photo of hot chocolate with #bostincamp written in chocolate sauce on the froth

photo credit: Joy Clarke (@joysuzannexo)

BostinCamp is an occasional get-together for public sector, voluntary sector, and social media people to drink tea, eat cake, make plans and do stuff. BostinCamp is Dudley’s answer to BrewCamp. Upcoming sessions are listed on Eventbrite.

BostinCamp launched on Wednesday 7 August 2013 in Brierley Hill. 29 people attended the launch event in person, and a further 11 joined the discussions on twitter. We heard about the development of online communications for a local carers charity, and Dudley CCG’s Head of Communications shared experiences of social media use in the NHS. A summary of the  event is here, and there is a Storify archive of all the tweet and pictures

The second gathering was on Tuesday 5 November 2013 when we heard from Tim Sunter (@Brierly_Hill) about citizen tweeting, and local politician Cllr Pete Lowe (@CllrPete) who talked about what it’s like for a politician using social media. In addition Eileen Fieldling from Dudley Volunteer Centre (@DudleyVols) shared her boundless enthusiasm for social media one year in to her journey. The twitter conversation from this session is archived in Storify.

In February 2014 Bostincamp popped up again! Deepak Rana from Dudley Libraries service (@dudleylibraries) talked about how our libraries are using social media, including their twitter reading group, a brilliant idea which offers a completely different way to get people reading and talking about books. Andy Mabbett (@pigsonthewing) who gave us a gentle and fascinating introduction to Wikimedia Commons and open licences. And Ian Macaulay, Safe and Sound Dudley Volunteer Award winner in 2013 talked about the challenges and successes of using Facebook to share information and bring people together on the small estate where he lives in Brierley Hill. Once again there is a Storify archive of tweets from this gathering.

BostinCamp returned in October 2015 We heard from Alison Sayer, the Chief Executive of Halas Homes. Alison has learned by doing when it comes to social media, and developed some really engaging and effective tactics. She talked about things that have happened as a result of connecting with people through social media, and how using social media has helped the culture of her organisation. Joy Boyes from the Office of Public Health shared her experience of using social media for public health campaigns and social marketing projects and also shared lots of top tips on social media tools to try out. There’s a blog post about the session here and a Storify archive of all the tweets.

If you’re still wondering what Bostincamp is all about, here are some edited extracts from Dan Slee’s great explanation of Brewcamp.

Why is it a good idea?
  • Because tea and cake are good.
  • Because as training budgets vanish the informal offers a good alternative.
  • Because it’s a chance to meet like minded people.
  • Because some good work is being done by people who are just innovating.
  • Because anyone can go.
How does it work?
  • We have a budget of zero – which is why we use local coffee shops or cafes to meet in.
  • People let us know they are coming by registering on Eventbrite.
  • On the evening people arrive to a warm welcome, are introduced to a few folk and have the opportunity to buy a yummy cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate and a slice of cake.
  • We arrange three topics to talk about, with three people lined up to share their good ideas, a story or a problem they want help with. We’ll gather round so we can see each other and spend about 30 minutes on each topic, there won’t be any powerpoint – all informal with plenty of space for questions and debate.
Can I get involved?

Yes! Help is welcomed from anyone interested in hosting, promoting and/or sharing a short talk at a future gathering.

We keep the organising very simple: a few emails to get people lined up to contribute, updating the Eventbrite page, sharing the link through social media and then simply making people feel welcome and comfortable on the evening. Contact Lorna if you’d like to get involved in any way (tweet @dosticen, call/message 07501 722255, email


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