Devon Social Media Cafe

Using social media tools to make Plymouth better

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It’s hard to think that’s it almost a month since we hosted our first discussion evening. Ash Mashadi presented his idea of how we could all work together to promote how much we #LovePlymouth – and there was a lot of enthusiasm about it. Luke Pollard guest blogged on the topic for, an article subsequently appeared in the Herald and there is now even a Facebook page!

This month the discussion moves on from how we can use social media to promote Plymouth to how we can use social media to improve the lives of people in Plymouth. We’re really pleased that Edward McCaughan will be helping us out on this journey. Using examples such as freecycle, mysociety and others, including his own recently launched idlelibrary, Edward will show how web-based tools can help us to improve our city, solve problems and generally make things happen without the need to wait for it to be mandated by any particular powers that be.

So come and join us for an enlightening hour of talk and discussion about what tools we’re already using, what works elsewhere, and what we could be using more effectively. Who knows, we might even crowdsource some new tools or apps!!

We look forward to seeing you at Stanley Casino on Wednesday 25th May – 7 for a 7.30 start.

Many thanks to Heather Smalldon for the photo.


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23 May 2011 at 1:29 pm

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How Plymouth can become a social media powerhouse

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It’s clear to us that most of the people who come along to our events love Plymouth. But we also have discussions about how we could make the city better. Unsurprisingly everyone who comes along seems to love social media too! And we often discuss what we can do to get others involved. But could we think really big? Can we turn our love for Plymouth and social media into something amazing? Whether we use social media as individuals, businesses, charities, community groups, or the public sector (ok – this is currently rare in Plymouth!) we could all do something to make Plymouth a social media powerhouse.

For the first of our new discussion events Ash Mashadi (@inplymouth) from will be challenging us all to think big about social media – and we’ll be thinking about what we can do turn Plymouth into a social media powerhouse.

Be at the start of something big – help to define the conversation – and join us…

  • Where: Stanley Casino
  • When: Wednesday 27th April – bar open from 6, discussion starts at 6.30
We look forward to seeing you there

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25 April 2011 at 8:33 am

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What next for Devon Social Media Cafe?

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Over the last eighteen months, since Devon Social Media Cafe got going, a lot has changed. There are a lot more people using social media locally. The online to offline principle is becoming increasingly adopted, and we are seeing all sorts of local social media inspired meet ups happening. Social media is also developing.

When we were set up, the intention was to move around the county, this has not really happened. In reality we have become rooted in Plymouth and the surrounding areas. We are aware of similar things happening in Exeter, Totnes and Topsham – and soon to be in Torbay. We know of groupings that have established around design and another around lunch.

We have always battled with where, when and what. We have been asked to have them on different nights and at different venues each month. We’ve been asked for stability of both. We’ve been asked for more formal discussion groups. We’ve been asked to keep it informal. We’ve delivered two PlymTwests (and in doing so have raised over £11,000 for charity) and been the source of other small scale local charitable fundraising activities. We’ve been asked to do more of these things, but at our core there have always been only one or two volunteers (boosted by lots of lovely extra people for PlymTwest events) so we have been limited in what we can do.

So now seemed like a good time for reflection. Should we look at change in the way that DSMC works? How could we build on what we have achieved so far? We thought we should, and have come up with a range of ideas. We’d be really interested to hear what you have to say about them.

We think:

  • What happens in the Plymouth area should have a name that reflects its locality. We’re still thinking – but so far we’ve had PlymSocMed, PlymTweets and PlymChats suggested. We’re open to suggestions that will work well on Twitter as a name and a hashtag as well as being able to be good (possibly if expanded) for FaceBook, LinkedIn, blog, etc. We’ll carry on using Devon Social Media Cafe until we sort this out, then…
  • The name Devon Social Media Cafe should be changed to Social Media Devon, and used to promote all the different social media focussed events around the county, focusing on those that happen on an ongoing basis and have twitter accounts and/or use hashtags (this will make it easier for us to spot and promote things)
  • That we should see the impact of using a different night of the week, and trying different venues. So we’re going for two events a month for the next few months. As well as the last Wednesday of the month at Stanley Casino, we’re going to be using the second Thursday as well (starting from 14th April at the Treasury)
  • That we should try some more formalised presentation/discussion. This would be happen before the Stanley Casino evenings on the last Wednesday, so people could come from work network, engage and leave; or arrive a bit early, engage chat and saunter off later; or come and join in the whole lot. Basically doors open at 6, presentation/discussion from 6.30-7.15, chill, chat and drink from 7.15 until we naturally wind down (we’ll confirm nearer the time what we will be doing later in April)
  • We should build on the success of PlymTwest to look at how we, as Plymouth’s social media community, are able to come together to do social good, celebrate our city, build new networks/relationships and have a lot of fun

We’d be really interested to hear what you think about all of this – leave comments below, Tweet us, come along to the Treasury on 14th April from 7, or Stanley Casino on 27th April.

And if you’d like to become one of our organising team, please let us know

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7 April 2011 at 12:59 pm

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Application information for Plymouth Twestival Local 2011 charity partner

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Twestival® (or Twitter Festival) is a global fundraising initiative using social media for social good. Twestival is the largest global grassroots media fundraising initiative to date. Through harnessing the power of volunteers and social media, Twestival has raised over £760,000 for 137 good causes since the autumn of 2009. Each Twestival is run on the same date in host cities around the world.

In 2010 a group of local residents who all use social media to develop their businesses, build networks, support good causes and interact with others came across the initiative. Twestival came to Plymouth and we joined in a global campaign to raise money for and awareness of Concern’s education programmes in third world countries. In Plymouth our final fundraising total was over £6,000 – ranking us 13th most successful city in the world, and 3rd in the UK. You can see what we did in Plymouth here . In 2011 Twestival goes local; each host city will be working to support a local charity.

Our experience tells us that there is enormous power in social media. As a group of volunteers we want to harness this for a local good cause, so we are organising the second Plymouth event as part of Twestival Local 2011. We don’t know how much cash we will raise, though we have set ourselves an ambitious target of £10,000 (we can make no guarantees about how much our fundraising total will be). We want to do more than raise the cash, we want to be practical in our support – we want to help raise the local profile of the good cause we support and we want to help it to become even more effective at what it does.

We are offering to give our partner charity every penny of money we raise through ticket sales, fundraising activities and donations (we will ensure that everything we need to raise the money is donated or lent to us so that there are no costs to be taken from the total we achieve) and to offer practical support to our partner charity:
– Up to 2 days consultancy support from Chris Penberthy to ensure you are able to capitalise on the Twestival opportunity – we would like to thank Devonshire Tea for sponsoring this
– If appropriate, advice on e-commerce activity and search engine optimisation from OliveNet
– If needed, design for your social networking pages from local designer Jason Stanley, who has produced the designs for Twestival and Plymouth Twestival
– If wanted, training for your team in use of social media from a member of the Plymouth Twestival team

We are looking for a local charity to support – it could be you! If…
– You are registered as a charity (or not-for profit organisation registered and governed by the law in England & Wales – please contact us if you are not sure whether you qualify)
– You are Plymouth based (not a branch of a larger organisation)
– Your services have a direct benefit on our local community
– You are able to pinpoint a specific use in 2011 for the funds raised by Plymouth Twestival Local (£50 or £100 provides x for y; and by reaching our total goal of £10,000 it will give z to the charity)
You meet our core criteria! It would also be helpful if you are also able to tell us…
– How you already use social media to support your work
– What, other than cash, you would hope to gain from being our charity partner for Plymouth Twestival Local 2011
– Whether there is anything you are able to bring to the table

To apply to be our charity partner please email with a brief description (up to about 200 words) of your work and the information we have asked for above. We need to receive your email by the end of January. The information you give will be used to gain public perception about your nomination between receipt and February 6th. A recommendation to Twestival HQ will be made by the Plymouth Twestival Local 2011 Team by 8th February, and we hope to be able to make an announcement a week later. If you have any questions please email us, and we will do our best to answer them.

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13 January 2011 at 10:14 am

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Plymouth Twestival Local 2011

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It’s that time of year again. Twestival is here, and if you are on twitter you may well have spotted @TwestivalPlym and #PlymTwest beginning to be more visible again.

This year we are keeping Devon Social Media Cafe running throughout the Twestival season – so on the last Wednesday of each month you’ll find us chattering away from 7.30 at Stanley Casino. Do come along and join in, it is always good to meet the people behind the avatars.

It would be great if you are also able to support Plymouth Twestival. Last year we raised over £6,000 and this year we want to do even better. Please consider volunteering, sponsoring, and attending. More information on all of these will come out over the next few weeks, along with details of the local charity we will be supporting. If you want to get involved now, just contact us – we are meeting each week to plan and make things happen.

Plymouth Twestival has a separate blog which is currently being redesigned and will be up and running again soon. We also have a Facebook group – please like us! We will be using Twitter and these for most of the information sharing about Plymouth Twestival – although important news will also be shared here.

Want to know more? Email us at

There are also bound to be people chatting about it at the Devon Social Media Cafe on Wednesday 26th January from 7.30 at Stanley Casino, Union Street, Plymouth – we look forward to seeing you there!

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12 January 2011 at 10:15 am

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