Janathon

You can read my Janathon blogs over on my Impact Online website. Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Election 2010 through Twitter

I could have been with the three-dimensional people at the SECC – but instead I made myself comfortable in front of the TV and lived Election Night through Twitter.
Before you scoff at the geek on the couch, let me paint the scene. Using Twitter client Hootsuite I set up four columns on my screen: my friend feed – what all the people I follow were tweeting, my @replies – any messages they sent to me, my own tweets – so I wasn’t tempted to tweet too often and piss off my followers and a search column following the hashtag #GE2010. (I may have failed on the ‘tweeting too often’ safety mechanism, but so far follower numbers seem stable!)
It was completely fascinating.
From wisecracks about BBC graphics, random celebrity commentators and Eric Pickles’ lack of neck to breaking news about voters being turned away in Sheffield – the search column kept me both amused and informed all night.
My friend feed was even better, like being in a virtual pub. We joked around, waited for each other’s constituency results, answered questions when we’d missed something and encouraged each other to stay awake, pour another glass of wine, have another biscuit.
At 3am when I was concerned I’d missed the East Dunbartonshire result (my friend is Jo Swinson’s PA and I was worried for her job) the Twitter search tool took me straight to @joswinson who told the Twitterverse personally it would be another 20 mins. I knew when to expect my own constituency result thanks to a link posted by a friend to Press Association’s Declaration Times site. I watched a video of voters being dispersed by police on YouYube (a link from the #GE2010 search column) long before BBC or Sky had any content… I don’t think I’ve ever been better informed in my life – and all from the comfort of my couch.

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Edinburgh’s First Social Media Dinner

They may only be 50 miles apart, but Glasgow and Edinburgh often seem to be polar opposites. I wondered, as I drove along the M8, how the first Scottish Social Media Dinner in Edinburgh would contrast with the one established in Glasgow?

Would I arrive to a chorus of “You’ll have had your tea”, would they sip my Buckfast like a tonic wine, would I end up paying the tab?

Of course not – we’re social media explorers, connecting in a whole new world with absolutely no room for stereotypes. In the same way you can butt in on any conversation on Twitter we could chat with anyone in the room. Everyone was very open, not only to hearing about your business and telling you about theirs, but to offering their help. This is what I love about social media in general and the SSMD in particular, it’s really just a giant favour bank. You pay in, you make withdrawals. It works better than any British bank I’ve heard about lately.

Vicky and Kate at Edinburgh Scottish Social Media Dinner

Three speakers shared their experiences of using Facebook and Twitter – and they were very honest. None of us are experts, but we pick up tricks along the way and we’re happy to pass them on. Jacq Kelly organised the Rape Crisis Scotland Campaign through Facebook; Lynn, who runs More4MumsMaternity from home loves the fact Twitter is like her watercooler whileVictoria Raimes and Kate Trussler organised a whole event through Twitter (the EdTwestival). They came across problems and learned lessons for the next time – and were keen to give us the benefit of their experience.

As it happens, the Edinburgh event turned the gender ratio on its head – three brave men sat among the 24 women. I didn’t think it changed the dynamic too much, although if we’d had a formal Q&A at the end, as with previous Glasgow events, perhaps the lack of testosterone would have made itself felt. I suppose we’ve all discovered these new social media platforms together – no gender or group can claim superiority – and that makes a very refreshing change.

Thanks to Craig McGill for organising it and Moo Cafeteria for hosting – would love to hear everyone’s comments about the night below!

(P.S Don’t forget to check out Phyllis Stephen‘s blog on the night here)

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