This experimental collaborative mindmap event ran on Thurs 11 June 2009.


MDOT small


It was the brainchild of Fazeley tenant Karl Binder of Adhere Creative. When I first talked to him about the idea of a digital festival, I wanted to hold an event with a useful outcome and an experimental format, something that provided genuinely useful ideas and action points on how we use social media. Then Karl thought, what if we didn’t just come up with new ideas, but a whole new way of generating ideas and so the interactive mindmap event was born.

Everyone that I spoke to about this event was amazingly supportive and enthusiastic and I got in touch with four top speakers all with a unique take on the issue signed up to speak:

Marc Reeves: Editor of the Birmingham Post (@marcreeves)
Jon Hickman: BCU Lecturer and course convenor of the Social Media MA that has attracted national attention (@jonhickman)
Dave Harte: Digital Birmingham, blogger (@daveharte)
Jaki Booth:: Representing the relative twitter novice (@parboo)

Social media heavyweights Chris Unitt (Meshed Media) and Nick Booth (Podnosh) also agreed to do some live blogging. Meanwhile Alex Hughes and Matt Buck from Drawnalism were our resident cartoonists and did some great sketches onto a huge ideas wall which can now be seen on our flickr group:

Here is the crux of it:


A large interactive event to highlight the benefits of a social media community and how it can cross over from a virtual world to the physical world. Two ways of developing ideas are face to face in a room: here ideas happen quicker and action points are usually agreed in good time – or on a larger scale opening a forum to a larger audience, most likely online: here ideas are far more varied due to the larger amount of people who can get involved. Can we harness the benefits of both to spark a series of innovative and ground breaking project concepts..?

The process:

1. The Physical Crowd/map –

A large white wall. In the centre of the wall, the theme: “my dad’s on twitter but he doesn’t know why”. The four panelists had ten minutes each to brainstorm on why we use social media and how we could use it to better advantage, for ourselves or for our communities. At the end of this 10 minutes the audience have 10 minutes to ask questions, get up and write on the wall or shout things that they want added.

2. The virtual crowd/map:

At the same time the event is videostreamed onto the web we have bloggers and tweeters sending out all our thoughts. We invite online followers to feed back into the event with their own thoughts and contributions. This could takes the discussion national or even international.

3. Further discussion –

Post event, people started drawing on the wall and adding to it. We still have the wall up and running in studio 36 and we now have a site to store blogs and comments along with the full video footage of the event

In the next posts I’ll be thinking about what worked and what didn’t work and adding updates with new information about what’s come from the event.

At the close of the festival, we’ll then go through all the comments, drawings, videos and slides to see what we can draw from the experience and whether we can come away with some useful action points on developing the city’s virtual networks.


  1. Out and About (part 2) | Alex Hughes Cartoons and Caricatures Says:

    […] of the event,  Jon Hickman (and the response from Karl Binder), usual suspect Dave Harte (again), reflections (part 2), another Flickr set, and, finally, the wall in more […]

  2. Happy customers of Drawnalism « Drawnalism Says:

    […] and academic Jon Hickman has a nice round up of the event here and here as do event organisers, Fazeley […]

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