One of the things to emerge from last Friday’s launch of 4IP here in the West Midlands is that Channel 4 & Screen West Midlands intend to launch a social media network for those interested in applying to the fund. During the announcement of this I put out a tweet asking why we needed one imposed; shouldn’t the existing community build its own? The response was very much why do we need one at all?
However, we do need something to improve connectivity in the digital sector as many of the companies in the room that day that I knew are simply not part of the existing network of bloggers and tweeters that has been building up over the last 12-18 months.
My guess at the thinking in C4’s head is that they would build something similar to www.38minutes.co.uk, a site for Scottish/Northern Irish digital creatives to come together and discuss 4IP. Go take a look – it already has 300+ individual members and 45 groups/companies. It looks superb to me at first glance and the discussions have high level input from C4. In fact it’s further proof that although the West Mids were announced as the first 4IP region the Scots/Irish seem ahead of the game. That’s due in no small part to the energy and talents of their new 4IP commissioner Ewan McIntosh (go read his thinking behind 38 minutes). We do have more cash to spend apparently in the West Midlands (£10m) so perhaps there’s some consolation there but we really need to get going with connecting and collaborating.
Which brings me back to: should the digital sector just go ahead and build its own digital social media network? Is that a difficult thing to do? Would A DIY solution better demonstrate to C4 that we’re well up for 4IP and raring to go?