Friday, 29 October 2010

Social Media Cafe

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Today, along with the rest of my MA class, I attended to Social Media Café meeting in the Coffee House, Birmingham. To get an idea of what it is like, check out the video below.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

CSR Speech Wordle

Wordle: Geirge Osborne's CSR SpeechTo the right is a Wordle I created from the contents of George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review Speech for the Birmingham Budget Cuts Website.
It is very interesting to look at which words appear larger, meaning they were mentioned more frequently in the speech and which are smaller.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

MA Enterprise Market Research

For the Enterprise unit of my MA, we have to devise an entrepreneurial idea. The task for this week was to explore and test out an experimental market research activity. My idea was to organize a charity fun run between supporters of Aston Villa and Birmingham City which would be called 'To Hell and Back' as the supporters would start at their home ground and run to their rivals' ground (ie Hell) and back to their own stadium.
To begin with, I contacted people who either had experience of organizing fun runs in the city to get some idea of the issues I would need to address to decide if it was feasible. I wrote to MacMillan, and the organizers of the Birmingham Half Marathon to ask if they could give me any advice or information but neither responded.
I also wrote to the council who were more forthcoming with information. The licensing department sent me a pdf containing licensing advice for organizing a charity event.

Next I looked at a possible route which I visualized using Google Maps:
View Fun Run in a larger map

For the next part of my research into the feasibility of this event, I went to those who I would want to encourage to participate in the event, the supporters of both clubs. To do this, I posted messages and polls on the forums they used most frequently to discuss their teams. The results were not encouraging with only a third of supporters stating they thought this was a good idea.

The comments from both teams' supporters were generally in agreement that such an event would result in violence between the two fans, with one typical Aston Villa supporter comment saying:
don't go on dragons den with that will ya!!!!!!!

I'm out!!
while Birmingham City supporters made comments ranging from the generally positive:
It could be hilarious - the sight of several hundred angels and demons having a dust up before the game. :DGood luck with it mate - not sure it would be allowed on a derby day TBH.
Whilst I admire your desire to do some good, I really dont see this as a good idea, for many reasons, chief one being the huge ill feeling between the two clubs. 
The forums did provide some useful feedback such as this from the Aston Villa forum:
 Good idea, I think the security of it would be questioned by the police and city council, plus, route, marshalling, road closures, insurances, first aid etc etc. Having been involved in the organisation of one of the largest charity runs in Sutton Park, I can tell you they are sticklers (and rightly so) when it comes to making sure those kinds of t's are crossed and i's dotted. All the best.
 Obviously there is some interest but the general consensus was that the idea would be a non-starter due to the threat of violence between the two sets of fans from a deep rooted animosity. One actually pointed out that if I was a Villa or City supporter, I would never have suggested it.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Almost Going Live

Well, the Birmingham Budget Cuts is almost ready to go live and what a hectic few days it has been to get everything up and running.
As well as finalizing the concept, implementing our vision meant undergoing a very steep learning curve but ultimately this has been a very satisfying project.
Working with fellow student Hedy Korbee, we decided on a clear and simple name for the site, to maximize search engine placement and clearly define what the site content would be.
We then had to choose which blogging system to use. Initially we were going to use Wordpress but opted instead for Blogger as it offered more flexibility in coding and customization options for free with no financial outlay. Using Wordpress would have required us to register a domain name and pay for hosting the blog ourselves.
I managed to find and customize a newspaper style template for the blog and after deciding what categories our news items would come under, we began submitting sample stories to check that the system worked and looked clear and easy to navigate.
An ongoing feature of the site is an interactive Google Map showing where the cuts in Birmingham are located and also a live blogging and video feature, which we will be using this coming Tuesday and Wednesday to cover the London demonstration and George Osborne's speech respectively. For this we are using the Cover It Live and qik services.
To encourage interactivity and also make the general public aware of our website, we set up Twitter and Facebook accounts and will be using the hashtag #brumcuts on Wednesday to make it easy for people to find and comment on Tweets related to our news content.
We really hope that we get your support in this venture and would be grateful if you would become part of the community we are trying to build up to discuss, scrutinize and examine these cuts to ensure the truth and implications of the forthcoming cuts are clear to everyone.
So why not take a few minutes to look at the site, follow us on Twitter and join the Facebook site. We look forward to welcoming you on board what could be journey over rough seas for those affected by the cuts.