social media surgeries

A social media surgery is an informal gathering of people who want to learn how to use the web to communicate, campaign or collaborate. They are for people from voluntary and community groups, local charities, clubs, societies, social enterprises and active citizens.

Surgeries are deliberately relaxed. There are no presentations, no jargon, and they are not a training session. They are much better than that!

At a social media surgery you will sit next to someone who understands good ways to use the internet, someone who will listen to what you do, and then show you free, useful tools. If you like what you see they can also help you set up your blog, Facebook page, Twitter account or whatever you want to start.

In 2016 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.

We do all this without any funding – just a bit of goodwill…

Between April 2011 and December 2015, 46 Social Media Surgery sessions took place in Dudley borough.

22 people have offered to share their know-how and experience.

252 individuals from a huge array of local community groups, sports clubs, charities, faith groups and social enterprises have registered to receive help. Their groups and organisations in turn work with older people, foster carers, ‘dis’abled people, children and young people, people living in challenging circumstances, people with learning difficulties and more. Many of them now use social media to be better informed, to share news about their services and activities, and to connect with the people who benefit from them. Some bring whole teams to a social media surgery.

Our social media surgeries take place in Dudley, Stourbridge and Halesowen. We are grateful to local coffee shop and hotel owners for hosting Social Media Surgeries for free in their lovely spaces (Martin at Cafe Grande, Sean at the Talbot Hotel, Harriet at Coffee Collective and Julie at Coffee Cups).

Find upcoming dates and register

Regular surgeries mean that people can  keep coming back for help if they want to, and even return to help others.

It’s simple to run social media surgeries (and that is a good thing)

Anyone can start a social media surgery, there is even a free website which can help you promote and run your surgery.

The surgeries in Dudley borough stick to Nick Booth‘s 4 essential ingredients in his recipe which calls for simplicity and being there.

  1. A free room with wifi and a cuppa: The surgeries in Dudley borough are possible thanks to Cafe Grande, the Talbot Hotel and the Secret Coffee Club hosting surgeries for free. People who come along can then buy a lovely cuppa and even cake, which makes the whole thing much more friendly.
  2. A surgery manager: We have three – which helps when people are busy. Mel, Odilia and Lorna are the people who choose a time and date and check with venue that it’s ok with them.  On the day they welcome people, introduce them and make sure everyone is ok. At the end of the session they ask people how they were helped.
  3. At least one surgeon and hopefully at least one person from a local community and voluntary group who wants some help! A surgeon is someone who knows enough about using social media to help someone else. Some surgeons have spent years understanding the internet. Others started learning a few months ago but want to share what they know with other community groups and active citizens.Social media surgeries wouldn’t take place were it not for these brilliant people – and the secret is that it’s actually great fun to be a surgeon and help others – if you fancy trying it then why not sign up to help at a future surgery?
  4. Zero expectations: As Nick Booth says, high hopes can kill enthusiasm. Expect nothing and be delighted by what does happen.

Feedback from people who’ve come along

Here’s some of the feedback from people who came along to social media surgeries in Dudley borough.

“Nick helped me to experience a social media surgery – it is a different way to traditional training. It’s good to get individualised support that is tailored to our level of understanding and the needs of our organisation. This will give us more confidence to use social media, as trustees of an organisation it feels like a massive door opening to us and the possibilities are endless and will help our organisation to move forward in a positive way!”
Nicki Spencer, Home-Start Dudley, February 2015

“Coming along to this social media surgery has given me a better understanding of the basics of twitter and how to navigate it. Becky has shown me how to do things, which has been really useful, I feel more confident now and I can go away and do that.”
Mark Evans, Dudley MIND, October 2015

“Eileen helped me to set up my first social media account, for the Dudley Group Macular Society. I sent my first tweet and found some people and organisations to follow. I tweeted head office!”
Linda Ellis, Dudley Group Macular Society, June 2015

“Deepak helped me to set up a twitter account for Community Transport, and go through the uses of twitter. He showed me Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, which I wasn’t aware of at all. I knew the word blog but don’t know what it was or what it meant. Deepak showed me Blogger and WordPress.”
John Sanders, Community Transport, November 2015

I love the fact that Social Media Surgeries can be one to one rather than listening to a seminar. This is more helpful to my particular area of need, so rather than receiving general information I have received tips on how my individual charity can be supported.
Karen Phillips, March 2013

“Becky helped me to understand what I can do to get more out of Facebook. I’m really pleased because now I feel more confident I can actually have a go. My biggest worry was the fear of something going wrong or losing information. We’ve talked about using YouTube to share videos of people painting pottery in our charity’s coffee and craft shop”
ILoraine Hadfield, Camphill Village Trust, June 2015

“Lorna helped me with practical ideas of people and organisations to check out and things to try that we hadn’t already heard of before, e.g. connecting with Uprising, look at the Dudley Community Information Directory. Also encouraging our youth members to become social reporters!”
Hannah Westwood, Ignite Youth, June 2015

Melissa Guest helping Ryan Clee, sitting at a table with a laptop in the Talbot Hotel

Mel helping Ryan at Stourbridge social media surgery



  1. Jim White · July 29, 2013

    Great way to learn at own speed from people who use multi Media every Day and they make it so easy- and the coffee’s great too

  2. Lorna Prescott · July 29, 2013

    Thanks Jim, great to hear that you find the surgeries useful, and enjoy the coffee!

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