In a city almost all the of its coffee houses with WiFi offer internet for FREE, you should find bloggers community, and in a country where 82.5% of the population is going online, you should find blogs readers
The blogospher of Birmingham gives a mild reflection to its lifestyle, which is full of trade and culture. Visiting one of Brums blogs lists, introduces you to many entrepreneurs bloggers, who seem to take a considerable share of the blogosphere, this actually makes sense, as the competitiveness between manufacturers pushes them to use all possible tools(ncluding social media) to market their products. Besides, 21% of internet users in the country are between 25 to 34 years (Source: IAB UK,2008), they should be engaged with their careers and using their technological knowledge to promote them.
Birmingham bloggers are obviously building and maintain a good network; many social gatherings take place to bring them together, along with others who are interested in social media. In the last week of every month a meeting over a free coffee is hosted Social Media café, the second week of every month a meeting is organized somewhere by Paradise Circus, and every month, at least one session of learning exchange is hold in the city.
The good thing here is that these networking activities are happening offline, this should increase the opportunity of collaboration, Central Birmingham Social Media Surgery is a good example on what a blogger community could offer to society when they take their laptops and share their virtual life with others, who are not as involved in digital activities as them.
Another good feature in the blogging scene is the investment of this growing network for the good of the world, in a non digital form, something like Twestival last March could be a promising start to many events for charities (they manage to collect £1951 for the sake of nonprofits worldwide).
Now we may think Brums bloggers are actively finding each others online through social media utilities, but what surprised me is the unpopularity of their virtual community centers; as in Facebook, there are merely 2 groups for Birmingham bloggers, one has roughly 300 members, 24 of them (12%) are admins!, the other is Jewellery Quarter Birmingham Bloggers Society, which is ‘essentially a loose network of bloggers that refer to each others blogs and websites’ as its founder (David Louis) told me. However it has 29 members only. Twitter did a better job in bringing micro/bloggers together for meet ups (the upcoming one is on Thursday!).
Birmingham blogging scene sounds more local than national, people are often blogging about themselves, their talents (music has a strong presence), their business, their villages, their neighborhoods, and the city as a whole. Projects such as Talk Local might be encouraging for localizing the blogosphere. It‘s not at all common to find politics of the UK discussed by Brum bloggers, this sounds like all Brits don’t do think about politics while blogging, Loughborough University made an analysis f web logs during the 2005 British general election , it showed that blogs had no impacts on the electoral campaigns, what make the researcher consider ‘ blogging in the UK is in its infancy’.
However, bloggers of Birmingham seem to be interactive, you find them initiating projects based on people contributions, or on people’s actions and reactions, one of these interactive initiatives (4am Project) was even nominated last year for Online Campaign for the Midlands Media Awards. And most recently, the blog’s feature of interactivity was used for a virtual protest on the government financial policy with disabled. For a moment I thought people in Birmingham prefer reading blogs, rather than editing it!
Birmingham blogosphere could be described as ‘growing’, if bloggers were not enough popular, a big enterprise like Cadbury was not to create a blog, a big party the Conservative was not to blog (and even show David Cameron’s picture with his wife and baby girl!), both Cabdury and Conservatives are seeking popularity and already have websites.
When I was reading blogs from Birmingham, I expected to see some blogs in Urdu or Hindi as a huge number of citizens here (different generations) are Indians and Pakistanis. Also wished to recognize some British mummy bloggers from Birmingham!