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I woke this morning to a tweet from Joanna Geary suggesting that I “might dispute your first status” – huh? It turns out Desi Velikova is starting an event next month called “London Social Media Cafe” and was tweeting to people: “We’re organising the first London Social Media Cafe and thought you might be interested” – the site refers to the Birmingham and Toronto SMCs as inspiration but makes no direct reference to our work.

Although I was initially riled, once I’d had a coffee and looked through it all again, I saw there was nothing to get hung-up about. As I said, nearly 5 years ago, “I own nothing here”.

Just to set the record straight so no-one has to dig through blogs and wikis or actually talk to someone to find out the answer – the thing that we now call Tuttle or the Tuttle Club started out as the London Social Media Cafe. I wrote about it first on 8th August 2007. In the early days we used a wiki atlondonsocialmediacafe.pbworks.com Soon after people found that #tuttle was much less of a mouthful than #LondonSMC and we got on with the important business of talking to each other, building relationships and having a laugh rather than worrying about what we were called.

Good Luck with it, Desi!

(cross-posted from Perfect Path)

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I’m taking part in this - I’ve written about it here

So I thought we’d move Tuttle over to the Barbican just for the month of August.  Meetup in the foyer, there’s a Costa Coffee and lookout for me and anyone else you might know :)

Probably back to RFH again afterwards, but who knows what opportunities may arise?!

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Finding Us On A Friday

We meet every Friday from 10am to midday-ish at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, 16 Acton St, London WC1X 9NG. Everyone’s welcome.

Searching for #tuttle on twitter will always give you the most up-to-date idea of what’s going on.

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If you’ve been at Tuttle over the past few weeks, you’ll have heard Lloyd talk about the new rota to make sure that the different things that have to happen to enable Tuttle to function each Friday actually get done.

We started off with a sign-up sheet – that’s right, a real piece of paper! – but we’ve now added this as a page on the wiki.

There are six different tasks, although one of those – opening up the building – is usually done by Brian (since he has the keys!). The others are

  • welcome, meet and greet – making sure that newcomers, guests and everyone else is made to feel welcome and comfortable
  • coffee and tea-maker – making sure that there is sufficient coffee and hot water for tea throughout the morning
  • tidying up – making sure that the space is kept tidy and clean
  • announcements – collecting and making the 11am community announcements
  • looking after coffee money – rattling the tin and counting any money donated

Just because you sign up for a task on a particular Friday doesn’t mean that it is your sole responsibility – there are usually lots of people to help make coffee and tidy up. We just want to make sure someone says they’ll do it so the same people don’t have to do it every week.

You can sign up to do one or more tasks on one or more Fridays on the service rota page of the wiki. Please take the time to do so if you can – it is down to us to make Tuttle happen each week!

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First visit to Centre for Creative CollaborationThis Friday, 5th February, we’ll be meeting at the brand spanking new Centre for Creative Collaboration which is a University of London project that our lovely Brian Condon has been working on for some time. If it works out OK I’m hoping that the Centre will become our home for the next period. I’ve been appointed Social Artist in Residence. It’s all very exciting.

You’ll find us at 16 Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG from 10am.

Right now, it’s a completely blank space. So we need some help to get up and running on Friday.

Chinwag are generously providing pastries as we’re part of Social Media Week London.

There are a few things that we’ll need to support us every week:

A kettle or two (we have a water boiler for day to day tea & coffee but Tuttle’s quite demanding) We’re oK on this front, ta!
A couple of those squirty flasks for serving the coffee & hot water [UPDATE Julia from Chinwag is bringing ONE - always good to have our own - donors' generosity will be noisily exposed to the world]
Plastic plates [hmmm...]
Loo roll [Patrick says he'll bring some]
Paper handtowels [possible samples from manufacturer - see comments below]
Ornaments and small pieces of art

IMPORTANT: If you’re bringing any of the above along, please let me know by e-mail so that I can make sure we don’t get 30 kettles and can’t get in the door for paper towels etc.

(obviously we *could* go out and buy those ourselves but I’m thinking that some people in our community might like to provide them in return for a small plaque in the centre noting their generous support)

Everyone can also help by donating any of the following:
A mug
A teaspoon
Special Needs Coffees & Teas
Biscuits
A bunch of flowers
Cushions
Or anything you think would help us make it a bit more homely.

Though if you have none of these, you’ll still be welcome!

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Just a quickie to let anyone know who thinks this is the best place to look that we’ll be the guests of 1000heads at their offices in Great Windmill Street, a hop, skip and a jump (or two depending on the length of your legs) from Piccadilly Circus (yes even closer than i-NET)

We’ll be there this Friday, 22nd Jan and the following 29th Jan from 10am until midday, but no doubt there’ll be folks heading off for shenanigans after that.

PS the *best* place to look for location updates is always a search on twitter for #tuttle

EAVB_YQHDQHPGCB

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Pastures new again

Lloyd Davis speaks at the first anniversary meeting of the Tuttle ClubAs I announced to the Tuttle Club on Friday morning, we are in need of a new home. The simple story is that there’s an education event going on every Friday at the ICA which is incompatible with Tuttle being there. They thought we could co-exist but having tried it out last week, they realised how excitable, energetic, noisy and disruptive our presence can be.

It’s been an excellent space for us, and I’ve seen upset in people about losing the space even temporarily, in the last day or so that is as much about affection for the ICA bar as it is affection for Tuttle or just a resistance to change. We care continuing our relationship with the ICA. In the pipe line, for example is a Tuttle Film Club. I’d urge you to consider being a member there – it’s a great place for people like us to support and be part of. And you get discounts (10% off at the bar), access to exclusive events & priority programme info all for £35 a year (or £30 if you ask for the Tuttle Club offer)

Now then. What are we going to do next. Well in the immediate term we need somewhere to meet next week. I had a lovely offer from Henry at LEON of using the space at their Spitalfields branch and that looks like where we’ll be, subject to final confirmation which I expect to have cleared in the next day or so. I will confirm the details here and on twitter – so if you can’t see anything else other than this statement, that means there’s nothing else to see. CONFIRMED – we’ll have a reserved section from 10-12 Keeping an eye on #tuttle on twitter is always a good idea anyway.

I don’t know how repeatable this offer is as we go forward or how sustainable we’d find meeting in a cafe like that every week. As a incorrigible prototyper and continuous improver, my challenge to the group is for us to find a space “even better than the ICA”. That’s a tough challenge but it also helps me remember that we’ve grown and changed in the last year and we should acknowledge that in our choice of future home.

We should in any case think hard about what to do next. There are a few options I’d like to play around with:

1) Stop, forget it, go home. It was fun while it lasted, alright let’s get back to Friday mornings at work. Should we? Have we run our course?

Given that we’ve consistently been attracting between 50 and 70 people every week (except Boxing Day) and still there are people who say to me “Ah Tuttle, yes I hear it’s very good, I’ve been meaning to come, it’s just been a bit tricky” and every week there are still more new people than I can physically meet in one session, I don’t think we’ve exhausted the format.

2) Look for somewhere else. Think of all the open empty spaces in London that we could imagine Tuttle existing in. Well, what are the minimum requirements? Most people say: somewhere to sit, the ability to make or buy coffee, and wifi. I’m interested in pushing that a bit further what are the things about the physical environment of the ICA that you really appreciate?

Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, Barbican, all have large open public spaces. The School of Everything unplugged event manages nicely at the RFH, for example, but that’s at most 10-15 people. Even if the move halved the number of people we’d dominate the space we occupied, so it would have to be by arrangement with the venue, not just a flashmob. An important Tuttle principle is “Don’t piss the venue off” I also like having a space exclusively, so you don’t have to constantly be asking people whether their there for Tuttle or not when they wander up to the huge crowd.

It should also be free (gratis) – the deal with the ICA was that they didn’t charge us for the space and there was no minimum spend at the bar. I’m not at all keen on going somewhere that means we have to either raise a group collection every week or need to bring in sponsors every single week – if we have someone else’s space it should be on a philanthropic or patronage basis – they have to see (as the ICA did) what the value of having us there is, and it’s not straightforward to articulate and measure.

I’d like to nail a common assumption though. As much as we’d love to think that all venue owners would be grateful to have 50 or 60 people in their space spending some money on a Friday afternoon, when it comes down to it, anybody with a space that we’d be able to use, has an existing plan and model for how to maximise revenue from it and minimise their costs. Free might (or might not!) work in our business, but very few restaurateurs, pub landlords or general managers have gotten their heads around it yet.

I think there’s more mileage in expressing our need loudly and letting interested parties come to us, rather than go around trying to persuade people.

If we reject the first option and choose to continue then at least at first we have to explore this route.

3) Go Large. This is to continue with the original vision of having a space of our own, even if it’s contained within something else. It means grasping the nettle now and maing a business out of it, a business that engages in providing consulting services, running other events in a full-time space all of which subsidise the freeness of open Tuttling on a Friday morning (and doubtless afternoon too). Perhaps I’ve been waiting for a crisis like this in order to push me into really going much bigger.

hmmm….

Actions for you

I think there are a few things to do to help us all find our way.

1) Make a list of all the possible venues, their facilities, location, cost where known etc. This is something that’ll be valuable to the community as a whole anyway – I’m often being asked to suggest venues for stuff. So please contribute to the List of Cool Places (in London) to do Cool Stuff

2) Add to the list of selection criteria - let’s pull together what it is that we’ve liked about where we’ve been and would like to maintain or improve on in the new place.

3) Talk about it with whoever you can, open up conversations about who’s got spare space, who’d like to have us play alongside them, which cats are hep to our jive etc. Talk to me about how can we make Tuttle an even more exciting adventure. Bring me your evil plans.

And remember that this isn’t going to get sorted out for you, we all need everyone to help. Although I talk about a Re-Location Committee, that’s partly just an attempt to reclaim language – this isn’t the sort of Committee your parents served on – it’s self-selecting, if you want in, join in. And if you think I’m a complete nana and am missing the point or need a good talking to or whatever, let’s talk about it in the comments.

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Sponsored by NCVO

louderlogobetaThis week’s meeting is supported by the National Council of Voluntary Organisations who are launching a new campaiging site Their aim is to create a tool resource for anyone campaigning for change:

“Through Louder you will be able to create a microsite for your campaign with the most used ‘change-tools’ the web has to offer. You will be able to connect to and manage profiles on other social media sites helping you coordinate supporter action.”

There’ll be a small group attending so do go and say hello and thanks for the coffee.

In the meantime you can also follow LouderDevelop on twitter.

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UPDATE: This has been postponed due to some damage to the robot’s workings during transit. Check in with Charlotte about when the event might happen – in the meantime, I’m sure flowers, grapes and lucozade would be gratefully received by the poorly robot c/o the Sidekick Studios gang.

On Friday 21st August from 9am Charlotte and Alex atSidekick Studios are inviting the Tuttle crowd (old and new) to breakfast with a robot before they head off to the ICA.

The Voicebot is “a robot installation which gives young people a playful and powerful way to have a direct voice in the House of Parliament. Produced for vinspired, the national youth volunteering service, young people will be invited online to tell MPs what they care about. The Voicebot – a letter writing robotic arm which is connected to the internet – will then write out the messages in the real world, in Westminster, creating an open and direct channel of communication between Britain’s youth and politicians.

The project explores how the physical internet can be used to re-connect the public with those who govern us, creating new ways for people to be heard, and tackling problems like democratic deficit. “

There’ll be a live demo of the robot in action at Sidekick Studios, who would love people to come down, check it out, and spread the word that a new robot is in town, and it takes no prisoners.

If anyone has any questions, please email: charlotte@sidekickstudios.net

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At Christmas we did a screening at the ICA of Brazil, home of Harry Tuttle, our hero. It was lovely to do a screening especially with such a lovely film, but it occurred to me that it would be equally nice to do something midway through the year.

So I asked on twitter for suggestions and I got the following, which I’m presenting to you today as a poll. It will run for 10 days until Friday 19th and I’d just ask you to think carefully about what you’d like to see in the company of your fellow tuttlers one morning (probably) in July.

THE POLL IS NOW CLOSED

In the event of a tie, the winner will be decided by the respective proposers wrestling in mud.

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