Vaguely wondering if this new-fangled “social media”-thing might help connect eco-concerned people in Manchester to each other, a MCFly co-editor cautiously attends an event in the Northern Quarter. And is… blown away.
Do you care about the effectiveness and reach of “green” messaging on the interwebs? Do you want to meet friendly and talented people? Do you want to learn about some very very interesting technologies? If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, then get your filofax/google calendar/diary out. Mark the date –
Tuesday 31 July sometime in September for the next “Net Tuesday” at Madlab, the wonderful Northern Quarter space where technology, and humans collide in productive ways (1)
“Net Tuesday” is an evening about non-profit organisations and social media. There are groups all over the planet. The Manchester one has been going two and a half years, and runs on the last Tuesday of every month except August and December. Recent topics have included search engine optimisation and fundraising.
At tonight’s event, Lynette Cawthra from the Working Class Movement Library talked about their use of social media. Most interesting was the Twitter re-enactment of the Battle of Bexley Square (2) and recent work to commemorate the Kinder Trespass of 1932. She got the biggest laugh of the night by wryly observing that the best reaction she’s got to a tweet was one about… eccles cakes; there seems to be an inverse relationship between seriousness and popularity. She mentioned a site called “social oomph” that allows you to preload your tweets, scheduling them for best effect.(3)
The highlight (among many brilliant things) was the breathtaking “timeline.js” software. Their tagline – “Beautifully crafted timelines that are easy, and intuitive to use” undersells them; just go look at salfordladsclub to see what you can do with a googledocs spreadsheet that lists what you want pulling in when from where.
Just as I was (foolishly) leaving, someone from Manchester City Council was talking about their huge and not-so-easily-findable-on-google image library. You can find it at images.manchester.gov.uk, and their twitter is this ; @mcrarchives.
The “perfect meetings” purist in me might quibble about the level of interactivity/a couple of extra things that they could do. But frankly, these guys were so welcoming, so knowledgable, that I was a bit dizzy. I threw money in the donations box downstairs when leaving, because they deserve support. And you really REALLY should get along to the next one. The only thing that possibly could keep me from attending the next one is if it clashed with Noam Chomsky and Leonard Cohen headlining a night of political buddhism. And even then it’d be touch and go.
MCFly says: Sure, don’t believe the hype about social media. Networks take time, clicktivism is no substitute for activism. Et cetera. Fine, but that doesn’t mean that groups with a remit “to inform, inspire and connect” can sneer at what they don’t understand. If Manchester’s green campaigning groups want to be effective, they are going to need to do a lot better than email bulletins, a few tweets, facebook groups and the very occasional youtube. There are people willing to teach “us” those skills.
Are we willing to learn them?
Hot-tip – clicking “favourite” on a tweet stores it, and makes it easier to find for later use (since they might otherwise be unfindable or simply deleted).
Coding for young folk
youngrewiredstate.org (running from 6th to 12th August)
(1) And, it should be noted, just up the road from where Manchester Climate Monthly is printed by the ever-smiling MARC the printers.
(2) In 1931 a large group of working people petitioning for political and economic rights were… dispersed by the police. No, I didn’t know about it either.
(3) It’s great to see Working Class Movement Library so “with the times”, and I wonder if they’re aware of the “On this Deity” site?
NB This post has been modified since initial publication, in response to the first comment below.