled the start of a new chapter in my
life. The network of people I’ve met through it helped me move from a
job that had run its course for me to one directly involved in social
media and digital content. I’m not the only one though, seeing people
go away from talks feeling inspired and trying new things is really

5. What does the future hold for Manchester’s social media cafe – hopes or fears?
Josh: I think the Social Media Cafe has been an incredible catalyst, bringing together Manchester’s digital and creative community in a unique way. Our attendee list is so diverse every month – comms, PR, journalists, developers, designers, techies – and beyond – teachers, lecturers… I could go on. This has meant we’ve spawned some incredible collaboration and spinoff events, like the Social Media Surgeries, Connecting 2.0 Communities; and been involved in bringing people together to start projects like Inside the M60, the MadLab and the Manchester Aggregator.

However, this has meant that we’re competing for space in a slightly more crowded digital sphere! I feel though, that this has presented an opportunity and, over the last 12 months, I’ve been working with Julian and Martin to develop the online network. Social Media Manchester is centred around the Social Media Cafe, but is a place for everyone and anyone interested in social media to get together, collaborate and start new things. It takes the discussions and the collaboration that happen at the event and lets it happen online. We’re coming up to almost a 1,000 members, and I think this just demonstrates what a strong and enduring digital community that we have in Manchester.

Julian: I would hope that more people get involved with the running of the Cafe which I think will happen, the more people involved with the running the more representative and relevant it will be. It does take work to manage it, especially with finding venues and sourcing guest speakers.

Martin: Although social media is far more mainstream than it was two years ago and the novelty factor has gone, the event still draws big numbers each month and I can’t see it dying any time soon. It’s a good starting point for anyone wanting to get involved in the local scene. We might have to tweak the format but from time to time but it’s such a huge area, with lots to debate and explore that there’s sure to be a role for it for a long time to come. The only thing we’d like is more people to volunteer to help run the event. Julian, Josh and I are all
really busy, meaning that some months end up being organised a little more hurriedly than we’d like.

Written by sarahhartley

November 2nd, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Weekend of wonder and cake ahead of the cafe

leave a comment

Good luck to everyone taking part in this afternoon’s Get Fit Run organised by Chi-chi Ekweozor who aims to raise £777,000 for seven charities.

She’s organised the run and photocall as one of the events to raise awareness of her round-the-world fundraising challenge, 7 Wonders in 7 days to raise the money for Sport Relief and 6 other charities: Alzheimer’s Research Trust, Diabetes UK, Open Doors, British Red Cross, Feed the Minds and YoungMinds

Chi-chi has invited anyone taking part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile on Sunday 21 March to join her at Sportcity this afternoon – runners all of experiences are invited, from the regular weekly jogger to the complete beginner so there’s still time to get those trainers on.

“We’ll be doing two warm up exercises and two ‘practice miles’ ahead of the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile on March 21, all within the warm and cosy environment of the 200m indoor running track at Sportcity. It’s the same track used to train Manchester’s budding Olympic athletes.”

Date: Saturday, February 27, 2pm.
Venue: Manchester Regional Arena, Sportcity, Manchester.
Read more about the 7 Wonders in 7 days fundraiser here.

After all that exertion, time for a little cake. There’s a Teawitter (see what they did there) event on Sunday.

“The teawitter party is an excuse for Manchester’s lovers of things tea, cake and twitter related to get together and swap tales, put names to faces and enjoy the best in home made confection!”

Time: February 28, 2010 from 1pm to 5pm
Location: MadLab 36-40 Edge Street

More details and RSVP on the Social Media Manchester ning here.

It’s looking like a very social, media week indeed with an interesting line-up at the monthly Social Media Cafe on Tuesday which, I hear, will include some exciting blogging news.

Time: March 2, 2010 from 6pm to 9pm
Location: The Northern, Tib Street.

See you there.

Written by sarahhartley

February 27th, 2010 at 10:09 am

Data, charity, eggs and geekery: Social Media Cafe returns


The first proper Social Media Cafe of 2010 was back to form and the usual mix of good natured meet-up, debate, preview – and this time with the addition of egg!

Back at the BBC Club it was a good turnout with a wealth of interesting sessions. The biggest debate of the evening – which subsequently spilled out to the pub and tweets, and is sure to continue into the blog posts – was prompted by Julian Tait’s presentation about work to make Manchester an Open Data city.

Social media co-founder Julian gave us all a trot through some of the initiatives happening in this area including the Govenment’s OpenData initiative, mashups of data such as Mapumental and Urban Eco Map.

In his FutureEverything capacity, Julian makes the case for Manchester to be at the fore of the campaign for opening up data in everything from the town hall to the transport system.

Forward-thinking certainly, but could it be a step too far for some? Reasonable concerns about individual privacy aside, questions about the ability for individuals or groups to make meaningful conclusions about the data, or whether it could be used in a way that’s harmful to the local population, soon appear on the horizon when this topic is discussed.

House prices, health services, tax issues – all areas of life where interpretation of data by bodies looking to charge more, or reduce services, could easily lead to cases being made by manipulative interpretation of such data.

It’s too simplistic to see the debate in two separate camps – all the points made are valid ones – but in weighing it up, for me this issue comes down to who holds that data. If councils did want to re-shape their charging for say, waste collections, at the moment they would be the only people with the data. Surely the free data lobby isn’t asking for anything more than equal access to stuff that’s already there?

As David Bird so succinctly tweeted: “The data is innocent, it’s the mining that makes it guilty.”

Anyone looking for more information on this topic can also follow the national campaign to ‘free data’ on The Guardian’s blog.

* The other session I took part in was Chi-Chi’s update on her ambitious fundraiser 7 Wonders in 7 Days.

The scale and scope of this venture makes it exhausting to even hear about. In brief, it will involve raising £770,000 in charity cash over 10 months in a trip of a lifetime.

It’s always interesting to see Chi-Chi present her ideas – not least because of the way the audience is consulted and encouraged to input into her schemes. I hadn’t realised before that one of the inspirations for her trip had come from the TwitchHiker which took place across Twitter last year and has obviously provided some valuable lessons.

Chi-Chi has posted more about her session here.

* Because it isn’t possible to attend all the sessions at Social Media Cafe with full attention, I missed out on Adrian Slatcher’s look at the annoyingly over-hyped iPad and another fundraiser for Manchester which looks worth further investigation – Shine 2010 as well as a talk about the Digital Economy Bill by Yuwei Lin and news of this year’s Twestival.

And finally, as they say……… yes, that egg. A subject destined to appear on my other blog, perhaps.

The Mancheser Egg – pickled, wrapped in sausage meat and black pudding before being deep-fried in a Warburton’s crust. In the best traditions of journalism, I made my excuses and left it…..

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

More January digital dates

leave a comment

A couple more events for people of a digital bent have come in since I posted three social media dates for January.

I’ve updated the original post, to keep them all together for ease of browsing.

If you’ve any more……..please feel free to post below the others.

Written by sarahhartley

January 6th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Three, no five, dates for January’s digital diary


Updated: January 6.

With Manchester being such a bustling hub of activity, there’s sure to be more coming along but here’s three five events for social media fans to kick off 2010.

1. First up, this Tuesday, is a low key version of Social Media Cafe to ease into the new year.
January 5, 2010 from 6:30pm to 9pm
Location: The Britons Protection,
Organised By: Social Media Cafe Manchester
Event Description:
This Month’s SMC is on Tuesday 5th January and is a meetup at The Britons Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester M1 5LE .
As it’s just after the holidays it should be a relaxed and low-key affair. Join us at 6.30pm for some post Xmas social goodness.
See more details and RSVP on Social Media Manchester Ning:

2. Then the following week, the fledgling Social Media Surgery gets underway for the second time and features special guest Lisa Tse of Sweet Mandarin who will be sharing her experience of using Twitter in the restaurant business.
January 12, 2010 from 2pm to 4pm
Innospace, Manchester
Chorlton Street
Website or Map:
Event Type:
social, media, surgery
Organised By:
Chi-chi Ekweozor
Once again, check the Social Media Manchester Ning for the latest information on this event.

3. Next day, Manchester WordPress Users Group January meeting.
Time: Wednesday 13th at 7pm.
Venue: Manchester Digital Laboratory. Manchester Digital Laboratory aka Mad Lab, 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester in the Northern Quarter.

4. A new event for the city and one which looks like an interesting development when MySociety and the Democracy Club roll into town the Wednesay after.
January 20 from 7.30 pm
Location: The Britons Protection.
Street: Bridgewater Street
City/Town: Manchester
Website or Map:The Britons Protection.
Event Type: social, media, surgery
Organised By: Democracy Club

There’s more detail about this event at the Manchester posterous site.

5. Another 1st for the city the week after -  Manchester NetSquared / Net Tuesday meetup. The organisers say; “Net Tuesdays are free monthly gatherings for social changemakers and web innovators to network, socialise and share ideas about how nonprofits and social benefit organisations can use the social web for social change.”

Time: Tuesday, January 26th from 6.30pm.
Location: Manchester Digital Laboratory (MadLab).
Organised by: Manchester Net Squared.

If you’re organising an event in Manchester which is likely to appeal to social media types, please feel free to add details via the comments below.

2009: A year of turmoil for Manchester media

leave a comment

Community reporters at work in Salford in 2009

There can be no doubt that 2009 has been a year of turmoil with plenty of surprises, some shocks – and a few treats as well – for media folk in Manchester.

As we bid it farewell and look forward to 2010, I’vestarted putting together this timeline with some of the events which came across my radar during the past 12 months.

TIMELINE. 2009: Manchester Media

Perhaps predictably for me, the comings and goings at MEN Media as well as the ongoing emergence of the Media City with all the hopes the BBC move brings for the city, have been constant themes running throughout the year.

But there’s also been the ongoing successes of digital media fixtures such as the Big Chip in its 11th year and the Manchester Blog Awards in its fourth year, as well as relative newcomers Social Media Cafe Manchester marking its first anniversary.

It’s not as detailed in some months as I’d like it to be (mainly because I’ve worked away from the city at points during the year) but it’s an attempt to keep a record for the future, so, if you’ve got anything to add, please drop me a link to include.

And here’s to 2010!

Written by sarahhartley

December 28th, 2009 at 7:58 pm

What impact has social media had? I asked……


At various locations in recent months I’ve been stalking online experts with my trusty Flip and asking them one question: How has social media impacted on The Media?

And here, in this short video, is what they said. Many thanks to Mercedes Bunz, Christian Payne, John Popham, Laura Oliver and Paul Bradshaw.


Written by sarahhartley

December 16th, 2009 at 10:17 pm