Update: my nomination has been accepted. I found it pretty difficult to cut down this blog and all the feedback into 100 words, but you can see what I submitted on their website.
Update 2: one of the items on tonight’s (unannounced) agenda is a memorandum to government by Manchester Digital. Here’s the proposed spiel. If you want to discuss it before the meeting, check out this public Google Wave I’ve set up.
Update 3: I’ve been elected! Here’s the full list.
Next week, I’ll be making a bid for the Manchester Digital council, the 12-member governing body for the Manchester Digital Association.
But how many of you have actually heard of – or from – Manchester Digital?
In their own words, Manchester Digital “is the independent trade association for the thriving digital sector in the North West of England”.
I believe it is essential to have a strong, representative and campaigning trade association that is relevant to everyone in the “digital sector”. That includes big digital business, SMEs, microbusinesses and freelancers. But it also includes the network of digital user groups and interest groups that are a vast, but often hidden part of the north west digital community.
So far, it seems that Manchester Digital has not been successful in representing the full diversity of digital sector which has evolved in Manchester.
If Manchester Digital does truly seek to represent the rapidly changing digital sector then it must change with it. If I’m elected to the council, I will work to massively improve Manchester Digital’s external communications and bring about a more collaborative approach to its work.
It’s important for Manchester Digital to better represent everyone because of their unique relationship with bodies like the Manchester Digital Development Agency, local and regional authorities and because of their national representative role. These bodies help set policy on digital business in the north west and are sources of potential funding for digital activities and it’s essential that they get to hear about everything that goes on in the diverse digital sector.
Electing me will bring lessons I’ve learned from helping organise the successful Social Media Café events to Manchester Digital. The events are free, run entirely by volunteers and are now the lynchpin of a network with over 550 members. To me, this suggests that successful networks don’t require paid-for staff to run them.
Previous relevant experience includes being elected a trustee for three years of a large membership-led charity with a turnover of £5 million, including serving as chair of trustees for a year. Since then, I’ve worked in digital communications, primarily in the public sector in both technical and non-technical roles.
I believe opening up Manchester Digital’s communications, connecting with existing digital communities in the north west and building a series of free events are the keys to expanding membership, promoting collaboration and, most importantly, making Manchester Digital more relevant to all of the digital sector it seeks to represent.
In that spirit, I’m opening up my manifesto to you.
Your thoughts and comments on this blog post will help shape what I put forward in my meagre 100-word statement for election. More importantly, I hope it will start a discussion around the role and the future of Manchester Digital which, if elected, I will take forward as my agenda for you on the council.
I want your advice and suggestions around the following themes. I have thoughts of my own around each, which I will be happy to discuss in the comments.
- How can we improve Manchester Digital’s communications?
- Do you have a clear idea of who Manchester Digital are, and who they’re for?
- What are the benefits of Manchester Digital to members and the wider digital community?
- Do you feel part of a Manchester Digital community?
- What communities could Manchester Digital plug-in to, support or help create with its influence?
- Should Manchester Digital represent you?
- Have you attended any Manchester Digital or MD-supported events?
- What sort of events could Manchester Digital put on, or support through other networks?
- Would a regular Manchester Digital meetup add to, or detract from/conflict with other types of meetup that already exist?
- Are you aware that the Big Chip awards are run by Manchester Digital?
Feedback and comment on any other aspect of Manchester Digital that you feel should be in my manifesto would be more than welcome.
The deadline for nominations is 5pm, 13 May so get posting and tell me what you think needs to change so that Manchester Digital can represent everyone it should.