The first social media cafe in the Thames Valley

tvsmc1 The inaugural Thames Valley Social Media Cafe happened on Friday morning when about a dozen people got together at a coffee house in west Reading.

The Workhouse Coffee Company, in fact, home to the best-tasting coffee I’ve drunk anywhere in Reading. No Costa Rican tarrazu on Friday morning but an extremely good Colombian and another blend that owner Greg Costello reckoned was pretty good. He was right.

So the first TVSMC (and “Reading Tuttle” as I’ve seen it referenced) was a pleasant few hours. Excellent to see some familiar faces like Drew Benvie, Steve Lamb, Matt Brady and Adrian Moss and meet some new ones in the flesh as opposed to only virtually via Twitter including Andy Piper, John McGarvey, Nicky Davis and Catherine Wicklow who travelled from Oxford to be part of things.

Catherine has written a terrific post with her impressions of Friday’s get-together, Drew as well; more may appear in the coming days. There’s also the hashtag #tvsmc to track comment on Twitter (and check out the “sentiment meter” for TVSMC with Twendz, a new Twitter tool from US PR agency Waggener Edstrom) and the currently-sparse photos tagged on Flickr.

One amusing aspect of the meeting at Workhouse Coffee was introducing owner Greg to Twitter. As Drew recounts in his post:

[…] we had organised this networking event on a wiki and over Twitter and [Greg] thought it was ridiculous. So a friend of his offered to set up a Twitter account for him there and then. The chosen username? @itsridiculous. Now you can follow Workhouse Coffee.

One aspect I found quite refreshing was no wireless internet connectivity. So no laptops everywhere, just people talking to each other. I’m happy with that but I wonder how happy other people would be with that at every event. Still, if you have your own mobile broadband dongle, it’s no problem wherever you are to get online if you want to.

We didn’t fix a specific date for the next TVSMC which will be sometime in April (I’ll update this post once I know the date). Details will be posted on the sign-up wiki.

A promising start for an event that I hope will become a regular feature for anyone interested in connecting with others where Twitter and a wiki are the primary enabling tools. Given it has “Thames Valley” in its name, maybe TVSMC will eventually become a movable feast: the Thames Valley is a big area.

Wherever it happens, it’s nice coffee culture. Looking forward to the next!

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. London Wedding Photographer

    Interesting to see the virtual world coming together in reality – it is refreshing to see social media promoting real life meetings. Wonder if there is anything like this happening in my neck of the woods in Surrey.

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