Saturday, 24 October 2009

Brrism3 - The one with the Hoedown

I was never a big fan of Friends but the one thing I liked was that they always gave the episodes straightforward titles. Even after all these years you’ll probably remember "The One with Ross's Wedding" or "The One with Joey's Fridge" just because the titles map onto the way that we organize memories in our brains.

The original title for the third episode of Brrism was “Who Are You” but I’m sure it will be remembered as “The One with the Hoedown” judging by the feedback and the blog articles that have been written about it. If you weren’t there you could read Ady’s (from Sticky Media) blog post or Emma’s (from Your Nisaba). The pictures tell their own story. The hoedown generated a huge amount of energy in the room, got everybody got talking and (this is only my impression) improved the sense of community around Brrism.

The Hoedown was the creation of an old friend of mine, Penelope Else, who sweated blood over the format and, ironically, the actual namebadges. All I did was come up with a the name. Thank you very much, Pen, you deserve a round of Twitter applause. (Social Media Experiment: If you enjoyed the hoedown, please tweet with the hashtag #thankspenelope.)

I’d also like to thank Lee Cottier who facilitated the feedback session at the end. I chose Lee to do this not only because he’s a great facilitator but also because I want to stress to people that Brrism is not mine – I’m just the catalyst (if you recall the Starfish and Spider terminology of the first Brrism). The reason why I have had to put so much of me into the event is that groups are a bit like snowballs. You have to push them a long way before they gather enough snow to carry on rolling on their own. But the snowball seems to be picking up pace. People have started to volunteer for Brrism jobs. Not just the sexy ones like volunteering to speak at the next Brrism but also the boring ones. I won’t list all the volunteers here (you’ll get a mention elsewhere) but I’ll pick out Paul Matthews of UWE for a special mention since he has volunteered to bring along the food and drink for the next meeting! You wouldn’t believe how heavy all that beer, nibbles and fruit juice is to carry so I’m totally over the moon.

The results of the feedback session were interesting. Some of you it seems are so interested in social media that you end up boring the pants off your friends/colleagues/partners. I can relate to that and so Brrism is appreciated as a place where we can talk about this interesting new field without fear of stifled yawns or rolled eyes. People also said that they were impressed with the turnout and energy levels. (Yes, I was too!)

From a negative point of view, it seems that Brrism has so many social media channels that attention is diluted, messages get lost and confusion sets in. The group self-solved this problem and we agreed that a Brrism portal (acting as an index to social media channels) is the way forward here and there’ll be another blog post about that soon. There was also talk that the sessions need to have more of a practical element to them. That’s probably true and the reason why the first three Brrisms have had a “high level concept” as their theme has been the result of my experience with the Bristol Knowledge CafĂ© (run by Bristol’s own Ed Mitchell). I think the conceptual approach works for the BKC but future Brrisms will be more practically oriented. Again, watch this space for a future blog article about the future format of Brrism.

Thanks for reading so far and, if you came to the meeting, thanks for your input too. I hope you can come to the next one – it'll be held on November 18th at the Pervasive Media Studio, Bristol.

Post Blog Updates:
Rubber Ductions also wrote a blog post (but there were more people there than their picture suggests!)
We also said at the meeting that we would try an experiment where we would tag our delicious entries with the tag "brrism" if we thought they'd be interesting to other Brrismers.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Who Are You (October's Brrism Meeting)

The persona you project (via social media) dictates the response you'll get. This is hard enough for individuals to get right but its even more difficult for organisations where the "persona" equates to the brand.

The third Brrism meeting takes place at the Pervasive Media Studio on the 21st October. It's meet at 6:30 for 7 PM start and after 2 hours we'll decamp and carry on the conversation over a drink or two at the Watershed. The previous two Brrisms have attracted about 30 people apiece and attendees have ranged from business owners, technical managers, social media newbies and even the local MP.

The meeting will be similar to the first two but with a few minor tweaks. If you attended the last meeting, you'll have received a brief questionnaire and, if you responded, we listened to what you've said. You asked for more mixers/icebreakers/networking opportunities; and you asked for more practicals/how to. We think we've taken this on board and so this is the meeting line up:
  • Who are you? Online identities determine the response we get from the social media "universe". How can we see ourselves as others see us? How can we put across what we think we're putting across? This session will comprise of a very short presentation from @KobB coupled with a group exercise that also acts as an icebreaker and mixer.
  • Twitter Tools. A quick tour of twitter tools and how they can help you.
  • "Ready, Steady, Social Media" - this is a bit like "Ready, Steady, Cook" but involves less food, more social media and a lot more audience participation.
  • Knowledge Cafe - (what's this?) this is an informal networking session where you can form your own groups, talk to who you want, and do your own thing. NEW: Give other people a heads up as to what you want to talk about in the Cafe by adding your name to the wiki page.
Its FREE to attend and there's FREE Wi-Fi at the venue so please bring your laptops. You'll get a lot more out of the Who Are You session if you do, plus we'll be doing an informal demo of Google Wave and, if you have a laptop, you might be able to join in. Laptops are also good because tweeting during the event is positively encouraged. Just remember to use the hashtag #brrism. Or, even simpler, just put brrism in your tweets and they'll pop out here. (Where, if you've signed up for the wiki, you'll find you can use threaded replies.)

You must sign up on EventBrite!!! (We were oversubscribed for the first event.)

Can you help?: I'm looking for people to help with the next Brrism. Here are a list of meeting jobs. Plus, if you know someone who would like to speak at the next Brrism please let me know. Note: speakers are not allowed to use the platform to sell anything.