I have been nominated in two categories in the Computer Weekly Social Media awards 2011…!
I’m really thrilled to be nominated – I know that I used to write for Computer Weekly so that always prevented me from ever getting on the shortlist, but since I moved away to Brazil and have not contributed to the paper for some time, it meant I was now eligible and the editorial team thought it was worth including me.
I’m really pleased, because I know just how much people value these awards. The winner is actually decided by a public vote, so I need to ask you to take just one moment to click through on the link here or at the bottom of this blog… it just takes a few seconds to vote, so please do it. Every vote counts and the winner is entirely decided on these public votes. Voting closes on November 25, please vote now!
Some friends, family, and colleagues might just vote for me, believing me to be worthy of the award anyway (thanks!) but I’ve listed a few short reasons here why I think I’m worthy of your vote.
First of all, if you don’t know me well then why not check out my LinkedIn profile for a bit of background on who I am?
Category One: Best use of Social Media (Individual)
In early 2009 I started to notice that my interactions on Twitter, were partly about business, partly personal and general, and partly focused on things happening in my local community – Ealing in west London. I called out to the Ealing and west London Twitter community and suggested meeting in person at a local pub, just to talk in person.
A dozen or so people turned up to that first Ealing tweetup, and they were not all social media advisors, PRs, or SEO specialists. There were teachers, doctors, local councillors, and actors – this is Ealing after all… I continued to develop the tweetup as a regular community event, holding an event every few months and it became obvious by July 2010 that it could become a bigger sponsored event retaining a community edge.
Green IT specialists 1e were the first company to back the event with sponsorship – and they are located in Ealing. Xerox (just up the road in Uxbridge) have also supported it, and most recently HCL sponsored the event along with the Fuller’s brewery.
Why is this important or at all worthy?
1. This event has retained a community involvement event since it started growing in stature – the last event featured live music from the Biblecode Sundays and Brace Yourself, 300 free pints donated by the brewery, a bar tab supported by a sponsor, and various prizes for best tweets, including a camera and a bottle of House of Commons Whisky.
2. The event has steered clear of becoming a PR or social media festival and remains populated by real local people… connected because they use Twitter. Amongst the teachers and doctors we have also enjoyed the company of a goalkeeping coach, an actor who featured in the Harry Potter series, and staff members of the English Chamber Orchestra.
3. The real power of the event is that it is now seen by almost all local politicians as a must-attend event. The power of local bloggers in shaping democracy in London is not lost on the locally elected officials. At the last event on September 1, the deputy Mayor of London attended, the local MP attended, the leader of Ealing Council attended, and so many local councillors were there they managed to form partisan factions within the pub.
So an event that started out as a way of getting local Twitter users to meet in person has now become an integral part of the democratic process in west London. Though I left London and moved to Brazil earlier this year, I have managed to remain involved in organising several events in Ealing this year and others from the group have taken on the event – unfortunately I’m going to miss the tweetup on December 1st as I will be working in Bangladesh – the first one I will have ever missed.
The Ealing tweetup is a great demonstration that social media is about communication and democracy demands transparency and communication. This event has educated and informed politicians in London of the possibilities of closer interaction with their electorate through social media – with fans of the Ealing Tweetup now including many councillors, several MPs, and the Mayor of London himself.
Category Two: IT Professional Blogger of the Year
Unusually I am not asking voters to consider a single blog. I don’t feel that being a professional working in the IT industry means that I need to only ever comment on IT in isolation, or write for a single blog. This industry is global and diverse and I hope that my own contribution reflects that:
Reuters: I’m a regular blogger for Reuters with the rare distinction that they trust me to live-blog major events direct to their news pages without editing – for major events such as the British General Election in 2010. My work for Reuters tends to focus on how technology interacts with politics and globalisation. See my most recent blog on the Occupy London movement for an example.
Huffington Post: My HuffPo blogs focus on technology in the real world – how companies and people are interacting with technology. My recent blog on how customer service is changing is a good example.
London 2012 Olympics: I am one of only 100 official bloggers appointed to give a different flavour of the London 2012 Olympic games. Most of this work will commence in the New Year with me focusing on the intersection between athletes and social media.
Twitter Book: My new book is focused on how companies are using Twitter. It has no nonsense and is entirely focused on what real companies can achieve with social media – especially Twitter. Out in early 2012, case studies and interviews include Number 10 Downing St, BT,PepsiCo, as well as several prominent artists and musicians.
Crowdsourcing: When I first moved to Brazil, I noticed that there are no bus maps at bus stops – without prior knowledge of bus routes it is impossible to know where you are heading. To summarise a long story, I initiated a crowdsourcing initiative that draws on the famous ‘spider maps’ in London and applies them to São Paulo, allowing the citizens to design their own maps and submit them to fellow citizens. This project has the blessing of both the Mayor of São Paulo and the Mayor of London.
UN Social Media for Developing Countries: I am presently working as an advisor with the United Nations International Trade Centre on a programme that is designed to help small business owners in the IT industry in Bangladesh get more international visibility and business through social media. This will lead to a UN published book in 2012 aimed at helping SMEs utilise free social media tools, and unfortunately I will be on the ground in Dhaka on the day that the Social Media awards take place in London – so I apologise in advance for missing the reception, but it’s all in a good cause.
Social Media Wedding: If you need any further convincing about the way I am contributing to the IT industry as a blogger with a focus on helping people benefit from social media then just take a look at the film BBC Technology Editor Rory Cellan-Jones made about my wedding in December 2010.
One again, the link to vote is here… please do vote, it only takes a few seconds to check my name and it could make all the difference… Voting closes on November 25, please vote now!