Connecting local business and community

tweetup logo with twitter birdStourbridge Tweetup (StourTweetup for short) is a free monthly social event held at Moochers Jailhouse in Stourbridge.

I recently met Phil Fellows, the driving force behind the events to find out more about what happens at StourTweetup and what it was that motivated him to organise Tweetups in his own time.

Phil is the Managing Director of Swinford Graphics and works hard to promote and connect local businesses in Stourbridge through a ‘best of’ franchise, the Best of Stourbridge. Phil explained to me that he wanted to do something that was for everyone, and that was different to the usual networking offer for businesses. He also wanted to create a platform for local charities and community groups to raise their profile and a little funding.

photo of Phil FellowsPhil wanted to create something which would bring together members of the community in and around Stourbridge, local business owners, business leaders, action groups, clubs, and organisations. He heard about tweetups from a colleague, and liked the idea.

A tweetup (twitter meetup) is a face-to-face meeting of Twitter users. As explained by hashtags.org, a tweetup involves the physical presence of twitter users and may be held anywhere, from coffee shops, to hotel lobbies, to restaurants. Attendees generally have not met in person and do not actually know each other, but have already been acquainted online through the various groups or lists they follow. A tweetup may be organised around a particular subject, or may be arranged just to socialise, make friends and establish contacts.

Phil is an active twitter user, but knew that not everyone involved in businesses and local groups in Stourbridge uses twitter. So he developed the StourTweetup website and promotes the events on Facebook as well as twitter, and of course face-to-face.

It is free to attend StourTweetup events, and they are informal, relaxed opportunities to build relationships with people who run or work for local businesses and people involved in local charities and community groups. You can arrive from 6.30pm, and come and go as you wish during the evening. A guest speaker from a local charity or community group usually takes to the stage around 8pm, with more networking afterwards. Raffle tickets are sold (for £5) and all the money raised goes to different charities or community groups in and around Stourbridge, often whoever it is that has spoken at the event that evening. Since StourTweetup launched this June Mary Steven Hospice (@MSHospice), Tidy Stourbridge (@TidyStourbridge) and GigCaritas (@GigCaritas) have had the opportunity to tell people about their work, and benefit from raffle takings.

A Tweetup is coming up!

This month’s StourTweetup takes place on Wednesday 18 September, with the guest speaker from Dudley Stroke Association. You can book your place here and follow on twitter: @StourTweetup If you don’t know anyone when you arrive, look out for Phil (pictured above) and he will give you a warm welcome and introduce you to a few people.

What’s this all about then?

Have you noticed it?

People from community groups and voluntary organisations across Dudley borough using twitter, Facebook and blogs more. Connecting with others that have similar interests, sharing news in neighbourhoods…

Officers who work in Dudley Council tweeting in their own time about work stuff!
Dudley Libraries doing the great things that they do on twitter, including starting a twitter reading group (#readindudley)…

Dudley Local Policing Unit and Neighbourhood Teams being as brilliant as the whole of West Midlands Police is at communicating using social media. It’s part of their job. Even our Chief Superintendent Stuart Johnson will tell you how useful he finds twitter! …

Health and Social Care officers using social media in new ways. I’m thinking here of all the great things Dudley CCG are doing, and Healthwatch Dudley and Making it Real

People in Stourbridge launching a tweetup

Citizens using social media to report in real time from meetings in which people are having discussions and making decisions which affect communities (for example Tim from Brierley Hill Blog)…

women looking at digital tablet

Stourbridge social media surgery

As I’ve said in the about page of this site – something has shifted in the last year or so. Where I previously looked to (and frequently physically went to) Birmingham for great social media based networking related to my work I am now overwhelmed and incredibly excited about all the good stuff  originating from people who live, work and/or volunteer in Dudley borough. This site is a place to bring together and celebrate all these good things.

My aim is to post at least weekly to highlight what’s coming up, share stories from things that have happened and share thinking, reflections and practical stuff in relation to our uses of social media to make things even better in Dudley borough. Please do add your ideas of what should be shared here.

My first question to you is: do you know anyone who lives, works and/or volunteers in Dudley borough who is a social media star for you? Let me know:

  • who they are
  • where we can find them online
  • and why they are a social media star for you

From this a social media stars page on this site will be born!