• Mainly about engagement and collaboration using social media and events, with some asides on living in London. More about David Wilcox and also how the blog started.
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Interesting report, David. I've been wanting to post about Facebook + Politics for a while, so I've taken this as a "leaping off" point:


Reading back over your post, I think the contrast between politics of the individual, and of the social group, is a hugely important one - you mention a lack of hosting, for example, but is there less need for such schemes if attendees are gathered via - and arrive in - their social groups? Is it then better to keep them together, or split them up? Furthermore, does this change the main forms of participation in political issues more generally?

I must admit I've not had much experience with these things, so apologies if I've overlooked things which seem obvious, or have been covered in depth already...

As the host and the chair for the night I think I have to put my hand up for both those failings. Sorry I didn't call on you to speak, I was trying to be fair but I obviously missed you.

I am also responsible for the lack of introductions when you arrived. We did have pretty much all of our web team on the table by the door to say hello to everyone and make some old-fashioned physical connections but I would agree this was not followed through with hosts introducing guests to each other. Sounds like a great idea and next event I do, I promise to try something like that. I can't say I have ever seen it done myself but I like it.

As for the format of the night, two things were in play. The first was that it was an evening event and most people would have come from work so we decided against workshop style stuff as just too demanding on the audience after a hard day at work. Secondly the seating had a lot to do with the layout used during the day by Colombian Trade Unionists and our very short turnaround time (not that you could have known that!).

I'm really glad you enjoyed the speakers. I thought they were really great too. And the wi fi - well let's just say that that was a little miracle and that even the simplest things sometimes take a lot of work.

This was a first step for us in lots of ways and your feedback will help us make each one of these events we do that little bit better.

Thanks, Damian

Graham - thanks. On physical hosting - because people came from a Facebook group doesn't mean they know each other. In fact, Facebook could do with some improvements on that front too. Your wider point is interesting ... when people sign up to a campaign FB group they are usually acting as individuals. They may or may not develop into a community.
If you have joined a political party, or older-style campaign, you might expect to share some ideas and values with others, and maybe discuss them. Flash campaigns online aren't quite the same thing. So do they have less validity?

Damian - thanks. I thought it would be logistics, not attitude:-) I know it can be really difficult to get these things right - and people differ in their preferences for meetings formats. I guess my bottom line is that I like to feel we are being encouraged and helped to talk to each, as well as the top table. I'll look for more opportunities to connect with the campaign and Amnesty

As I said during the event, I tried to make my comments brief because I like the give and take of questions.

Feel free to brashly walk up and introduce yourself next time. I think all of us feel the same way about introductions and meeting people, even those of us at the 'top table'.

Thanks for the write up.

Kevin Anderson
Guardian Blogs Editor

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