5 reasons to come along to BostinCamp on 12 April

BostinCamp returns to DY1 on Tuesday 12 April (you can register to come along on Eventbrite). We’ll be hearing how Dudley’s Business Connector Andy Mullaney is using social media to increase his impact, and learn about Dudley Smart Region Hub and Data Brew, both created by local resident Nathan Coyle.

Here are 5 great reasons to come along, based on experience and what we have lined up.

1. You’ll learn something useful… if not quite a few things

I frequently hear people during and after a BostinCamp session saying “I didn’t know …” I am always pleasantly surprised at how effective 90 minutes of chat over a cuppa and a bit of cake can be for knowledge sharing and learning.

2. You’ll meet lovely people who are involved in interesting things

The most difficult thing to do at BostinCamp is break up the conversations people have started before we kick off and during the comfort break in the middle. Everyone seems to make great connections and enjoy the chance to have a bit of one-to-one time with someone they may have just met for the first time, or perhaps know but don’t often get the opportunity to chat to.

3. You’ll be inspired by someone

I can’t predict how, but it just seems to be something that happens during these sessions. Following our last session at which Alison Sayer from Halas Homes talked about her journey using social media, and Joy Boyes shared her experiences of using social media in Public Health, Jane Clarke got home and sent her first tweet!

4. Andy Mullaney has a great story to share

I couldn’t believe that Andy hadn’t used Twitter before he was seconded last October from Lloyds Bank to Business in the Community to become Dudley’s first ever Business Connector. I can’t wait to hear how he uses social media to help generate a positive impact in education, employment and enterprise in Dudley borough. You can find him on Twitter @DudleyConnector and he’s also blogs regularly on LinkedIn

5. Nathan Coyle is up to really interesting things

I posted a couple of weeks ago about Nathan’s #SmartDudley twitter campaign, and mentioned Dudley Smart Region Hub and Data Brew. I’m fascinated by these innovations Nathan is driving, I think they are the start of some completely new kinds of conversations and activities in Dudley for citizens and local government in relation to use of digital, or civic tech as we might call this sort of thing.

I’d love to hear more reasons if you’ve been along to BostinCamp before – you can pop them below in the reply box. Don’t forget to register places to join us on Tuesday 12 April 6pm-8pm. Hope to see you there.

A shiny new year!

We’re kicking off 2016 with a new look to this blog, guest posts in the pipeline and an idea for a bit of digital fun in Dudley.

I hope you like this new blog theme, you can still find pages which are about this blog, social media surgeries, bostincamp, civic tech and local blogs from the top left menu bars above (the square of thick lines in the top left corner of the image at the top of the page).

So… what’s planned for 2016?

Social Media Surgeries

We’ve got social media surgeries starting again February, we’ll be at Cafe Grande in Dudley on Thursday 11 February from 6pm and back at Coffee Cups in Halesowen on Thursday 10 March from 9.30am. More dates will be added shortly, including sessions in Stourbridge. If you can offer some social media know-how or would like to come along to get some support, just register using the links above.

This year we are also inviting people who have set up the basics to use time at social media surgeries to create content for the web. We can share ideas and tips on storytelling, scheduling posts from different social media platforms and keeping the conversation alive.

BostinCamp

BostinCamp will be back before Easter. Do get in touch if you have something you could share about social media, civic tech or something vaguely related. You’ll have up to 10 minutes to kick start a discussion, no powerpoint, lots of tea and cake. Please also let me know if there is anyone you would like to hear from, and we can ask. Bostincamp is a bit like free training in an informal setting with an emphasis on being sociable. And eating cake.

Digital Playtime

Thanks to one of those post-event conversations in the pub with the amazing Laila Takeh (@spirals) and her colleagues following VCSSCamp in London in November, I’ve been inspired to start something called Digital Playtime in Dudley. It would basically be a regular time for people who work or volunteer in digital communications (and anyone else interested) to get together, play with platforms and tech, and share knowledge on using new tools, devices, accessories etc. If that sounds like something which would help you in your work, please do get in touch. It would be great if a few of us could get together over a coffee to plan this and make it happen. Leave a reply below, or get in touch with me on twitter (@dosticen) or WhatsApp (07501 722255).

Digital Playtime.001


The new header image on this blog of the Andromeda Galaxy (which I’ve slightly cropped) is from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, shared on Flickr with a Creative Commons license. Handy tip: if you are ever looking for images which you can use for free online and in print then Creative Commons Search is a good place to start. (If you can’t see details of a license then you probably don’t have permission to use an image.)

BostinCamp 4

Bostincamp returned to Dudley last night. 14 people from all sorts of different organisations got together to drink tea, eat cake, be inspired and learn from each other. All of the tweets from the session are archived on Storify. Below are some of the the things people shared, which give a flavour of the session.

Photo of Joy Boyes, Nick Booth and Alison Sayer at BostinCamp

Joye Boyes, Nick Booth and Alison Sayer at BostinCamp

First up we heard from Alison Sayer, the Chief Executive of Halas Homes. Based in Halesowen, the charity provides services and accomodation for people with learning disabilities. Alison has learned by doing when it comes to social media, and developed some really engaging and effective tactics in her use of twitter and a blog.

Then we heard from Joy Boyes, who works for the Office of Public Health in Dudley Council and has experience of numerous public health campaigns and social marketing projects in the borough. The numbers of officers and projects in Public Health using social media is on the increase, thanks to Joy’s hard work over the years and also some Lunch and Learn sessions on twitter that she has run – what a brilliant idea!

We even inspired Jane Clarke to gather the courage to post a tweet!

BostinCamp is back!

Photo of Laura Broster and Joy Clarke at BostinCamp in August

Laura Broster and Joy Clarke at BostinCamp in August

If you are interested in social media, local government and voluntary activity why not join us for our second event?

BostinCamp will take place Tuesday 5 November between 5.30 and 7.30pm at the Secret Coffee Club, Pearson Street, Brierley Hill (just off the High Street). Arrive any time from 5pm. There is free parking and wifi at the venue. Register here if you fancy coming along.

BostinCamp is an informal, out of the office chance to learn things, meet people, listen and contribute and make our corner of the world just a little bit of a better place. There is coffee, cake and good conversation, plus the invitation to go for a curry afterwards if you are really enjoying it!

We’ve got three great sessions planned (no death by powerpoint, simply sharing and discussions).

Citizen tweeting: Tim Sunter (@Brierly_Hill) will share his experiences of tweeting live from Community Forums and other events, and the reactions of people around him and online. He also manages a hyperlocal site, Brierley Hill Blog, so perhaps we’ll hear about that too.

From novice to navigator: Eileen Fieldling from Dudley Volunteer Centre (@DudleyVols) will share her boundless enthusiasm for social media one year in to her journey. Expect some stats, some great ideas and probably mentions of our many amazing volunteers in Dudley borough.

Social media, local government and citizen participation: Hear what it’s like for a politician using social media. From his twitter profile perhaps we can expect Cllr Pete Lowe (@CllrPete) to talk about family, politics and football. Hopefully he’ll share what works for him and other councillors who are actively using social media to connect with people.

We’ll be using the Twitter hashtag #bostincamp for the event. 29 people came to our first camp (read about it here). Register here to join us.

Bostin Beginnings

twitter bird logo with speech bubble saying '#tweet on the street @dudleyccg"

from Dudley CCG’s Facebook page

BostinCamp got off to a fantastic start on Wednesday. 29 people from all sorts of organisations with all sorts of roles and interests spent a couple of hours after work discussing and learning about social media use by a charity, by the NHS and by local government.

You can see the line-up from the launch event here, all the tweets and photos from the evening are all archived on Storify here.

In a nutshell, we talked about:

  • Cake (of course!)
  • The link between design (e.g. of promotional posters) and social media as a means of sharing them
  • The importance of saying thank you to people who support what you do
  • Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group‘s blend of listening to local people’s views on healthcare (Feet on the Street) and sharing them through video voxpops and twitter (#tweetonthestreet)
  • Whether GPs should tweet about health issues
  • Why we should trust frontline staff to use social media, and the fact that people trust frontline staff more than CEOs and government officials nowadays (Dan Slee shared a link to this fascinating article which draws on the Edelman Trust Barometer on the brilliant comms2point0 site.
  • Dudley Council being one of 3 local authorities in England involved in a research bid which will

     map and analyse the use of social media by the involved local authorities in order to learn about how this impacts or could impact on the engagement of citizens, including young people.

  • Curry (all good camps lead to a good curry)

CCG FB

There were quite a few useful links shared, and #bostincamp reached far beyond Dudley thanks to those tweeting from the event. All the links and discussions are in the Storify archive.

Thanks to the Secret Coffee Club for hosting BostinCamp, and Marc and Callum for serving us delicious drinks. And thanks to everyone who came along or joined in on twitter – you made the evening truly bostin!

BostinCamp: the launch!

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

photo credit: Joy Clarke (@joysuzannexo)

It’s here!

Hot on the heels of a successful Brewcamp excursion to Dudley we bring you BostinCamp – the launch event!

BostinCamp  mixes cake, tea, coffee, and ideas about social media, public services and voluntary organisations. It’s a chance to learn things, meet people, listen and contribute and make our corner of the world just a little bit of a better place. Anyone can come. It’s free to book, you can do that here.

Our first ever event starts at 5.30pm on Wed 7 August 2013 and runs until 7.00pm

You can grab a coffee from around 5pm and there’s free wifi. There is free parking at the venue. The things we’ll be hearing and talking about:

We’ve got three fantastic women lined up to share some quite different experiences (I did ask a bloke to contribute, but he’s having a lovely long holiday so you’ll have to wait for the next event for that fantastic story).

  • Joy Clarke will share with us what she has been doing to develop online communications for a local charity (@i4cs)
  • Laura Broster will discuss with us ways that she is developing social media use in the NHS for @DudleyCCG
  • Jo Orchard-Webb will share exciting news of a research proposal which Dudley MBC and Dudley CVS are involved in around social media, local government and citizen participation.

Fancy joining us? You can register here – it’s free to come along, drinks and cakes are yummy and reasonably priced. If the conversation is too good to stop we can go on for curry. Don’t forget to tell your friends and colleagues. We’re using #bostincamp on twitter.