A site about how community groups and charities can make the most of data and open data to do something useful. Focused on Birmingham, relevant everywhere.

What actually goes on in the Social Media Surgeries


Yesterday there was yet another successful Social Media Surgery at Fazeley Studios in Birmingham. With a turn-up of over 30 people in form of surgeons and ‘patients’, I’m pretty sure it was one of the busiest so far.

But what actually goes on at the surgeries, sure it’s about social media but am I qualified and what do people actually talk about. Brian Simpson from 24 Carrots attended his first Surgery yesterday, he had been reluctant to come down because he wasn’t exactly a newcomer to social media.

“Not being a complete novice I had in my mind that it was for people that knew nothing, but I have got the impression now that I think anybody at any level can gain from actually tapping into the expertise that is available here.”

Social Media Surgery June 17th. 2009 by kasperbs on flickr

Social Media Surgery June 17th. 2009 by kasperbs on flickr

The surgeries are for people active in the cities voluntary and community groups, looking for an entry point into the world of social media. Volunteers from the Birmingham bloggers’ group and experienced social media users, offer their help on a one-to-one basis.

Yesterday many interesting people turned up, some had never been before, others were repeat offenders. Each one gets to sit down with an expert for 90 minutes, to talk about how they can use social media to enhance the profile, and user experience of their organisation or group. They get the chance to bring their own laptop, so the surgeons can help them with their specific problem and try and be as productive as possible.

There were quite a few interesting sessions yesterday; Attiye Faraji from ”Health Exchange CIC” sat down with Philip John to try and find a way to engage and communicate with people in their community. Phil walked her through the process of setting up a new Facebook page, which was set up by the end of the session.

Others found it more useful to sit down in pairs and chat about how to improve on existing sites. Chris sat down with a few people from Get Walking Brum and The Young Foundation, to discuss how social media could potentially be useful for them, and help them understand some of the theories behind.

Brian Simpson attended hoping to find new ways of spreading the word of an upcoming Farmers Market he is putting on. By the end of the session, with the help of Jon Bounds, he had managed to set up a new Tumblr blog, where he can share and publish information in a fast and efficient way.

Representatives from Tyseley & Greet Employment Resource Centre come down to hear about blogs, twitter and social media in general. Nicky, Benjamin and Gavin all took the time to go through the basics of blogging, what it is about, how it can be used and what you might put on it. They talked about how the use of visual elements can enhance the experience, and how the use of video, sometimes can be more effective at getting a message across.

The surgeries are organised by Nick Booth and take place at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth. Listen to some of the reactions from the most recent surgery and watch some of the action.

Social Media Surgery Sound Bites

2 Responses to “What actually goes on in the Social Media Surgeries”

  1. The surgeries are a fantastic initiative, I’d love to be involved in something similar here in Dublin.

    Best wishes

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