Yesterday evening, in an unusually quiet area of Newcastle upon Tyne, I walked through a sea of red, white and blue flowers to go to the Beehive whilst others undoubtedly settled down to an evening of watching the Olympics. It was a SuperMondays evening entitled ‘Speakers Corner,’ about setting up and running user groups and one-off workshops.
There were three speakers with prepared presentations, introduced by Ross Cooney.
Web designer Richard Powell (@byrichardpowell) spoke about ‘Running Workshops: The Benefits, How To and Get Involved’ based on his own experience of providing some JQuery workshops.
Ryan Foster (@itsryan) of Ryan Foster Design spoke about ‘Lean eCommerce, Using Shopify and Working Internationally from the North East.’ It was very interesting to hear that he had gained clients internationally through specialising.
Andrew Westgarth (@apwestgarth) entitled his presentation ‘Stories from the User Group Frontline,’ and focused on his 6+ years’ experience of organising user groups including the North East Bytes group (@NEBytes). It was clear that it is a lot of work to run a user group. I admire those who do it, especially those who do it on a purely voluntary basis.
By the end of the evening, I was wondering if there were workshops that I could provide (although not in coding). I have provided informal training for over 20 years in the basics of how to use the usual Office software and other specific programmes. During the past 10 years, I have helped people to use and create good quality rich content for the Web. More recently, I have been involved in workshops encouraging public institutions to use social media; and, this year, I have been volunteering at the new Newcastle Social Media Surgery (organised by Stephanie Cole), helping people from charities and voluntary groups to use social media (it was great to see one of my fellow volunteers, William Mortada (@wmortada) at this SuperMondays event).
If you are a digital person in the Tyneside area and have not been to SuperMondays, do consider coming. It is a friendly group, usually meets on the last Monday of a month – and one does not have to be a coder to attend. It is really useful to have such a group that covers a wide range of topics relevant to digital work and allows some time at the beginning and end for people to socialise. We need more opportunities to bring together people in order to build a strong, supportive digital community in the region that can encourage the development of skills and businesses in the North.
SuperMondays website [http://www.supermondays.org/ last accessed 31st July 2012].
SuperMondays on Twitter [https://twitter.com/SuperMondays].
North East Workshops Google Group [https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en&fromgroups#!forum/north-east-workshops].
Richard Powell, Ryan Foster: Lean E-Commerce at Super Mondays [http://www.byrichardpowell.co.uk/post/28897424231/ryan-foster-lean-ecommerce-at-super-mondays#ux last accessed 7th August 2012].