City’s social media devotees bid farewell to 2011
Birmingham’s tech-savvy community will be closing the chapter on an eventful year of social media with a double dose of multimedia gatherings this weekend.
Completing a successful year of new media networking, web commentary and internet creativity, two very different but equally important internet-inspired get-togethers are to ring out 2011 in style this month – the Birmingham Social Media Cafe and the Birmingham YouTube Christmas Gathering.
After taking over the helm of the city’s social media gathering, more commonly referred to as the BSMC, professional photographer and 4am Project founder Karen Strunks has continued to maintain its core audience and appeal while injecting it with a fresh sense of purpose and ambition.
The gathering, which is free and held on the last Friday of every month, was originally set up by Times journalist Joanna Geary before being taken over by Meshed Media (now Made Media) and describes itself as “a place for people interested in social media to gather, get acquainted, chat, plot, scheme, and share” and one would only have to look at the new faces attending every month to realise that statenment rings very much true.
At the start of the year, a swelling in attendee numbers resulted in the media cafe moving from its then new location at Cafe Blend and heading back to the city’s Town Hall – where it is currently held – while it hosted new sponsors including Venue Birmingham, Talk About Local, Fierce Earth and Metapod Connect who’ve all supported the proceedings over the year; including last month when Go Genie funded the drinks at the event’s 3rd bithday anniversary.
Despite juggling a busy schedule and an increasingly heavy workload, Karen Strunks has found the experience enlightening and remains positive about its future.
“Taking over the running of the Birmingham Social Media Cafe has been very rewarding, and it was a great honour to be asked to take over such an established event,” she explained.
“I really enjoy using social media to get communties together in offline events and it’s a great opportunity for individuals and businesses who have an interest in social media to meet in person and network and share ideas. The past year has shown the event go from stength to strength and looking forward to spreading news of the events for 2012 – using social media of course!”
The last Birmingham Social Media Cafe of 2011 takes place on Friday 24th November, between 10am – 12pm at the Town Hall. The event is open to those involved in media, multimedia and creative platforms who wish to meet and network with like-minded individuals.
Also concluding a year in which it made it’s city-wide debut is the Birmingham YouTube Gathering, which held its first ever take on the international event back in June of this year.
Following its inception in Los Angeles in 2007 and a host of successful YouTube Gatherings across the world, England’s second city adopted the mass social get-together with great fanfare as video bloggers, or vloggers, travelled from across the country to attend a day of workshops, games, activities, lively networking and, of course, ‘vlogging’.
Following smaller events throughout the year, the main attraction returns for a special Christmas send-off as November draws to an end. Expected to once again be attended by YouTube filmmakers and enthusiasts from across the region and country, the gathering will be a full weekend event.
The festive congregation will begin at New Street station, before taking in the Frankfurt markets and other prominent city centre locations while attendees indulge in ice-breaking activities, collaboration videos and challenges; and giveaways and competitions before ending the evening with a karaoke night.
Birmingham You-Tubers Jamie Chapman, Jordan Goode and Gordon Campbell – who came up with the idea of holding the event in the city earlier this year after attending its equivalent in Bath – have reunited for the seasonal affair but with the addition on a new organiser, Cherry Wallis, who began making her first videos only five months ago but has amazingly already amassed over 500 followers on her online channel.
Chapman, 21, feels the gatherings have been instrumental in allowing for a sense of community amongst individuals who share a creative passion.
He said: “YouTube Gatherings are always a great atmosphere because of the variety and the outgoing personalities of people that turn up to them. I think that they have been quite successful for the first year, as they’re bringing like minded people together, that are all into social media and making videos.
The Birmingham YouTube Christmas Gathering takes place on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November, starting at 12.30pm from New Street Station. The event is free and open to both those who create videos on YouTube and those who just want to meet or network with those that do.