West by West Midlands Social, Saturday 13th March 2010, Birmingham UK

WxWM | The fuzzy hangover of thanks

I’m in awe of everyone who made WxWM such a success yesterday. The Birmingham social media scene never fails to amaze me with how lovely people are and how willing they are to get together, work hard and support one another. I’m not used to so many people being so fantastic for so long. Birmingham feels unique. Call it cyber-chemistry, call it the right people at the right place at the right time. Call it what you like. I absolutely love it.

A massive thanks to:

  • The panel hosts: Charlie Pinder, Jon Hickman, Jon Bounds, Nick Booth, Michael Grimes, Nicky Getgood, Kasper Sorensen, Gemma Harris, Kara Crozier, Ben Whitehouse, Antonio Roberts and Andy Mabbett. You all absolutely blew me away. You guys totally made the event, without a doubt.
  • The A-Team, Jaki Booth and Julia Higginbotham, without whom the WxWM live blogging and tweeting wouldn’t have happened as awesomely as it did!
  • Nat Higginbotham who was just fabulous and ran round sorting stuff whenever the urge to say ‘Halp!’ or ‘please can you do this?’ occurred. Which was a fair bit.
  • To Nick Booth, for gifting us his MacBook and his magic dongle to try and counteract the wifi connectivity problems we experienced for the live blog.
  • Ben Whitehouse and Jaki for being food fairies, and Nat for getting the order in in time!
  • The three impeccably behaved kids (Donato’s and Paul’s) who were with us for much of the event – they were a pleasure to have there, a credit to their parents and their presence led to a highly entertaining last-minute adjustment to Jon Bounds’ swearing meme panel!
  • Mark Steadman and Paul from Rhubarb Radio. They worked so damn hard, were at the venue before I’d arrived setting everything up, were super-professional and absolutely lovely to boot.
  • Thanks to Pete Ashton, Jo Geary, Ruth Ward, Fiona Cullinan and the other SxSWMers in Texas for giving their time and energy to talk to us for the live hook-up under very interesting connectivity conditions.
  • Thanks to Jez Higgins for turning up before the event and doing manly furniture lugging stuff.
  • Thanks to Katie Parry for her gorgeous logo, signs and name badges.
  • Thanks to everyone who helped with the set up of the room.
  • Thanks to my extraordinary taxi service, Gemma ‘n’ Kara Cabz, for getting me home at the end of a long day.
  • Thanks to Peter and the team at the Kitchen Garden Cafe who were an absolute pleasure to work with.
  • Thanks to everyone who was there and who exceeded my expectations by ensuring we had a full house. I was so pleased that everyone got stuck in and engaged with the panels so brilliantly:

Andy Mabbett @pigsonthewing

Andy Parsons @Andy_Parsons

Antonio Roberts @hellocatfood

Ben Whitehouse @benjaminbrum

Charlie Pinder @pindec

Danny Smith @probablydrunk

Donato Esposito @bostinbloke

Ed Hart @Ed_Hart

Gemma Harris @gem_27

Jaki Booth @parboo

Jon Bounds @bounder

Jon Hickman @jonhickman

Julia Gilbert @catnip

Julia Higginbottom @gabysslave

Kara Crozier @karzy_jones

Karen Strunks @karenstrunks

Kasper Sorensen @kasperbs

Katie Parry @superkoolkp

Mark Steadman @marksteadman

Matthew Somerville @dracos

Michael Grimes @citizensheep

Nat Higginbotham @exsanguinator

Neil (rasga) @rasga

Nick Booth @podnosh

Nicky Getgood @getgood

Paul Hadley @rhubarbradio

Paul Taylor @theaardvark

Shona McQuillan @graphiquillan

Simon Howes @simonhowes

Stef Lewandowski @Stef

Vikki Green @tickvg

(Joined us for the after party) Rachel Simmonite @rachel_simmo

(Kudos to Andy Mabbett for the list)

There are many things to reflect on for how I’d plan the event next time – not least to have a bigger venue! Can I just thank everyone who, whilst it was hot and cramped, didn’t whinge about it once. Not once. That’s a first for a group of people to be so understanding and tolerant in my book. I’m really interested in feedback from anyone who was there – all comments and ideas are welcome. After the event, I got chatting to Stef Lewandowski who made a really great point about how it would have been good if the panels led to tangible actions as outcomes. This isn’t something that had occurred to me, but is certainly something that I’d like to see carried forward to the next event.

During the live link with Texas, Pete Ashton said to me that he thought I’d manage to organise the first barcamp in Birmingham (something he also mentions on his blog). A year ago, I wouldn’t have dreamt that I’d have managed to pull off a Birmingham social media first. All those people I’ve been privileged to meet and befriend over the last year through this very special network has had a hand in this. So thank you to all of you for welcoming me into the fold and giving me the chance to do something for others.


Filed under: Post-event, , , , ,

8 Responses

  1. Congratulations on a very satisfying, interesting and juicy day! Brilliant.

  2. Andy Mabbett says:

    Shona, it wouldn’t have happened without your initiative and drive (and cider). Lots of us talk the talk, you showed us how to walk the walk. Many thanks and much kudos to you.

    I think there will be good outcomes from the panels, but for sure it would be good to have them recorded.

    We should also start to gather ideas for how we can make our next “unconference” happen; and how we can support you as the organiser 😉

  3. Paul Hadley says:

    Congratulations Shona.
    Great event, and a pleasure to be involved. Listener figures went through the roof, and the trending set showed that this sort of event has real relevance, and not just to Brum either.

    Steadman & Grimes will be playing highlights into their show (@sundaysocial) from midday today, and the podcasts will be available very soon (just as soon as we’ve had 5 minutes to edit them all down- linky coming soon).

    My first thoughts about further (£’s and business partners?) support could tick all the Digital Birmingham boxes too (@daveharte)…. I’ll not mention 4IP (yet) though- @dubber has his own thoughts on that.

    Great event though, and can’t wait for the next one.

  4. Jon Bounds says:

    Shona, Julia, Nat, Ben, Jacki, everyone who did anything or turned up to support — my gratitude and admiration seems sarcastic in a little box here, but as Andy says brill and more help is available for any repeat performance from me.

    I’m sure I’ll end up blogging about loads of the stuff talked about — but there wasn’t a session that wasn’t worthwhile in a big way for me.

    I don’t like the idea of formalising or assigning outcomes to an unconference however tangible – we aren’t a group that works together with stated aims. There will me individual outcomes, either taking things we’re learnt away (Andy’s accessibility talk in particular made me think hard about the sometimes lazy copystyle we all employ when blogging, and also that I can’t remember any Pink Floyd lyrics) or new alliances or groups or friendships will be formed.

    Bloody great time had by all, i think.

  5. getgoodguide says:

    Well done you for organising us lot and doing it, totally inspired event all down to you. It was exactly what we all needed and just downright fantastic. I loved it. Brilliant panels and I’ve walked away with some serious food for thought. Who needs Texas? 😉

  6. Shona says:

    Thanks, all. Keep ’em coming. Jon – I think you’re right. It’s not about it being a total call to action as an outcome, more things that people can take away with them, reflect on, use and learn from. I certainly took some things away from the panels – Andy Mabbett’s was a good example of this, as I instantly recognised that I’ve been a culprit when it comes to being on the ball with accessibility.

    Would it be useful to have some kind of debrief (with SXSWM lot, too?) in the not too distant future?

  7. Andy Mabbett says:

    Andy Parsons is @Andy_Parsons – also present was furry-badger-opertator Paul Hadley, aka @rhubarbradio

    I think that’s everyone now: unless you know dfferent?

  8. Jaki says:

    Hey Shona, thanks for the thanks but the thanks go to you. I had a great day. I confess there were times in the planning when I really wanted to shout “Stop, let’s just have a beer together!” I’m really glad that’s not what we did. I learnt loads, met good people, cemented friendships and found some students to be the SU’s Twitterers (I hope). In terms of outcomes, that’s plenty for me. This is not my day job (where we spend lots of time and energy on outcomes). For those for whom it is, then feel free to write down what’s come out of it.

    For me – what a great hobby!

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