First off, a huge thanks to everyone who made it up to last night’s OpenCoffee at Cafe Nervosa. All in, we had 17 people in attendance, a bunch of new faces (welcome) and some interesting discussions.
Personally, I think that the interest and enthusiasm in the room is a great platform to start growing this little community of ours and tackling some of the bigger stuff we talked about.
On that note, I’ve given some of the ideas a bit more thought and would like to throw some proposals out to everyone for a little open feedback.
Working Title: Digital Derry
Digital Derry is a grassroots, community of local people interested in digital media – as an industry, as a career or as it applies to growing their business. (Should it be ‘Derry’ or ‘the NW’?)
Existing both online and through ‘real world’ events and meetups, DD will seek to grow local interest in digital media and equip its members with the knowledge and support to get the most from digital media.
Membership and attendance at events is, and always will be, free – and open to anyone who’s interested in getting involved. To achieve this we will rely on the support of the community itself – and anyone we might be able to get money from.
DD is more an idea than it is a business or real organisation – a collective way to organise the stuff we want to see happen. I’d be interested to hear your ideas on how this will work in practice.
For example, if we get sponsorship for an event, who’ll look after the money? If we organise training to be sponsored by the Chamber or other body, I’d love to include – and pay – members in delivering that training. Finally, there will be some costs (i.e. developing the site for example), how do people feel about ‘paying’ for those costs out of any sponsorship or funding we might be able to lay our hands on?
What do you think?
The idea is to create an online community and events hub with the following features:
- Blog – profiling local businesses, ‘how to’ topics, news, event coverage
- Educational Resources – introductory whitepapers and ebooks covering online topics like ‘how to twitter’, video and audio guides
- Swap-a-Job – A simple classifieds section where people can offer their services, find projects and work or exchange skills/services
- Directory – Either a group Twitter directory with profiles or a very simple social network – essentially a place where all members can say who they are and what they do
- Events Calendar – Highlighting all events of interest
- OpenCoffee section
- Possible BarCamp section
- Flickr stream of images from events etc…
- Monthly email newsletter
- Q&A bit – where people can submit ‘how to’ questions to be answered on the site
To really grow ‘Digital Derry’ as a community we need to focus on running as many offline events as possible. I think these will evolve as we go forward and anyone who’s interested in running their own events will get as much support as we can give them.
Here are a few ideas for now:
- Monthly OpenCoffee Derry meetup – with one short presentation at each one
- Regular informal gatherings (probably 2 a month) where we agree a spot and people can just turn up if they’re about
- Training courses: social media, SEO, blogging for business etc…
- ‘Big events’ like a BarCamp
- Industry or group specific events: ‘online marketing for tourism businesses’ for example
- Purely social events from time to time
Getting It Done
I think it’s important to keep this as a ‘community-driven’ exercise (even if that does sound pretty corny) but at the same time if we really want to get things done, having the support of some of the local organisations – and their cash – would be a good thing.
In particular, I would like to approach organisations like the ones listed below to get their support in promoting the group and funding/sponsoring particular events and activities.
- Chamber of Commerce
- UU at Magee
- DVCB (for tourism stuff)
- The Nerve Centre
- Private businesses
- The bigger ‘tech’ businesses
- Anyone else we can convince
The support might not always be financial – simply providing a venue for an event or help with marketing might be enough. Again, I don’t think we want to do anything that compromises what we want to do (if that makes sense).
OpenCoffee itself (i.e. our monthly meetups) will remain ‘sponsorship free’ – and will run as a part within the bigger Digital Derry whole.
Of course the most important factor will be how much support we get from community members. I would like to keep the whole thing very loose and informal so ‘membership’ will simply mean that you registered on the site and turn up at events from time to time.
That said, although I’m happy to organise quite a lot of this stuff, we need your help with:
- Organising events and marketing
- Finding venues for events
- Finding sponsors
- Creating content for the website
- Developing the website
- Mentoring other members in anything you know
- Participating in skills exchanges
- Speaking at events like OpenCoffee
- Promoting each other’s businesses online and off
- Sponsoring stuff if it’s relevant to your business
First off, I’d like to invite everyone to leave their feedback, suggestions or offers of help in the comments below.
Once I’ve got that, I’ll draft up a doc and send it out to everyone – i.e. something that says “this is what we’re planning on doing”.
Financially, I’m happy to organise the DD site and getting that moving. I’ll also start scouting around for any help we might be able to get.
So what do you think?