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Newcastle Social Media Surgery No2

Last night, I was one of the ‘social media surgeons’ at the second Newcastle Social Media Surgery (organised by Stephanie Cole, held at the Settledown Café in the city centre, not far from Central Station.

I was a volunteer social media surgeon at the first one too, which was held at the Toffee Factory, a building that has a meeting room with wifi and offices set around a courtyard with the original factory chimney as the central feature. I really enjoy every opportunity to visit that building.

So far, I have enjoyed the experience of helping people at these surgeries. The people whom I have met, both those helping and those seeking help, are lovely. There has been a relaxed atmosphere. We all try to offer solutions that will work for the specific organisations and the individuals managing their online presence. It is great to volunteer alongside other volunteers who can work collaboratively.

Helping other people also helps me to get a better idea of how much I know. It can be difficult to judge one’s level against average person in the street when mostly in contact with people who take it for granted that everyone uses social media and blogs.

When I started, I was not sure if this would be something I would like but was willing to try. I will definitely be at the next one in September.


2012 – the start


Street art in the Ouseburn area.


I was contemplating how I seemed to have been writing a lot daily but that it had been early November since I had last written a post for this blog when a discussion on Twitter caught my eye. People I know were talking about writing for blogs more regularly. The idea of the Weekly Blog Club was proposed. I wrote a blog post so that people had somewhere with more space to discuss how it would work. Soon, we had the first official post for the first week of the Weekly Blog Club: Fear by Sarah Lay.

I have committed to writing a post a week (not necessarily always published on this blog) because I do want to share more of my past and present experience and observations about culture and society, perhaps more about digital technology. Part of the reason why I had not written for this blog more often was because I thought that people were not very interested in it. From the web stats and reaction on Twitter, fewer seemed interested in my photographs on Flickr or any of my blog posts (apart from the life drawing series), and fewer people seemed to interact on Twitter in 2011.

The idea of the Weekly Blog Club reminded me of my original purpose in publishing things online:

  • to get some distance from my own work in order to analyse, edit, improve upon it;
  • to share with others – even if just 1 person gets something from a photograph or post, it is worth the effort.

My post for the week after next is likely to be about a workshop ‘Designing Ouseburn’s Future,‘ one of three that I hope to attend between now and March. I wrote a bit about the initial meeting in November. Hopefully, by writing about one initiative to engage the people who use an area with planning its future, it will encourage others to try such approaches and to participate in any in their areas.

The range of topics that I might tackle for Weekly Blog Club could be quite wide. I am interested in many things and my work normally involves culture, digital technology and the public – which involves a very wide range of practical and ethical issues. If there is any topic that you would like me to write about, please say.