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Future of SMC

Page history last edited by JulianTait 14 years, 7 months ago

@foodiesarah blogged earlier about the session on the future of SMC. I'm reproducing my comments here:


Thanks for the round-up as I had to drop out last night. These are all terrific ideas (well, apart from not meeting in a pub – I like a pint with networking!).


Venue: swapping venues is a good idea. Can we get a page going on the wiki to post suggestions? Re the BBC, not only did some of the crowd there participate less, I also had the impression that quite a few signed up purely because it was at the BBC. In other words, they were attracted more to the prestige of the venue than the programme of events.


Timings: 6pm is kick-off but there should definitely be time to mingle, collect your name badge and get a drink before the sessions start properly. Perhaps those who commit to running a session should commit also to arriving at 5.30 along with the SMC set-up team so as to be able to prep any tech stuff that needs setting up and quickly run through things before everyone else arrives. It’s not good to have a session supposedly starting at 6.30 if the presenter is still faffing with a laptop at 7pm (that’s a purely theoretical scenario, btw, not a finger-point).


Purpose/promotion: yes and yes. It’s good to share but we should certainly be sharing beyond ourselves if there is to be any meaning to what we do at SMC. This could be a wonderfully collaborative and creative way to help others who need it and support worthwhile community projects. There are enough journalists, bloggers and marketing/PR people who can help spread the word around Manchester so those in need can turn up to present their cause and ask for the assistance they need. Charity doesn’t always mean opening a wallet.


Buddies: another big yes. I was following the Twitter stream last night and while no newbies expressed outright nerves at turning up, quite a few tweets indicated that first-timers weren’t sure what to expect. It’s important to avoid becoming cliquey too – over the last year, many of us have got to know each other well and developed friendships, and it’s all too easy now to just hang out with the people you already know when you arrive. That means some people will almost certainly feel excluded and perhaps have a perception of it being a “club”. If we want to continue being truly open to all, we have to work at avoiding such potential issues and buddying up would o a long way to resolving that.



Future of SMC session facilitated by @julianlstar


Our group suggested a number of ways that SMC could develop and involve more people.

It was acknowledged that the cafe was a positive place to attend with a diverse group of people attending. It is seen as a friendly, non-exclusive and equal event.


It was suggested that as there was so much cumulative knowledge within the cafe that this should be utilised to discuss and tackle problems submitted prior to the event.


The group said that the SMC should be a place where people could have discussions allowing a freeflow of ideas. Technology obviously should play a part in this especially in the way it can allow everybody to contribute


Somebody asked whether the SMC was all about technology and if it should embrace other areas. The group thought that as we are notionally about Social Media technology was a major part, but integral to this was the societal aspect of how people share and communicate. As an interest group SMC_MCR is unique as it attracts multi-disciplinary participation, with a mix of producers, developers, facilitators and users.


There was a feeling that the SMC was not utilising all the social media resources that it had at it's disposal. A number of people said that the Wiki was a clunky and not very elegant way of facilitating online discussion, whereas the Ning was a much better space for people to convene and discuss topics online before and after the event. It would also allow people to see each others profiles. It was suggested that the people interact with the two platforms differently, with the Ning being a freer, more open space, whereas the wiki showed a certain commitment to events due to the page edit process. Other platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn weren't discussed as likely candidates but this was down to time. It was emphasised as a group we don't know enough about each other.


An interesting suggestion was that occassionally the Cafe should be thematic. Allowing people to prepare positions and presentations to fit in with these themes. The mechanism for suggesting themes hadn't been discussed.


It was emphasised by the group that the SMC should not be inward looking and should actively embrace outward activity. It needed to have a mechanism that could allow outside contribution, building a pool of people and expertise.





Comments (1)

natalie ireland said

at 12:26 pm on Oct 7, 2009

As a newbie to social media cafe, I do agree with thinking about ways of keeping it as open as possible if that is what you want it to be. Buddie idea sounds interesting! I have been twice and turned up late - my own fault - but felt a bit strange dropping into a discussion, so didn't really have a context for what was going on.

I work at the museum of science and industry in Castlefield - Sarah, I'm happy to help look at the museum as a venue - no guarantees, but could be good. Would be good to chat to you what you need/budget etc etc as a starting point if you are interested. Will have to wait until after Manchester Science Festival to discuss this as I'm pretty hectic - so maybe in a few weeks if you're interested. MSF ends on 1 November, so free to catch up after that.


Manchester Science Festival Director

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