Posts Tagged ‘Nick Booth’

My people say that when a child goes to the same market often, he is soon able to find his way there with his eyes closed.

Now I can’t say I can find my way around this Social Media market with my eyes closed (yet), but at least I’m not calling Transport for London because I’m lost! (And yes, I have called them for that purpose before but that’s a totally different story)!

So again my class had another event to be at -isn’t it great that we have these opportunities to attend these events- this time at MAC Arts Building.

From the theme of the conference, ‘Social Capital: A New Currency’, I was more curious than I was terrified like the first one I attended Somehow I daresay I looked forward to this one!

First thing I learnt, social media networks are inter woven in such a way that you’ll always see a face you know at any related event (even if it’s just the faces of your classmates)!

So we got there a little late (thanks to the adventure of finding our way there) and only caught the end of Lance Weiler’s interesting session on, ‘Building a Storyworld’. Take away for me? Don’t let the world get in the way of the story, let go of a single point of view, no story is ever cast in stone, I could go on and on and on…..

Next up, Helga Henry did a very insightful presentation on Switchboard and what they are about, traced the origins of Social Capital (which is essentially barter) way back to pre-currency times. I studied Johannes Gutenberg as part of the requirements for a course I did for my first degree; it was good to update my knowledge with some of the things she said.

By the way, Helga runs a blog (and plays Agony Aunt too) here –

There was also a live broadcast of a session by Tommy Pallotta, an award winning film Director. More gist on him?

We took a break here, and I gratefully dug into two croissants (one after the other), shared a high five with @leonieBrueckner for knowing Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus (and thanks to @daveharte for making us read it) and then it was time for the next session.

Moderated by Julia Higginbottom of Aquila, Nicky Getgood and Dave Harte (yay) were on the hot seat discussing their blogs and and the power of storytelling in the community. I learnt that at some point, bloggers have to make the editorial decision (based on personal values) on what and what not to feature on their blogs. Nicky gave an example of the time a youth center/lounge/building (I don’t remember which) caught fire and loads of local press reported it; she didn’t.  A couple months later, the place re-opened for business, and that’s what she based her story on.

I also learnt that you can enrich your blog by using links, audio ( and video feeds; more people will feel comfortable contributing to your blog that way than doing regular interviews for traditional media. Now you can stop wondering why I seem to have so many links with this post!

The fifth and final session had power houses like Nick Booth, Natasha Carlish, and Chris Unitt, and was moderated by Helga Henry. The topic for discussion? Social Capital as Currency. I was blown away by the concept behind the film developed and shot on social capital alone; everything was virtually sourced from social networks!

The concept behind Created in Birmingham is laudable; linking up the interesting arts and culture related activities that happen here, thus becoming one blog among many and playing its part in Birmingham’s online community. If you haven’t already been there,

I also learnt that Social Capital is not a genie you rub the right way and expect miracles; you invest (the typical garbage in garbage out scenario). You can do this by providing needed help to people (not spamming them); examples include and

With that we wrapped up a lovely evening and… (no we didn’t go home), we headed to the bar where the organizers had graciously opened a tab we had drinks on. It was good to sit and talk about the challenges with blogging, how to measure responses, how to keep the interest up even in discussing sober topics on a blog, and other related questions with @nohaatef, @Ianswallow, @negredo, @kazkiely, and @leonieBrueckner. We had a nice chat with @podnosh too and it was refreshing to know that in the spirit of community collaboration, I can explore text messaging as an alternative where twitter and other social media are not easily accessible.

Final word: everyone has social capital; you just need to find out what you can trade.

To start with, I was terrified when I was told my class had to attend the Hyper Local Gov. Camp event, and with good cause too; before then, I had sat through a class where we discussed Marwick’s “I tweet passionately, honestly and truthfully” and I felt a little out of place but let’s leave that alone shall we?.

In discussing that reading, I learnt that people imagine their audiences (whether personal or professional) and that affects their tweets. That however brings up the argument about authenticity using the Soraya Darabi (social media strategist for the New York Times) example because if you study/pre-empt your audience before you tweet, it’s not ‘honest’ anymore.

Again, the discussion convinced me that indeed Social Media could be used to effect changes, mobilize a people/community to do stuff and even reach out to leaders, a board or the government. Examples include the Elle/Rodarte controversy and the Students Union Facebook page gathering students together. But, I digress.

So we get to this event (thank you @natminter for the ride) and after we settled in, @pigsonthewing gave a brief introduction of what the event was all about and how the sessions would be divided. From the board, I picked the sessions in rooms 309, 100, and 312 and I’ll treat them as headings.

309: SOCIAL MEDIA SURGERIES (Nick Booth and Gavin Wray)

This was my best session. Maybe because both facilitators were warm ( whether  you like it or not, it shows), maybe because they clearly explained what a surgery was about and what you can do with one, or maybe because I was hungry for more ways of exploring this big phenomenon called Social Media. If you’re like me, this would be useful.


Forgive me for not knowing any names here, and don’t read any meaning into it too! This was a particularly interesting class because it showed what a government should do (or work towards doing) to qualify as being democratic. The Open Data session also taught bloggers, journalists et al how and where to avail themselves of data and how it not only how makes their work richer, but enables them channel their efforts towards community collaboration in more meaningful ways. Enough said.


Again I didn’t get his name, and truthfully, not much else. For me the class was supposed to tell us how to utilize knowledge gained from sessions one and two, and I didn’t get that (blame me for going there with a pre-set mind set)! I however liked the gaming console the facilitator was developing, something about citizens playing as though they were in fantasy land but actually being real life(almost like the Inception movie, if you’ve seen it)!

One major lesson I took away from it all is this: there are vast opportunities with Social media and regardless of the limitations peculiar to my country, I’m totally intrigued by it and will grasp all I can! Did I mention that the cakes were absolutely lovely, almost sinful? And yes, I’m no longer upset I didn’t do an interview!