Open thread: Lib Dem internetty meetup thing

A few years ago, a group of us decided to organise a Liberal Drinks at federal conference in Brighton. We were building on James Graham’s simple but successful model: nominate a pub, decide a date, publicise it; then have convivial chats with whoever turns up. In Brighton, we followed the same model, deciding on that nice-but-tiny real-ale place near the station. We arrived, a small but respectable number of people turned up, chatted the night away, and at some point moved on to a Chinese restaurant in the vicinity before winding up back at the conference bar. A good time was had by all.

At the end of the night, a general view was expressed that it might be nice to do something similar outwith conference time, and maybe outwith London.

Wind forward a few years, and Jonathan Calder asks as part of a blog post

[is there] scope for a different event at Conference? One idea that attracts me is a blogging clinic where people can come along and ask advice or share ideas in person.

It is obviously too late to do anything for this year, but perhaps another year?

One final thing to throw into the pot before starting to ask the questions is the idea of an “unconference“: a sort of anarchic conference where what happens is decided by the participants. I went to one of these in Nottingham recently, which looked at the Digital Britain report. They provided a venue with a number of rooms, and people planning to come volunteered to run sessions on their areas of expertise. One of the rooms was designated a “blogger’s creche” – and the venue supplied the wifi, the participants brought a variety of their own gadgets. Indeed, by the time you read this I will be up in Bradford at Photocamp 09 – a very similar idea, it seems.

Munge all three of these ideas together, and I think you have the nub of a good idea that we as Lib Dem bloggers and netty people could do. We could meet, for a day, exchange ideas, share our skills with each other, end up in the pub or other hostelry.

So far, so good. But there are a lot of questions to answer first, so I thought I would throw it open for discussion.

Where should we hold it? London or {not-London}? There are lots of people in London, and it’s easy to get to from everywhere, but us provincial types resent da capital a bit. If we had it out in the sticks somewhere, would people come? Would people come, anyway?

What venue? Ideally we need the use of a place with several large rooms, all with free wifi. A coffee urn never goes amiss. LDV could probably spring for a couple of hundred pounds, but that doesn’t usually buy a nice place or one with an internet connection, or one in London – at least not the easily accessible bits. Is there maybe an MP’s office somewhere that might fit the bill? Perhaps we could combine it with a meatspace activity day quid pro quo?

When? Initial suggestions seem to be – have an informal chat at conference, and try to arrange something for October or November. Is a Saturday OK? Anything we should avoid?

What content?
Is there something you want to discuss, or a session you want to lead? (I’ve half a mind on a session called The Birth of Lib Dem Radio)

Further details, my friends, are up to you. What do you think?

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This entry was posted in Events and Online politics.


  • Helen Duffett 5th Sep '09 - 2:28pm

    Lots of people have been asking about bloggers’ clinics and offline meets. A good mixture would consist of discussion and practical sessions, eg sharing podcasting/video/website skills.

    I’d also stress making it accessible for experienced and new bloggers alike.

  • Gareth Epps 5th Sep '09 - 7:38pm

    I have a venue in Reading which would fit the bill for an ‘unconference’. Reading has even better train links than Oxford. I’d be happy (and suspect colleagues would) to be further involved in the ‘unorganisation’.

2 Trackbacks

  • By Top of the Blogs: The Golden Dozen #133 on Mon 7th September 2009 at 7:46 pm.

    […] Open thread: Lib Dem internetty meetup thing by Alex Foster on Lib Dem Voice. “Alex Foster proposes a Lib Dem unconference, LibCamp, […]

  • By Lib Dem Bloggers Unconference – sign up now on Thu 15th October 2009 at 3:01 pm.

    […] Some weeks ago we asked for your initial views about a “Lib Dem internetty meet up thing.” […]

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