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One of Dave Winer‘s best bits of advice is “zag to their zig” and that’s what I’m trying to do with the Café. Just when it seems that *everyone* in the entire world is getting into online social networking, I want to open a coffee shop and help people meet each other face to face.
There have been suggestions that we use another space to get started. I don’t understand the reasoning for this, so can someone please explain? The space is more important to me (at the moment) than the group. We have loads of ways of meeting up already – I’m talking about meeting the needs of that group in a novel way rather than extending the group, although I’m sure that better facilities will draw new people in.
Thanks everybody for your thoughts on the Communal Vision – do carry it on, but let’s also start talking about how much it will cost.
I’ll be writing on the wiki later but I’ve got to go out now to report on a drop-in centre for young people for the Surrey PCT blog
I 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.
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?
More questions please – and answers if you have them.
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.
From my twitter feed:
howardgr: friday the 13th. now where’s my hockey mask?
Sent at 1:49 PM on Friday
plasticbagUK: It’s conceivable I may kill everyone before this day is out. If you’re sitting near me, now is the time to start getting scared.
Sent at 1:55 PM on Friday
And they look like such nice boys
No I’m not using adwords on this site, but I wanted to share the selection that came up on a ning social network I’ve just set up for SMC London. All there is on the page for reference is my picture and an introductory post from me, and the title with strap “If you get it, share it (in London!)” which still doesn’t quite explain (at least to me) the link to gay bikini wearing chauffeurs with ringworm.
Btw, of course, if you’re interested in joining the network and thereby generating some more relevant advertising, please do get over there and sign up.
The London experiment with weekly media-making meetups continued this evening with another member getting his first taste of videoblogging. Guy West has been a regular at our discussion groups and kindly recorded some audio at one of the meetings.
We sat in the brand new foyer of the British Film Institute/National Film Theatre which only opened last week and chatted about our social use of the internet. I was showing off a bit pointing the camera in my general direction which results in the people standing behind me being beautifully in focus, but my face (some will no doubt say this is a blessing) is a bit blurry.
No Palme D’or for this one, but at least we had some footage – and it wasn’t just of me! I showed Guy how to transfer from the camera to PC and then do some simple editing tasks and then we topped and tailed it with some titles and credits. We’d stood around for long enough, occasionally getting odd stares from the patrons of the Lesbian & Gay film festival that’s currently running there so I didn’t make Guy watch while we uploaded it to YouTube – he knew how to do that bit anyway.Next week the clocks will have gone forward, we’ll be into British Summer Time, and hopefully it will be a bit warmer for our first Blogwalk.
Cross posted from the Social Media Club blog
This is the new Daily Telegraph news room which I had the privilege of seeing at the end of last week. I’d seen the bit on BBC News the other week where some poor Torygraph hack was shown having to make a podcast and video interview in addition to writing a story and complaining that this meant he didn’t have the lunches he’d been used to, but I’d forgotten until I started writing this that ironically for such a bastion of the establishment, the Telegraph was remarkable for being one of the first papers on the web. Nice to meet Shane Richmond & Ian Douglas and interesting to think about the new premises as a possible venue for a Social Media Club.
Tonight we had a 500% increase in the number of attendees and half of the people who came along can be heard in the podcast we made! I met up with Ronna Porter (who’s going to lead our discussion group meeting next week) in the foyer of the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. To show her just how easy making a podcast could be, I set up my gear and she set up the gear that she’d borrowed for the night and off we went. We talked a lot about the use of sound and music in advertising and PR and my views on podcasting. A little way in, we were joined by Lars Plougmann, whose contribution, you’ll hear, was repeatedly interrupted by his three friends ringing him to find out where we were. Sadly there aren’t as many massage parlours in this centre of cultural excellence as Chris, Howard and Debbie found in Las Vegas earlier but then they didn’t have a tango band in the background.
I was the only one who’d any experience of podcasting so I showed everyone how simply the file was transferred to my laptop, edited and put through the compressor in Audacity and then exported to mp3. I wasn’t able to upload it to my podcast server while they watched as the large amounts of concrete in the National kept us disconnected from the ThamesOnline network. Ronna kept her recorder running while we did this latter part so there may be another podcast to follow! There was quite a bit of discussion about discoverability, tagging and allowing users to create the metadata they need, rather than trying to control it as a creator.
So next week we return to the 3rd Thursday discussion group indoors with beers and nibbles format but on 22nd we’ll be out and about again, this time with our video cameras teaching each other about video-blogging – watch the wiki page for details.
cross posted at the social media club blog
Tonight, 8th March, we will be getting together for our 2nd Thursday weekly meetup at 6pm to talk and share practice around podcasting & audioblogging.
I’m suggesting meeting up in the foyer of the National Theatre on the South Bank – we should be able to find somewhere quiet enough to practice recording, but it’s not so quiet and intimate that we will disturb others. I will have my portable recording kit, feel free to bring your own.
Do let me know if you are intending to come, feel free to bring anyone along who might be interested or tell a friend (or indeed your worst enemy) to come along.
Also do let me know if you want me to shut up about bloody social media club.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, see the FAQ on the wiki: http://socialmediaclub.pbwiki.com/Podcasting
See you at six
So, the first weekly Social Media Club meetup – Thursday Night is Social Media Night – was obviously too soon for many people. In fact everyone except me I waited for about 45 minutes and then walked on my own from the John Snow down to Green Park to get on the tube home, taking pictures on the way which are now in the Social Media Club London Group Pool.
I know I’ve taken to calling myself a Social Media Tart, but I didn’t expect that to extend to me standing alone on a street corner outside a pub in Soho, trying to catch the eye of young-ish men who looked like they might have an interest in photo-sharing…
I’m all ready to do it again though. This week we’re going to do some podcasting, somewhere in Central London. Suggestions welcome on the wiki for a venue or location that’s quiet enough to gather and record audio, but not somewhere where we’ll get shhhhed.