My Dad is definitely not on Twitter


About a year ago I was talking to some work colleagues about an event that was taking place about social media. “It’ll be full of the usual suspects,” I said. “But Dave,” they responded, “you are a usual suspect.”

I suspect that’s how I’m viewed – a usual suspect. Truth is I don’t actually attend that many events. Birmingham Social Media Cafe maybe from time to time but little else. In the last few weeks though I’m aware that I seem to be all over the place. I pitched up at West by West Midlands 2, I chaired a debate about cinema exhibition and most recently I’ve been explaining why my poor dead Dad (30 years gone this year) isn’t on twitter.

You can read elsewhere about the mindmap idea behind the event ‘My Dad’s on Twitter but he doesn’t know why’ at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth. I think I gave a rather dour speech about how Twitter seems to come with a whole set of unwritten rules that puts newcomers off and can be intimidating for organisations. Tolerance towards people’s mistakes was my request. Some useful points were made from the audience. One of them took me to task about my argument that digital doesn’t archive as well as analogue. Digital captures conversation, was his response and what a rich seam to mine that would prove to future historians.

The second half of my talk touched on the Internet of Things. No-one really picked up on this despite my fab example of GusandPenny, the tweeting cat flap. My argument here is simple. Once Twitter gets filled up with objects, rather than people, we’ll realise how dull we are in comparison and how our unwritten rules were naive at best. A Twitter of Things is coming I declared – I’m not sure anyone believed me.

An enjoyable evening overall, some sharp questions from an engaged audience and some drawing to boot.

Fazeley Studios Digital Festival continues throughout next week.

Another walk through Birmingham

This might develop into an occasional series as and when I take it upon myself to use my legs to get me from meeting to meeting rather than use the car or public transport.

This walk is from Jewellery Quarter to Fazeley Studios, Digbeth: 1.9 miles, allow 30 – 40 mins.


View Larger Map

You can track the walk on the map which has some pics I took along the way attached. Here are some additional observations:

  • I actually started the walk from my workplace, B1 building but as it’s opposite the lovely Spring Hill library. I’d recommend the casual walker to begin there. It’s on the number 8 circular route or numbers 82, 87, 88 from the city centre.
  • Be careful where Legge Lane meets Frederick street. There’s no traffic lights and the road is quite busy to cross. Note the blue plaque to Joseph Gillott, pen maker, on the building on the left after you’ve crossed.
  • Don’t go stopping at some city centre Starbucks for a break, try Pickwick’s cafe on Newhall street. Good value sandwiches, soup, jacket potatoes etc. Tell ’em Dave sent you. They won’t have a clue what you’re on about but if enough of you do it it’ll get them thinking.
  • After you go through St Philip’s Cathedral you’ll find yourself on Upper Bull street. Pop into Tempest records. Take time to browse and purchase a record or two. Are they and Swordfish Records on Upper Temple street the only independent record shops left in Birmingham city centre? Are there any other ‘Upper’ streets left in Birmingham on which one could open another?
  • After the scruffy area behind the shops it opens out to the under-development Masshouse area but look to your right to see St Michael’s Church. Services in Polish every Sunday.
  • As I’ve said to many people, Fazeley street is a far more preferable way to get to Digbeth. I like it in its current under-developed state. I’m not sure that the Warwick Bar proposals will ever see the light of day now will they?
  • Even if Fazeley studios isn’t your final destination do peek inside – they won’t mind (tell ’em Dave sent you….). It’s a lovely reception area and even better when you’re there to meet Pete Ashton who’s already got the kettle on.

My journey ended here but for the return route you could get on to the canal or return via Digbeth High street and the city centre. I’ll keep the routes coming as and when I have reason to walk them.