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Sunday
Sep162012

10 by 10 West Midlands

To celebrate International Social Media Week this month there is a pretty nifty event taking place in Coventry.

by Darren Caveney 

The West Midlands used to be just about the best place in the world for designing and making things.

The list of famous and iconic items created in the region is almost endless and pulling together a short piece of research for this post reminded me just how prolific and important the West Midlands used to be.

Birmingham used to be known as the city of a thousand trades and famed around the world for its, silver jewellery, guns and toys. Both the Mini and the Morris Minor were designed and built in Birmingham and half of all of the iconic spitfires were built in Birmingham. Oh and don’t forget Cadbury’s.

The Black Country was an engineering powerhouse which was at the very centre of the industrial revolution. Coventry gave us the country's first ever motor car plus bicycles, motorbikes and important cars galore.

Today, with the recession biting ever deeper, the West Midlands is, like other parts of the country, struggling – struggling to recreate wealth, struggling to provide enough jobs, struggling against the struggle.

But, the natives always fight back, get creative and get busy. I could never prove it but I’m certain that this pioneering spirit and creative DNA which still runs deep and true is one of the reasons why this part of the world jumped quickly at the opportunities offered by digital developments.

Anyway, duff history lesson over with, and the reason for me mentioning all of this, is an event taking place at Coventry City Council to mark International Social Media Week (24 – 28 September)

The event was the idea of the always excellent Fran Collingham, Coventry City Council’s Assistant Director for many things including communications. Fran and I got talking and quickly agreed that we should fly the West Midlands flag a little and celebrate the region’s many social media achievements and protagonists, and, in the process, dream up more ways in which we can provide better services for customers, whatever sectors we work in.

The ever helpful Dan Slee lent a big hand too and helped to assemble a cast of people doing good things across Twitter and Facebook, Linkedin and Wikipedia, plus infographics, social media surgeries and much, much more.

We have assembled 10 excellent speakers, who will spend 10minutes each sharing their learning – good and bad. So 10 x 10 it is, hence the event moniker #10by10WM (thank you Mr Slee for that too)

The event will include a keynote speech from Coventry City Council’s Chief Executive, himself a big advocate of social media and its uses as an effective tool to engage. Martin is also now Senior Vice President of SOLACE (the society of local government chief executives) and in this influential role Martin will be seeking out opportunities for greater adoption of, and confidence in, social media.

The event will include a social media ‘bring and buy’ where delegates can chat to the morning’s speakers, ask questions, share ideas.  And the afternoon will offer up four, informal theme-led discussions to chew the social media fat over.

Coventry are always brilliant hosts, and it’s a very easy place to get to by train or car.

So, take the opportunity of what I would term a very useful and free day’s training, on 25 September, and I’ll bet you a pound to a penny that we all learn something.

 

The event will be digitally reported by the ace Dave Musson so make sure that you follow him and the event hashtag #10by10WM

Darren Caveney is co-creator of comms2point0 and vice chair of LGComms

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