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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.
Do you know any PR people who know that social media is important and want to get up to speed, but don’t quite know where to start?
I went to the last Chinwag Live called PR Unspun (podcast here) and could see an opportunity for talking in more detail to PR folk about how to move from relating well to the press or the public to relating well to people like me (and you probably), bloggers. Now I won’t suggest we call it BR, as that brings to mind curled sandwiches, cold damp carriages smelling of something awful and “We’re getting there” (oh no you’re not!) but Better Blogger Relations seems to work with people, so I designed a half-day workshop.
I shall introduce people to the basics and then cover:
- Finding people who are talking about your clients.
- Monitoring online conversations methodically.
- Engaging with an online community.
- How to be interesting to bloggers.
I’m just setting up the first one on Friday week (25th May). As I’ve got it down to a choice of two venues and am just clearing up the details, I thought I’d put tickets on sale through eventbrite anyway – it’s £95+VAT and limited to 12 places. Please do point your favourite, but as yet clue-deprived PR people to the booking page or buy a ticket yourself.
UPDATE: Venue confirmed, it’s: CCT Venues Barbican, Aldersgate House, 135-137 Aldersgate St, London EC1A 4JA