Thursday, 12 April 2012

Anyone for teacamp?

***UPDATE***: the inaugural #teacampscotland will take place at Spoon on Nicolson Street, Edinburgh (across the road from the Festival Theatre) on Thursday, 17 May from 4pm - 6pm.  No booking required - just turn up! (First order of business: coming up with a better hashtag!)

Probably not a week goes by without me getting a little pang of that ‘wishing I still lived in London’ thing. It’s usually because there’s a show on or an exhibition that I really want to see. But it’s also because of teacamp. As the website says: teacamps are “regular meetups of gov/non gov digerati in a cafe over a cup of tea. Teacamps are informal and you can just turn up”. The first teacamp took place in February 2008, not long after I left London (I don’t think they waited for me to go...). The original teacamp is still going strong, regional teacamps have sprung up, and recently, specialist teacamps have started to appear.

And the pang is quite strong this week because the topic of discussion at today's teacamp is social media guidance – something that I know more than a little about, having been writing some for the Scottish Government for what feels like a short lifetime (but that’s for another blog post!). 

I made an attempt to start something similar up here a couple of years back, but there wasn’t much interest at the time. But after a tweet from Gordon Hunt (Ayr Campus Director and University Librarian at the University of the West of Scotland), I’m giving it some further thought.

There are issues though. 

Location, location, location! Teacamp takes place in Cafe Zest in House of Fraser on Victoria Street – which is really only a stones throw from many of the big government department headquarters. There isn’t really an equivalent location in Scotland. Even in Edinburgh, Scottish Government and agency offices are spread all over the city. Would Glasgow folk come to Edinburgh, or vice versa? And what about the rest of our wee country - which is actually not always that easy to get around! I guess maybe the answer is not worry about it too much - set something up where people are interested and if someone wants one somewhere else there's nothing to stop them.

Gordon and I may see a need, but does anyone else? It’s not that there aren’t already opportunities for government/wider public sector/people who live in the real world to get together to talk digital stuff in Scotland. I’ve already blogged (twice!) about the amazing stuff that’s starting to happen here. We’ve recently had two very successful Tartan TweetMeets in multiple locations and we’ve just re-booted the Scottish Public Sector Digital Group. But neither of those does quite what teacamp does.

The nearest equivalent may be the ‘coffee mornings'. Edinburgh Coffee Morning (#Edcm) which takes place at Centotre on George Street early every Friday morning, is probably the most successful, but there are others. There are a few public sector folk (and people who work with the public sector) who attend, but the focus is on general geekery rather than public sector geekery. And us government types aren’t always comfortable in that sort of environment.

So what do you think? Would you be interested in attending a Scottish teacamp/s? If so, where? And would you want to help set something up?


TheBuddster said...

You are not alone!

I get the envy too when I hear about the social activities around social media down south.
#SPSDG was my first unconference and I loved meeting other localgov bods doing similar projects and facing similar issues. I haven't been able to attend either of the Tartan Tweet Meets so far but won't miss a third one!
I'd be more than happy to help set a Scottish teacamp up. There are a load of venues in Edinburgh but would also be willing to travel to another city.

Lel said...

Thanks Graham. So, that's 3 of us :)

JTLib said...

Count me in as a fourth and happy to help where I can.

EllaTasm said...

Yes. I'm interested

Rob Stewart said...

I'm in Edinburgh that day. I'll try to make it along.

Alex said...

This sounds great but I'm out of Edinburgh that day. :(

I'll watch my twitter feed for the next one.


James Coltham said...

Very late hearing about this, but I'll be there.