Monday, 23 November 2009

Brrism 4 - the one with the daemons

Everybody brought along a daemon to last week's Brrism event. There was a snow leopard, lions, bears, mice and even a giant panda. The daemons were of the Philip Pulman/Golden Compass variety and they were all part of the Brrism icebreaker.

We'd experimented with an icebreaker at Brrism3, and now with the experience of Brrism4 under our belts, the icebreaker is here to stay. Icebreakers are a wonderful technique to use and, in the Brrism context, they seem to: Increase energy levels in the room, encourage people to open up and start talking to each other (an effect that persists long after the icebreaker finishes) and, from what I saw, foster a sense of community. Which, after all, is what Brrism is all about. And they're good fun too!

Social media is more about people than it is technology and so this post is mainly about people. Peter Tecks (Giant Panda) turned up to the meeting with more cameras and re-chargable batteries than you could shake a stick at and his photostream can be seen here. (Videos will be online soon and we'll also post the photos to facebook.) Ady Harold (Roe Deer) was "twitter scribe" and broadcast #Brrism tweets from her twitter account. Sam Downie (Snow Leopard), webcast the entire proceedings from his Mac and, much to my amazement, a few people watched the webcast from home! Karl Louden facilitated a Brrism Branding session which has started off a conversation about what we want Brrism to be (in terms of mood, brand values etc). More from Karl later. We also had some lovely catering for the event but on that topic I'm sworn to secrecy! The only thing I can say is the caramel shortbread was superb...

We actually had some serious discussion about social media too. The theme of the meeting was Social Media Machinery. The problem with "social media" is that it is a collection of disparate tools and they all need to be connected in order to achieve some overall aim. The interesting thing is that this particular "machine" consists of people as well as technology. (William S. Burroughs called this part the "soft machine".) The cogs and levers not only consist of Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc but also consist of individuals, groups, process and, strangely enough, games. Hence the daemons.

The overall turnout wasn't as good as usual and I think that may have been due to a last minute date change. There were also a few people who were off sick (including one who's still suffering from the lurgy even as I write). But despite that, virtually everyone at the meeting piled over to the Watershed for Apres Brrism. Which makes me think that Brrism has turned the corner in terms of being here to stay. Social Media is alive and well in Bristol!
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