Category Archives: social media tart

Social Media Café

RFH Cafe SocietyI just want first to distinguish this from the events that Chris has facilitated through Social Media Club. I am involved with Social Media Club in London, and what I’m talking about might well be a place to host Social Media Club (or even Social Media Cafés!) and I love both concepts – but neither are what I want to talk about here – I’m talking about a place, not an event.

Phew! Perhaps I’d better start again…

This comes from a number of conversations I’ve had with people in London about having a place to meet, hook up, get groups together, socialise, train people, co-work etc. I blogged about something in a slightly different context about 3 years ago and the idea has been frothing in my head for a long time. I’m thinking of a confluence of the creative, tech and entrepreneurial tribes who are currently gathering around social media and online social networking. I’m talking about the kinds of people who are regulars at Coffee Mornings, Open Coffee, Social Media Club, Chinwag Live.

So far it’s as concrete and as fluid as this:

We (whoever we are – the united socialmediatistas of hereabouts) acquire a space that we can use for the above-mentioned types of activities. It might be laid out as follows (though do not get hung up about physical orientation, upstairs/downstairs front/back doesn’t matter as much as the ideas of separate spaces for different activities).

Ground floor is open to the public, a café style space with good coffee, tea, snacks, fussball, space invaders and the like – maybe the odd plate of eggs bacon chips and beans. Plasma screen shows a rolling twitter timeline from all our mates. An alternative to constantly having to find somewhere to meet up and have coffee and a place where people love you using the wifi.

First floor (don’t get hung up on the physical orientation, just a separate space) is for members & guests. Not a posh exclusive (male) type of private members club (you know where I mean), but something softer, gentler, more suited to creative & geeky types than just to the thrusting entrepreneur. Facilities are flexible meeting rooms, desks and co-working spaces and more exclusive lounging, chatting space with coffee & tea. It’s a bit quieter up here.

Second floor (again really just another separate space) is for media production – podcasting & video-blogging equipment for hire – soundproofed studios, maybe some helpful techies to guide the uninitiated.

Questions:

Why? Why not take an existing institution and warp it into what we want? Now that we are, just, starting to see that there’s a group of us interested in the same things, I think it would be good to have a place of our own.

When? I may be biased by the number of people I mix with who don’t keep normal office hours but I think this is an all-day & evening thing, though possibly not at weekends?

Where? London, I’m pretty certain, but where is our spiritual home? Soho, Shoreditch, South Bank? Somewhere that doesn’t start with ‘S’?

Who? Who will come, who will be members, who will use which facilities? I’m starting a group in Facebook to guage interest and carry the conversation forward. Also what kinds of people do we need to make it happen – property development, deal-makers, investors, staff as well as potential members and customers.

What? Salons, open spaces, meeting (verb), meetings (noun), training, improvising, podcasting, eating, talking, working, collaborating, farting about, other activities with no predefined or explicit purpose, interesting pursuits. What else?

How? Yes.

More questions please – and answers if you have them.

[UPDATE: If you want to help, there’s now a wiki for you to scribble on and a Facebook group to join.]

Social Media in the NHS

june07 120One of my current projects is for the newly re-organised Primary Care Trust in Surrey. They are looking at how they can use social media to engage better with local people through the web, as a complement to their other media activities.

I’ve started a blog with a flickr account and video storage on blip.tv and so far published some short pieces on activities around National Falls Awareness Day last month.

It’s still very early days, but I’m interested in your thoughts on this. We’ve started off doing things the way that the Trust knows how to do things – that is, get your journalist/photographer to go along to an event and report on it. I’m honestly not sure whether this is playing it too safe, or if trying to do something more radical would be too much too soon.

I’m aware that the stuff that’s up at the moment is quite provider-focused. I’m putting together more that gives the service-user/patient voice but I think I’m too close to it at the moment to know whether these are truly interesting or not so if I’m missing anything that you think is obvious do let me know.

Toshiba Tecra A8

Well Euan didn’t want one, but I’m not so fussy :) she stayed with me for a week and I’ve just handed the A8 over to a DHL man to carefully take back to the Toshiba marketing folk.

Let me first be clear about the basis on which I took part. I wasn’t paid anything for this, I just got a loan of a new laptop for a week. Toshiba covered the cost of couriering the machine to and from me.

I gave up being nerdy and spec-obsessed a long time ago (well the spec-obsessed part anyway) so I can’t reel off lots of geek-speak about it, and my current laptop is a Tosh Satellite, so that was my main point of comparison. A week really isn’t very long to try it out. I was working hard when it arrived so didn’t have time to play until a few days in. I wish though that I’d taken the time because actually it was so much faster than my Satellite that I could have got things done much more quickly….

The speed comes courtesy of a dual core processor, 1GB of RAM and a 95GB hard drive. Weight-wise, it was like all laptops – heavier than you want it to be. It was wide enough to fit in my social media empire bag but only just and made getting other kit in and out tricky. But the screen did feel pleasantly wide.

It worked fine with everything I do (though for a 1 week trial it was a bore to have to download and install my staples of Firefox, Audacity, SonicStage, The Gimp & Core FTP), and far faster than any of the other machines I have to hand – in fact I was gobsmacked by how quickly video got processed. But without experience of other similarly-specced machines, I can’t say for certain whether this is the *best* choice of dual core/1GB/95GB option.

This really isn’t about this machine, it’s about me. I hanker for something prettier and more out-of-the-box functional and useful for what I do, or else a big change from my usual environment. If I’d had longer, I’d have tried installing Ubuntu – that might have made for a more interesting review, but it might also have ruined my all of my personal and business relationships while I sat engrossed in tweaking device drivers.

GSA Class of ’87 20-year Reunion

My old friends from the Guildford School of Acting got together in the Union Club in Greek Street (thanks Paul!) to compare grey hairs, pot-bellies and war-stories from our marriages, divorces and other relationships. We were also honoured by the appearance of our former principal Michael Gaunt and head of first year Ian Ricketts. We had a fabulous time, which stretched into the evening when we stumbled over the road into the nearest pub.

I shot some bits of video especially for those luvvies who weren’t able to make it – I hope these give a flavour of what it was like and give you even more encouragement to come along next time.

Angus Deuchar

Paul Spyker

A bunch of folk starting with Ian Tolmie

Another bunch of folk starting with Darren Ruston

Lucy Davidson

Ian Butler

Adam Tedder (and me)

Hallam Foe Screening Pics

june07 068I made a set of pictures I took at the second Hallam Foe screening.

Observations:

1. Looking at Jamie & Sophia in these pictures really shows you how much they were acting their socks off. Just at a physical level, for example, in the film, it is quite clear that she’s an older woman, but here they look about the same age.

2. I need a new camera, this one is fine for whipping out and taking shots of London’s rubbish, but it can’t cope with the conditions and so some of these were too crap to post. All round I’m getting a bit tired of using shit equipment. Please Father Midsummer, can I have a new MacBook, a 3-chip videocam with flash memory not tape & a Digital SLR?

3. Having said that, the grainy quality of some of them reminds me a) (nostalgically) of prints from a 110 instamatic and b) the rougher cut of the film we saw before.

Update: I see that the movie is to be shown on the opening night of the Edinburgh Festival – kewl!

Head down

Want to blog today but no can do as the Perfect Path editing suite is at capacity working on the rest of the videos from Second Chance Tuesday and a top-secret super hush-hush and really quite evil thing which may or may not be related to this.

Very nice Social Media Club meetup last night, not least because I met Rupert Howe, who rocks.

Prolly see you after the weekend.