Webometric Thoughts

April 8, 2009

Black Country Social Media Cafe: It’s better than Birmingham’s!

Filed under: BCSMC,Black Country Social Media Cafe — admin @ 8:24 am

Yesterday was the first open Black Country Social Media Cafe, and in my less-than-humble opinion it was a resounding success! Whilst there are things we can improve upon, thanks to the collective efforts of a number of people, I think the Black Country has given the Social Media Cafe format its own spin and the result is far more than a clone of the Birmingham Social Media Cafe.

Rather than the give-em-a-coffee and shove-em-in-a-room approach of the Birmingham Social Media Cafe (which nonetheless work remarkably well), we have tried to create a more structured event. The planned timetable was:
2.30pm People start arriving, mingling and drinking coffee.
3.00pm “Thanks for coming” and “a few words from our sponsor”
3.05pm Chris Unitt and Pete Ashton give a short talk on what they got from the SxSW conference.
3.20pm People get back to mingling, dinking coffee, and reflecting on the talk.
4.30pm Everyone off home.

As with all the best laid plains, it didn’t quite end up like that. I have been reliably informed that I managed to get the name of the sponsor wrong (I should have said Clarity Digital Marketing), and then the talk went on a lot longer expected. However, as the length of the talk was driven mainly by questions from the floor, it can only be a good thing!

The mid-session talk/panel is definitely a feature we want to keep, although we will try and give people a bit more time to mingle and reflect on the topics afterwards. It was a shame that a few had to rush off, but as the last stragglers didn’t leave until 5.50pm there was plenty of scope for further discussion.

So, a success! The second one is planned for Tuesday 12th May, so make sure you sign up and let us know of any topics you would be interested in hearing discussed.

Nb. For those of more quantitative tastes, there were 23 people yesterday, but with the positive feedback I’m hoping for more next time.


  1. Hi David,

    Sounds like the BCSMC has a great first event. Well done for organising it. It’s great to see the cafes really taking off.

    Although I don’t want to take away from your success, I do feel I need to point out that I feel a little hurt by your post.

    I’m not sure dissing the Birmingham Social Media Cafe in order to promote your own is entirely in the spirit of the events.

    Also, considering myself and others connected to BSMC took the time to give you advice and support your idea (including those who came to talk at your event), it doesn’t really seem like a fair thing to have done.


    Comment by Joanna Geary — April 8, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

  2. Hi Joanna,

    Sorry, no offence was meant; just over enthusiasm from a successful event.

    As opposed to dissing the BSMC, which as you rightly point out were very supportive, it was merely meant to emphasise that we were trying to evolve from the (very successful) Birmingham model.

    When the idea of a Wolverhampton/Black Country Social Media Cafe was first put forward someone asked (on Twitter) why the Black Country needed one, after all, Birmingham is just down the road.

    The BCSMC needs to offer more than a venue a bit closer to home, it needs to offer something different. Whilst part of that comes from having less Birmingham dominance, part it also comes from the attempted different format. This blog post was merely about trumpeting the different format. “Black Country Social Media Cafe: It’s different to Birmingham Social Media Cafe” didn’t have the same ring to it.

    Once again, sorry.


    Comment by David — April 8, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  3. David, fantastic to see that it all went well. I quite understand your enthusiasm bubbling over.

    Did you read my post: http://tuttleclub.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/advice-to-a-new-tuttle-meister/

    I’m not suggesting that you *have* to do it any particular way – it’s your do, but wanted to be sure that you’d seen the reasoning behind why we just stuff people in a room and give them coffee before you dismiss it out of hand.

    Comment by Lloyd — April 8, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  4. Hi David,

    Fair enough. :) Really glad to see you’re enthusiastic about BCSMC and I don’t want to put a dampener on that.

    Best of luck with the next one – here’s hoping it goes from strength to strength!

    Comment by Joanna Geary — April 8, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

  5. Hi David

    I really appreciate you and others taking the time to set this up.

    It’s wonderful to have something like this in the Black Country and I can see future sessions being a great way of linking up people’s ideas and seeing if there are things we might be able to work together on.

    Idea for future session – it’d be nice to go round the room and find out a bit more about what everyone’s doing with social media and how it’s working for them – similar sort of thing to the little focus groups we had at the JEEcamp event in Birmingham last year.

    It’s inspiring to see how other people are using it – both businesses and individuals.

    Great work though and really looking forward to the next event :-)


    Comment by Lara — April 8, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

  6. Hi David, I just wanted to echo Lara’s thoughts re the chance to say who you are and what you do – I thought the discussion was great – and thought-provoking but I have no clue who most people who were there were as if I’d have gone up to them would have felt like some over-keen pushy sales type person – so more networking could be encouraged.
    It would be good to have a list of members with facebook/twitter/linkedin links if they wanted to provide them so that we can follow up meetings by building more of a community – I know there’s a fb group and a wiki – but it would be good to have this central resource somewhere that can be easily found (possibly on those existing platforms.)
    As ever, I could witter on and on but will spare you.
    Good luck and thanks to all involved, also sending some big love-type stuff to Joanna Geary,a lady I’ve never met but hope to one day.

    Comment by Linda — April 8, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

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