This week I’ve been networking more in the physical rather than online world, though with some interesting dalliances in-between where online networks facilitate “third city” interaction in the real world. With three networking events in one week in Nottingham, it really does seem like the digital and creative scene in Nottingham is starting to emerge splenderous from its slumbering cocoon – these are exciting times!
Nott Tuesday 10-02-09
Tuesday saw the inaugural launch of Nott Tuesday, a new network for Nottingham’s high tech professionals which saw a packed room of about 50 IT and digital types (90 percent male) descend on The Cape bar for a structured evening of presentation and networking. I think I tracked this down from looking at new groups my LinkedIn contacts had joined that week.
Enthusiastically established and curated by Adam from Essendex, the speaker was Ewan McLeod from Mobile Industry Review who gave a fascinating talk on how blogging and social network grew his business. From his frustration trying to promote a previous business offering SMS to screen display to New Media Age, the main press of the time, Ewan started a blog on SMS news using the simple and classic blogging technique of signing up to Google Alerts and a £5 month Typepad account, aggregating content in a simple 10-minute-a-day round-up.
Within weeks he was the top ranking site for the search term ‘SMS news’ and soon he had an audience, which with hundreds of thousands of page views rapidly exceeded the 10,000 readership of New Media Age. When he started excerting his extreme opinion on Vodafone (in a hand shaking ‘dare I press publish?’ move) he realised he had an opinion people wanted to here, which echoes my own blogging experiences of gaining more reaction to opinion than reportage. With web 2.0 forms of publishing, you can become the press as easily as you can try and chase the tails of them.
Today, Ewan dam used the example of attracting the attention of the Government’s Minister for Information through using Twitter Search to find tweets relevant to his expertise, and responding in Twitter’s unique 140 character format to the Minister’s “Google, good or evil?’ post. Soon they were in dialogue, in a way unimaginable in either a traditional offline, longer-form (like letters or even email) or more formal style of conversion. Adam responded with knowledge and ideas to the Information Minister’s specific need to information right then.
Ewan’s talk was inspiring and made me realise I should utilise Twitter search more for potential sourcing of clients and like-minded.
The crowd at Nott Tuesday was a nice mix of digital start-ups, academics, games people, IT consultants and more and I feel really inspired by the possibilities of the new networks and events self-initiating within Nottingham at the moment (which makes my job many times easier!)
AMC/ TigerSpike launch 11-02-09
Way down in that extreme weather beacon of London village, I was invited to an event which celebrated something almost heart-warming in the present financial apocalyptic gloom: the launch of a new London office for Sydney and New York based TigerSpike, whose business has grown exponentially at 1000% per year.
TigerSpike specialise in mobile technologies and commamunications, and have coined the term ‘Personal Media’ - their term to describe person-to-person communications which include talking, phone, social media and web – and a perfect way of defining for the mobile comms solution. Their vision is to become a ‘platform as a service’ like the IBM for Personal Media.
Great thinking and technological innovation come through TigerSpike’s internal Innovation Lab model using a process called RIGOUR (Research, Identify, Generate, Opportunistic, Utilisation, Re-invest) which seems like an exciting formal innovation process to bring to a UK digital technology company. Definitely ones to watch.
Thanks to Xavier Adam from the AMC group for organising a splendid lunch and a very interesting collection of the city’s mobile and digital types there too, and no thanks for a terrible picture of me at the lunch!
Twestival Nottingham 12-02-09
Back in Hood town, Nottingham Twestival was a very different affair; Nottingham came to the Twitter table with late notice to set up a Twestival to join the 200+ other global cities in one simultaneous evening event for charity celebrating those brought together through the social medium of Twitter. The global reports were impressive – the 700 person artsfest of London Twestival looked mighty fun, I was sorry to miss the 200+ attendees of Brum Twestival where many of my Twitter comrades are.
Nottingham was a more modest collection of 20 or so social media freaks – I was suprised at our diversity and motives – several PR, digital media and social media professionals but also several politicians and a few early adopters from other walks of life – and a few virtual participants joining in via ‘Tweets’ on Twitter. If you’re not already sold on the instant connectivity of Twitter, the idea of coming together over a web platform is probably more barking that tweeting , but if you like the serendipity of how communities share knowledge then you just might find it addictive, and if you do I’d urge you to follow me on Twitter here.
I had a range of very different conversations – from using social media for business, to the pitfalls of beer festivals, to Nottingham’s tawdry legacy of Robin Hood. There’s definitely a ‘vibe’ to the ‘share and share alike’ Twitter community that allows conversations between people from different professional and backgrounds to intermingle.
I’ve been warmed lately by the sheer volume of ‘non geeks’ signing up and how conversation are shaping more widely to augment the community. The number of novice Twitterers, even at the Nottingham Twestival, shows we have some way to come as a social media connecting business community to compete with the chaps in Birmingham and beyond – but now is the right time for us to get inter-connected.
In the bar we had a screen displaying Twitter feeds from our own event, alongside posts from the rest of the Twestivals. The beauty of Twitter is that you can easily aggregate information by tagging your posts with terms like #nottstwestival. Here’s a lowdown of most of our collective conversations via Twitter, and you can follow some recap on action at the NottsTwestival Twitter feed. Thanks to Martin for splendidly organising it all – we did raise £210 for charity (and I won a very bizarre DVD in a raffle that I can only describe as a strange am-dram Biblical version of Alan Bennett which will certainly be making it’s way to a charity shop near you soon. Double donation
Nottingham Creative Business Awards Presentation 16-02-09
And finally, a more formal wine, canapes and presentation do c/o Nottingham Trent University where winners of their 2008 Creative Business Awards presented their wares, with some corporate vid style big-up for the 2009 awards.
Martin Knox talked about how the city is ready to come out of its cocoon and the economy means everything is up for grabs for creatives. That may be true, but I wonder whether the cash-strapped City Council and other private business will fund the awards in 09. I’ve never been one for expensive penguin-suited awards ceremonies being a thorough digital type (the mantra: you get more for less online) but I do see their place in the visual creative industries and anything that openly celebrates the creative scene of the city is good news.
Many award winners werethe successful and predictable – I’m curious about University of Nottingham winning the digital award (Nott’s digerati get it sorted!), although their mad scientist Periodic Table videos on YouTube is, admitedly, quite funky in a “Look around you” way. And Hetain Patel‘s business of the year was a brave step for a one-man performance art canvas.
So despite the financial apocalypse gloom, I do believe the future for Nottingham creative sector is looking pink, if not rosy. And this paves the way for an announcement from me very soon on a new digital project to take Nottingham’s creatives to the next stage of connectivity.