Posts Tagged 'Dirty South Twit'

On being dirty, southern and a twit

The best kind of nights, I’ve always found, are the ones where you end up in a completely unexpected place. Last night, for me, that unexpected place was a fascinating in-depth discussion of Belgian politics and media, and contrasting it with the UK.

This isn’t normally what I spend my nights down the pub doing, but then it’s also a neat illustration of why I enjoy going to the assorted social media meetups. Or in this case, Tweetup.

Back in December, Lolly and I decided we’d quite like a Twitter meetup that was easy to get home from (The Shoreditch Twit is ace, but for those of us south of the river, it’s a bit of a trek back) and the Dirty South Twit was born.

The first one was a nice chilled evening drinking cocktails in Clapham with a bunch of people who’d never really met before, but were all on Twitter. Then we both got a bit busy, remembered we’d do another one and organised the DST2 at the Roxy Bar and Screen in London Bridge.

It also happened to clash with St Patrick’s Day (completely unintentional on our part) and Guinness were kind enough to help the craic with assorted hats, inflatable pints, T-shirts and other goodies. Oh, and free booze. I’ve now got a few cans sitting in my kitchen needing care and attention. They really were too good to us (well, it was the 250th anniversary of signing their brewery lease in Dublin. Any excuse for a party is good enough by me). You can see photos here.

But one of the joys of these events is, as well as catching up with a few familiar faces, you get a chance to speak to people you’d never normally meet, such as PBizzle, Rufus Evison and Julie Bodart and Pascal. Somehow with the latter two, I got onto the topic of Belgian politics and media (not entirely randomly, given that she’s Belgian).

There’s some fascinating differences between the UK and Belgium. It certainly doesn’t sound as if blogging is as big over there as it is amongst the media in this country. The regional press also seems to thrive, mainly because there isn’t one main national paper. Instead the big papers are split between the Flemish and Walloon regions, depending on their point of view. I’d imagine it’d be a similar thing here if Scotland were larger and really agitating for a split from England.

I’ve taken a mild interest in Belgian politics since they went for around nine months without a proper government in 2007 / 08 and found the political system, basket case though it was (probably outdoing Italy in places), fascinating.

Certainly from Julie and Pascal’s point of view, our government seems a lot more stable. Yes, I probably replied, but it also makes it quite dull. And harder to kick the bastards out, I didn’t add. Certainly I’d appreciate something to re-engage me with the political process and makes it seem exciting and interesting again.

Ok, it may not be entirely fun when you’re living in a country that can barely form a government let alone rule effectively. But at least it makes things interesting. Hell, I’m very jealous of America where, thanks to Obama (and, dare I say it, probably helped by the fact Bush was the previous incumbent) politics has become interesting, cool and sexy again. Go on, try and apply any of those three adjectives to our political system, I dare you. You’ll fail miserably.

I’ve gone a bit tangential here. But that’s kind of like the conversation last night. I met some fascinating people at the Dirty South Twit, had some very interesting conversations (I won’t recount the whole Belgian politics and media chat, partly because I can’t quite remember it all) and had plenty of Guinness. And that’s why I love Twitter meetups.

A slightly more coherent, less tangential write-up, with no mention of Belgian politics, is on the Dirty South Twit blog.

Advertisement

Assorted drinking and meetups in London

Because, it’s just, you know, so interesting reading people blogging about their social life… đŸ˜›

Sarcasm aside, this week saw the November Bloggers’ Meetup in Aldgate. This event is growing every month (it was full up the afternoon it was announced), and is one of the friendliest meetups you could wish to meet.

As more than one first-timer commented to me on the night: “I was expecting it to be very formal, but people just walk up to and start chatting.” It’s definitely one of the most social of the social media meets, and you get to meet a very interesting and wide-ranging group.

This event didn’t quite have the lure of a personalised cocktail, but had an interesting talk from Fake Plastic Noodles’ Melanie Seasons on the difference between blogging in the UK and the USA. What’s fascinating is how much more of a community there is between bloggers in this country than there is in the States.

Despite being a bit nervous (and even though it’s a friendly crowd, I’d defy anybody not to feel a bit nervy about going up in front of a group of 80 strangers), she gave some food for thought for everybody there – and hopefully got many drinks brought for her as she deserved it.

And while I’m on the subject of drinking with interweb people, we’ve announced a date for the Dirty South Twit – Monday 8th December in an as-yet-to-be-announced venue is Clapham Junction. Go on, sign up and raise a glass. It’d be rude not to.

Going south of the river…

Or look what we’ve gone and done.

For a culture, that spends a fair bit of its life working online, social media types are, well, pretty sociable in the real world. For one thing, they throw great parties and hold regular meetups. One of the nicest things about Twitter and blogging meetups, is you can turn up and not know anybody and people will still, likely as not, know who you are. Even if not, you’ll at least have a topic of conversation to get you started, which is ideal for people such as myself who aren’t natural minglers.

One of my favourite meetups is Lewis Webb’s Shoreditch Twit, an informal gathering in Shoreditch for people on Twitter. There’s nothing much to it – Twitter (geeks) meet down the pub, often with some kind of theme (the last involved free games of table football. I rule at table football). The only downside is Shoreditch is in east London and is a bit of a trek to get home, south of the river.

Via a Facebook conversation with Lolly, I mentioned I was thinking of doing a South of the River Tweet up (sorry, that sounds a bit wanky doesn’t it). A couple of Tweets and emails later, and with Rich also offering his services, the Dirty South Tweet was born, for us Southern types who don’t want to have such a long journey home. It is, if you will, the Shoreditch Twit on tour. Or something.

Of course, it’s not just South Londoners who are invited – any Twitterer, be it north, south, east or west or even, God forbid, outside of London (what do you mean there’s a world outside the capital?) are more than welcome to join us to, well, drink. And chat. And that’s about it.

We’re still in the process of sorting out there whens and wheres, but should have something concrete very very soon. In the meantime, there’s the blog and the Twitter stream – show them both some love by Tweeting or linking đŸ™‚

Any excuse for a drink, really….

What’s really fantastic about this is the idea came from one quick musing on a Facebook post and has already started to take shape just 48 hours later – and the Dirty South Tweet blog is already doing over double the traffic this place does on a good day.

What’s even more fantastic, is just a few years ago, this bunch of people probably would have only known each other in passing, maybe meeting at the occasional event, but rarely making the effort to contact each other via email to say: “Hey, let’s get a group of us together and head out to the pub for a drink.”

Forget your marketing, PR and whatnot for a while. Twitter, Facebook and blogging have made it easier for like-minded people to get together down the pub, without having to utter the words “I’m meeting somebody from the internet,” and having to explain it’s nothing to do with sex.

It’s one of the reasons I love social media. It’s not called social for nothing.


del.icio.us

RSS What I’m Twittering about

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
December 2022
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Throw letters together and send them to me

Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com