What issues need tackling at our big debate about Manchester’s digital future?

Our May event, looking at Manchester’s digital future is fast approaching, and we want to make sure it covers the right issues.

Core to Manchester’s digital future is the Greater Manchester Growth Plan, while Manchester City Council recently outlined its ‘ambitious plans for a digital city‘. These will be good starting points for the discussion, and we will of course be opening up the debate to the floor for questions and comments from the audience, but what issues are important to you?

Please leave comments below this post and we’ll draw on them when we’re planning the flow of the debate.

Interest in this event has been enormous, and we’re already at full capacity, but we’ll open up more free tickets as and when we can. It takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Manchester city centre on Tuesday 15 May from 6.30pm. You can add yourself to the waiting list here.

Image credit: Marek

Manchester: A Digital Future – Join the debate at our May event

For May, we’re making a one-off change from our regular format to shift to mid-month for a special event. Read on for details, and how to register to attend.

As part of the FutureEverything festival, #smc_mcr in association with CityCo hosts a discussion looking at Manchester’s digital future. The panel represents opinions from policy makers, business and the broader digital community.

Manchester has an opportunity to become a leading connected, digital city, but there are many challenges ahead if we are to make this a reality.

Recently, Manchester was awarded money from central government to begin the process of implementing a fast data infrastructure for citizens and businesses alike. There have been several recent reports such as the Greater Manchester Growth Review, The Manchester Digital Strategy and Manchester Digital Agenda that propose ways that the city, and the Greater Manchester region will be able to fulfil its potential.

How will these plans benefit the people and businesses of the city? And will this offer a fair and sustainable future for the city? The appetite and ideas are there, but can Manchester lead digitally in the 21st Century?

To attend, please register for a free ticket.

Alex Roy – Head of Research, Commission for the New Economy
Dave Carter – Director, Manchester Digital Development Agency
Erinma OchuDirector, Squirrel Nation
Dave Mee – Director, Manchester Digital Laboratory (Madlab)
Tim Roberts  – Director, i-COM

Chair – Martin Bryant – Managing Editor, The Next Web

Date: Tuesday 15th May
Time: 18:30 -20:30
Venue: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shudehill, Manchester

Image credit: Andy Buckingham

Join us at SMC_MCR on 3 April (and why not give a talk?)

For April’s SMC_MCR we’re returning to our roots by meeting at the venue we began at all the way back in 2008 – The Northern on Tib Street.

We’ve also decided to opt for an ‘old school’ format for this month’s event. 6 talks, running across two sessions, so you get to pick two talks to listen to during the evening.

Talks can be up to 20 minutes long about any topic related to the Internet, social media or technology. The only thing off limits is gratuitous self-promotion! 🙂 If you’d like to talk, please fill in the form below and we’ll be in touch.

Even if you don’t want to speak, do come along for what’s sure to be an interesting and enjoyable evening. Please let us know that you’ll be coming along by signing up on our Lanyrd page.

Venue: The Northern: 56 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LW
Time: 6pm-9pm
Date: 3 April 2012
Entry is free, as usual.

Image via The Northern

Join us for SMC_MCR March: Tell us something really interesting in 5 minutes

For March’s SMC_MCR, we’re taking a different format to usual – a series of fast-paced 5-minute talks

You may have heard of Pecha Kucha or Ignite events, and this is along the same lines – people sharing something interesting related to social media or digital culture in a talk that’s strictly five minutes long. To differentiate ourselves from those events, we’re making slides optional – but the five minutes time limit is strict.

What can you tell us about? Any interesting technology, any online social movement, any online trend, any innovative digital project you’re involved in or anything else you want to share – come along and tell us about it. The only thing off-limits is promotional talks for commercial enterprises.

We should have an inspiring evening, learning about… well, that’s up to you. (Scroll down for what has already been booked, then get in touch and add your name and idea).

If you’d like give a talk, email us right away: admin AT socialmediamanchester.net

If you’d like to attend (whether speaking or just coming along to watch), add your name to our Lanyrd page. See you there!

SMC_MCR takes place: 6pm – 9pm, Tuesday 6 March 2012.

Venue: Matt & Phreds, 64 Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

Here are some of the ideas we have so far:

  • The strange world of Twitter bots.
  • Love in the wild.
  • Turing’s Sunflowers.

Get in touch and add yours to the list!

Image credit: Jason Cartwright

Join us at the next SMC_MCR, 7 February 2012 at Lammars

After an intimate fireside meetup in January, SMC_MCR returns to its regular format in February, and we’re at a different venue.

We’ve got two talks already lined up for you, and space for two more. Already booked, we have:

Where are they now?Martin Bryant, SMC_MCR co-founder and Managing Editor at The Next Web, talks about the ‘next big things’ of the past. From Myspace, Bebo and Friends Reunited to more quirky and obscure offerings. What happened to them and the people who built them?

Perceptive Media – BBC Perceptive Media takes storytelling back to something more aligned to a storyteller and a audience around a fire. It uses Internet technologies and sensibility to create something closer to a personal theatre experience in your living room. The BBC’s Ian Forrester explains more.

Have you got something you’d like to talk about? We have two slots free for this event, so email us: admin AT socialmediamanchester.net with details of what you’d like to discuss. We’re flexible about the topic – as long as it’s about digital innovation or social media and isn’t a sales pitch we want to hear about it!

SMC_MCR takes place: 6pm – 9pm, Tuesday 7 February 2012.

Venue: Lamarrs Restaurant & Bar, 57 Hilton Street, Manchester, M1 2EJ

Sign up on Lanyrd here So we know how many to expect.

See you there!

Image credit: Hober

Join us for a meet-up at the Britons Protection on 3 January 2012

As has become traditional, our January meeting will be a low-key post-Christmas meet-up in the Britons Protection pub, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester city centre.

We won’t have any programmed events, just suitably social chat about technology, social media and more.

We’ll be there on Tuesday 3 January from 6.30pm onwards. Seek us out in the rooms on the far side of the bar from the door. If you can’t make it, we’ll see you on 7 February when we’ll be back to normal – details of that event will follow soon.

[Image credit: Adam Bruderer]


The internet is a cruel place

December’s SMC_MCR – Nigel Barlow

Paul Stokes,co founder of the Daily Mash,was the guest of honour at the third anniversary meeting of Manchester’s social media cafe last week.

The Daily Mash can claim to be the UK’s first satirical website,launched by former Scotsman business editor Stokes and Neil Rafferty,a former political correspondent for the Sunday Times
Stokes told the audience at the Northern Quarter’s Matt and Phred’s that the Mash started as a a way to stop him getting fired from the traditional media.

Launched in 2007,nine people now write for the Mash which tries to publish four to five spoof stories a day.

Stokes described his site as “ a joke delivery system” or “the press association in a parallel universe”

Has he had much problem with libel? Well he answered,”we have never had to take a story down and only once were we threatened with being sued”

Indeed,added the co-founder,”with libel the things you get sued for are not what you would expect to be sued adding another piece of advice “never compare anyone to Hitler”

Surprisingly as least to some members of the audience,the interaction of social media is something that the site has tended to shy away from.Instead it is simply used as a broadcast system.

The secret to their success? being funny about topical stuff because people are already talking about it and would like to add some humour to their conversation.

But as Stokes adds,”the internet is a cruel place….you will soon find out if you are not funny”

We are three and its Christmas

It’s Christmas and our third birthday all rolled up into one and to celebrate, we invite you all to join us at Matt and Phred’s on Tib Street for the SMC_MCR Christmas/third birthday get together/knees up.

To complement the usual SMC goodness, we will be hosting a talk by Paul Stokes, publisher and co-founder of popular satirical news site, The Daily Mash.

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The University of Salford showcases digital creativity this Saturday

The University of Salford is holding a “celebration of the latest in digital entertainment and creativity” called Believe at its new MediaCityUK site on Saturday 12 November.

Works on show will include:

  • Lowry to Life. This is described as an ambitious digital re-imagining of LS Lowry’s Piccadilly Gardens painting. Members of the public walking through Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre on Saturday 12 November can literally become part of the art as special motion capture technology will transfer their movements to Lowry characters shown on a giant projection of the painting at MediaCityUK, so the picture will come to life with moving men, women and children.
  • A chance to star in the BBC’s Dinosaur Planet thanks to green screen technology.
  • A spectacular 3D film of digital dancers, courtesy of renowned Austrian art technology group Ars Electronica,

SMC_MCR: Exploring the #Occupy movement, 1 November at Matt & Phreds

This Tuesday, 1 November sees November’s SMC_MCR take place, and we’re looking at one of the most interesting, and perhaps the most important, social developments of the year – the #Occupy movement.

From OccupyWallSt to the protests around the world that have followed, we’ll look at what has spurred this new type of protest to form, where it could lead and what it means for the future of society. Panelists will include the University of Salford’s Helen Keegan, whose work explores the impact of online networks. More panelists are to be confirmed.

Please sign up to our Lanyrd event page to confirm your attendance (so we have an idea of numbers). See you there!

Venue: Matt & Phreds, Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

Doors, 6pm, starts 6.30pm

[Image credit: Silveira Neto]