Hmmmm, so it’s a couple hours to our We Are What We Tweet event and I don’t know if I’m as nervous as I am excited, or if one of the feelings are balanced.
What I do know, is that, we (Mark, Leonie, Simi, Karen, Noha, and Kevin), have come a long way from that first class on the 8th of February where our tutor Dave Harte said that we were to stage an event that would proffer social media solutions; catch was we had to come up with a theme and an audience (duh) on our own. Deadline (or date for the event)? April, before the Easter break. He gave us a clue though, Eygpt had just happened and would be an interesting topic if we wanted to explore it.
And explore it we will, under the able leading of Ramy Raoof and Noha Atef, who will tell of the role social media tools played (and are still playing) in the Egyptian Revolution, the balance between mainstream media and citizen journalism in reporting the events, amongst other things.
The conference will hit closer home with the other speakers (Dan Mcquillan talking about the linkages between social media innovations and how communities can mix and mash for their own use, and then Tracy Thorne using her work as a contributor to her commmunity blog as a case study to show how we can put dgital media to work in our communities).
Finally there will be panel discussions for even more personal stories of how different social media tools have been put to use in different circumstances which for me will be a great opportunity to explore the diversities people will bring to the table.
It’s been more than seven weeks of meeting at different locations (Urban Coffee Company, Backer Cafe, Kenrick Library, Margret Street, B225, did I miss any place out…), we’ve agreed to disagree to agree, thrown up so many suggestions, worried, laughed, and frowned. We’ve been excited at positive responses, heartbroken at the ‘I’m afraid we cannot help you’ replies, made mistakes (like me asking an office for funding instead of help with publicity), the whole nine yards.
There have been times when we panicked, like when we thought we wouldn’t get people to attend (“if you get 25 guests that’s fine), when we thought we wouldn’t get funding (a big thank you to the MoreOpen Fund and The Birmingham City University School of Media), when we were trying to find an interpreter, sorting out the live stream (yes we’re streaming the event live from our wearewhatwetweet.com website), trying out the Skype connection for the ‘satellite’ presentation, boy we have panicked!
Away from the academic, even though I’ve staged events before (on my own and as part of a team), in these past few weeks I’ve learnt so much about starting events from scratch that I either didn’t know, or didn’t pay a lot of attention to. Little details that whether you like it or not, raise or drop your ratings on the ‘professional or not’ charts.
I’ve learnt the value (or strength) in feedback, letting everyone know where everyone is at, amongst other things so that no one worries unduly, and so that if there are any lapses they can be sorted on time. I’ve learnt diplomacy, your idea will not be accepted every time, regardless of how brilliant you might think it is, best way to deal with that is to focus on the big picture (which is the successful, hitch free outing) and concentrate all your energies there. I’ve learnt writing down even the littlest of tasks. Something as little as making tags for the tea and coffee urns can be forgotten and then you have your guests spilling the drinks on the table because they want to know which is which.
I’ve also learnt that is not enough to just stage an event, it must be relevant to the intended audience or else they won’t show up. There must be a clearly defined ‘take away’ they see that’ll attract them enough to be there. That’s a major reason why we’re not just convening this to tell stories about Egypt and other places, the aim is to show the attendees how the knowledge can be applied to their everyday lives and what better way than opening up the discussion?
I’ve got to go now, because I need to get to printing the things we’ll be needing tomorrow but if I never said this let me say it here, I’m proud of my classmates, and I have enjoyed every single minute of planning this! Let’s have a great time tomorrow!
- What This Week Has Been (fairygodsister.wordpress.com)
- The paradox of Social Media (peakcare.wordpress.com)