The social media scene in Birmingham is great at self organising and full of proactive people who make stuff happen. Common for everyone is the commitment to carry out ideas and trying out new things, in turn; helping others do the same.
Through collaboration and a common passion for Birmingham and the people who live here, it has fostered some great initiatives and projects along the way. We have tried to come up with a list of the 10 best things about Birmingham. We know we have left an awful lot out, so please let us know who we’ve forgotten. These 10 are listed in no particular order.
- Big City Plan Talk
When the Birmingham City Council asked for contributions towards the Big City Plan, a group of volunteers from the Birmingham Bloggers’ group, took it upon them to rewrite the official consultation document into plain English. A website was set up for everyone to discuss, debate and submit their contributions on how the city should be developed over the next 20 years. In the process they collected hundreds of comments, all of which where submitted to the Birmingham City Council for inclusion in the consultation process.
Dracos.co.uk is a place harnessing geniuses in Birmingham. Responsible for data mashups such as traintimes.org; a map displaying live train times and the ArtsFest 2008 timeschedule. The site is a collections of public data mashups, used for civic purposes in the most incredible ways.
- Mappa Mercia
A digital remapping of West Midlands, and the first of it’s kind to do so, using a free and open format. The project is undertaken by volunteers, committed to promoting the use of free geographical data for everyone. The project aims to free people from the normal restrictions that comes with using most mapping services. Allowing people greater freedom when it comes to using maps in new and exciting ways.
- Rhubarb Radio
Started with the idea of pulling together podcasts, focused mainly on the creative industries and music scene of Birmingham. In June 2008 that turned into an online community radio station. Now with in excess of 50 members, a live radio studio, training & recording facilities, Rhubarb Radio CIC is a constituted membership organisation, that has been supported throughout its growth by Dynamics Community Arts.
- Birmingham It’s Not Shit
A blog dedicated to showing and talking about all the things that are great about Birmingham. The blog was started back in 2002 and is run by Jon Bounds, a social media constant. It runs the ‘Brummie of the year’ award and the ‘Talk Like a Brummie’ day. The blog has shown an effective way of enaging people in discussions about local issues online.
- West by West Midlands (WxWM)
An event designed from the idea that you could have a debate and a discussion about the things that are happening on the internet without travelling to Austin, Texas and SxSWi. The format is based around voluntary panellists, talking about a topic of their choice for five minutes, and then opening up the discussion to the audience. The first event was organised using Twitter, in a matter of days. It has since spiralled into a second event and is the forerunner for the upcoming Moseley Barcamp.
- Birmingham Bloggers’ Group
A group of bloggers from Birmingham, organised around a Facebook group and a blog. They all share a passion for blogging and social media, they get together once a month to share their experiences at the bloggers’ meet-up. The gatherings are open to everyone who wants to come along and chat about blogging or social media in general. Many of it’s members are volunteers in the monthly Social Media Surgeries.
- Birmingham Social Media Surgeries
Set up and organised by Nick Booth, the Social Media Surgeries in Birmingham, offers free monthly informal ‘surgeries’ for voluntary and community groups on how they can make the best use of social media. Surgeons are voluntary people from the social media communities around Birmingham, all offering their best advice in personal and informal sessions. Many new websites and projects have come off the ground because of, or partly because of the Social Media Surgeries.
- Created in Birmingham
Is a blog seeking to link up the artistic and creative communities of Birmingham. It’s a place to promote, discuss and be part of the vibrant creative industries that exists in Birmingham. The blog was set up in January 2008 by Pete Ashton and in it’s first year, it won The 2008 Weblog Award for best UK blog. It has demonstrated how blogging is a simple and effective way of engaging audiences online.
- The Stirrer
A local news site for Birmingham and the Black country. The Stirrer has published local news articles since 2006 and has a very engaging and demanding community. With thousands of posts in the the accompanying forums, the intense debates provide and outlet for people to engage in civic discussions.
Well, it was supposed to be only 10 but ‘unfortunately’ there’s is so much great stuff going on in Birmingham that we had to include a few more
- Birmingham Social Media Cafe
A monthly meetup, giving people who are interested in social media a chance to get together and share ideas and experiences. The cafe is an informal gathering, focused around social media and the people that enables it. The cafe is started by Joanna Geary, currently organised by Chris Unitt, and is a branch of the London Tuttle club. The gatherings has proved very popular, and has since led to the foundation of the Black Country Social Media Cafe.
The 4ip Fund has provided individuals and organisations in Birmingham, with the opportunity to explore the different ways in which online civic activity can be encouraged. 4ip have helped projects such as Talk About Local, Yoosk and Help Me Investigate.
- We Share Stuff
A group of people passionate about social media, committed to engage and educate people about it and it’s uses. Using a mixture of formal and informal techniques, new and old technologies they aim to help people make the most of today’s digital resources.