Third time around and we had a dedicated space, courtesy of Rooty’s (strangely without a home page) in the Custard Factory. Badges were also out to help peeps connect names and handles to faces.
Whereas the first meet was more formal and the second more sociable, the third was a union of both: formal then social.
The formal part was a panel on the SXSWM trip which was of less interest to me, just because I’d already read the tweets and the blog posts, seen the videos and chatted to Stef about it. But for people who hadn’t heard about it, this was a good time to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
There was a lot of discussion about ‘evangelism’, ‘conversion’ and ‘spreading the word’ about social media which struck me as odd language. It bordered on missionary zeal at time which I know some people found a little off-putting. One guy told me straight that his blogger girlfriend had been put off from coming by the ‘formal’ idea.
For me, the killer feature of the meets for me is just in getting a critical mass of creative web fans in a room. Add a little beer and conversational sparks fly, knowledge is exchanged and connections spring up. Some will want to explore the latest ideas and models in social media while many just want to arse about on the web. I measure the quality of the meets by the diversity of ideas, approaches and people that pop up. I’ll be worried if everyone starts singing from the same hymn book.
I’m not too worried right now. With the panel over, one discussion was replaced by a dozen interesting conversations, a sizeable portion of this later migrated over to the Rainbow. I talked to a cartoonist, a journalist and a couple of entrepreneurs among others. My only gripe was there were too many fascinating people to talk to and not enough time to get round. It felt rather like the Crystal Dome.
Other people seem to be as impatient as me about continuing these chats. More frequent mini-meets could be the way to go, or even a techie solution where people can spontaneously organise ‘coworking‘ sessions in cafes around Brum. I know people are actively working on this problem so maybe by Blogger Meet 4 we’ll have something on the go.