Event Etiquette

Sarahs published some guidelines for event etiquette. I have to say I quite like these guidelines and will be publishing them to the geekdinner website in the near future too.

Event Etiquette for Attendees

  1. When attendees sign up, put the details for the event in your diaries and ensure that the date & time is kept available for the event.
  2. If something comes up that clashes with the event, make sure you un-register for the event as your place can go to someone else that does want to attend the event. (this is very important when events are over subscribed)
  3. If something comes up last minute that can't be helped, apologize for not being able to make it to the organizers. (It lets them know that you do actually care that you missed the event and often the organizers can give info about what happened at the event if you missed it and this is the case. No apologies shows lack of care or support for the events and disrespect for those on the waiting lists.)
  4. Give feedback on the events that you attend. This helps make the events better for each subsequent event. You shape how you want your events to be run! (Feedback should be positive, negative and things that should be kept as they are.)
  5. If you think you could help to make an event better in some way then offer your advice, help and support. (especially with community run events, any help is always appreciated)
  6. If you see something wrong (like no glasses for water) don't complain about it, find a solution (or at least help to find a solution) and do let the organizers know.

Event Etiquette for Organizers

  1. Organizers should send out reminders prior to the events reminding attendees of the details of the event including maps, dates, times etc.
  2. Organizers should ensure that attendees know what they are signing up for. No hidden agendas.
  3. Where possible the un-registration for events should be kept as simple as possible.
  4. Changes to the event details should be highlighted and given to attendees as soon as possible.
  5. Announcements of events should be in a timely manner giving people time to arrange their schedules around the events where possible.
  6. Organizers should be able to be contacted by attendees with any questions and queries about the events. (these should not be ignored)

Don't get me wrong, I'm terrible for saying I'm going to be at a event then something else comes up. For example I was meant to be at Wikiwednesday today, but instead I'm on a train to Swansea due to work commitments. I do try my best.

But back to Sarahs guidelines. Geekdinners has moved from commenting in a blog post to using upcoming.org for a signal of how many people are coming. This has the advantage of people being able to change there mind and take themselves off the list. But it has the disadvantage of requiring people to sign in using a Yahoo ID now. This is a real problem and hence why I still check the comments in the blog post just in case someone rejects using upcoming.org.

This is all fine but for example the last event we did had about 30+ people signed up via upcoming, blog comments and emails. But we had almost half as many people actually come, so guess who had to pay for those people who didn't turn up? Yes moi.

So actually before the guidelines were up, I have been thinking about setting up a email list for geekdinners. This has advantages on both sides and to be honest, the geekdinner community is very adhoc right now which is fine but a shame sometimes. For example Tom Morris posted up a question a while back for the geek community. That was the only way to get in touch with the community really.

So yes as promised a while back, theres changes a foot, so look out…. and don't forget your event etiquette.

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London Girl Geekdinner number 9

Good night last night at the Girl Geekdinner. I got talking to a woman from Amnesity International and shared some stories about working at the BBC World Service and how it makes you much more aware of the freedoms and restrictions we live with everyday online. Anyway she was very interesting and Sheila had a good chat too. The speakers for the night were varied, Mary Sharpe started badly putting most of the girls to sleep or getting peoples backs up but then she started to get it together again. She was a interesting speaker which I filmed and stuck on Blip.tv. I wish I'd got a chance to ask her some more questions one on one but left soon after the speeches. Nicolas was the 2nd speaker and was very nervous, and it ended up being like a product pitch for 10mins. So I ended up deleting that video. The 3rd and last was Maryam Scoble (yes Robert Scoble's partner) who kept it nice and sweet. Good speaker and her speech was well recieved by the crowd as you can see by the video. Most of the questions were also aimed at Maryam afterwards but Mary also got a few. So all in all, good night and happy birthday Sarah Blow.

One thing is bugging me, is Mary Sharpe also the same person here and here? I don't think so, but you can never tell. I get very skeptical when people run these self improvement and mentoring type services.

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What next for London geekdinners?

Geek girl

I was reading Sarah Blow's summary of the girl geekdinner which happened on the same day as the first werewolf night (shame on you Sarah). Anyway, a quick quote from her entry

If anyone has feedback on the event who turned up then please feel free to give feedback here or on the wiki pages: http://londongirlgeekdinner.pbwiki.com/Ideas
If you would like to suggest a speaker, subject etc then feel free to do so here: http://londongirlgeekdinner.pbwiki.com/SpeakerRequests

I've been meaning to do a simular thing for quite some time to geekdinners. People do suggest guests to me and to be fair I'm not very good at following up. This is usually the case when I don't know the guest well. But that level of tranparency would allow the geekdinner community to take things upon themsleves. I see this as a good thing.

Now I don't know what Sarah said in her speech but I'm guessing she may have mentioned turing london girl geekdinners into a charity? If not, I'm sorry Sarah. But we did talk about it a while ago and I'm sure she won't mind me mentioning it now (i hope).

Why would girl geekdinners and geekdinners benefit from being a charity or non-profit? Well I think it makes perfect sense. At the moment its the work of Sarah Blow on the girl side and myself on the other side. This means it relies on the time and effort of one person. This is cool, but what happens if that one person is too busy, on holiday or I hope not dies. This could mean geekdinners would die or slowly die. Someone might pick it up, like I did with geekdinners but should things be left to chance? Specially with the traction it might have already?

From another point of view what if the person who runs the geekdinner starts to abuse the name? spoils it for the community and other geekdinners? Yes you don't have to be a non-profit or charity to deal with this problem but its at the core of geekdinners is something which I and Sarah think is important. What that is, is difficult to put in words. I guess but its something to do with the next generation and geek culture.

Sarah in her entry titled Techcrunch launch and Girlgeekdinners said this…

The idea of the girl geek dinners was to get the girls/ women feeling happier in a social tech environment and not worry about being the only female there… I was also hoping that by providing a way of getting people to meet each other that they would arrange to meet at such events having been to a girl geek dinner. I hope that this trend continues and that it really does help to bring more females into the industry and for those in the industry to not feel like they are the only ones out there!

So I would say the geekdinners are about self described geeks sharing there passion for what they love in a social environment without the worry of having to tone down their passion.

I heard this great little piece from Alex Lindsey on This week in media recently (had to link to mp3 because flash player doesn't like the sampling rate). The point of the quote is that I never mention geek being linked to technology. Geeks are people who are really into what there into, know the subject/item/thing inside out and would happily talk about it. Geek culture is on the rise and I personally believe this is a good thing.

Geekdinner embodies this rise and says, hey – its all good, go out and socialise too. There should be geekdinners appearing all over the country. Yes Meetup.com is a perfect example. Everyday across the world there is knitting, design, cooking, drinking, etc meetups. But Meetup.com is a commercial company and they want everything to happen on there domain. Geekdinner should or could be the open source version of Meetup.com. Technically how that would happen I have some thoughts but generally yes meetup.com is certainly a good level to aim for. And you know what its not going to get there with a few people doing it off there own back. It needs to be self-supporting. I think thats the key thing about it being the status of charity or non-profit foundation.

More people and companies will feel comfitable helping out knowing its money, time, hard work is going to something bigger than one person. For example, being a non-profit we could finally sort out a wiki. Mayeb have one which everyone could use without the fear of it being owned by one person. Domain names could be paid for owned by the geekdinner charity instead of one person who could sell the domain on for tons of money once it gets big. Not that Nick would do that of course. But you know what I mean. I've also had plenty of offers to help out with geekdinners and this is great but if it was a charity, people could really help out

Anyway, as I said before, it looks like Geekdinners will follow London girl geekdinners into this one if Sarah chooses to go that way.

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BarCampLondon in .Net magazine

.net magazine

Paul Annett's article on BarCampLondon made it into issue number 156 of .net Magazine (hits the newsagents tomorrow – 18th October). You can see some previews on his flickr stream. But not everything is rosey, there was a miss quote by some freelance sub-editor who rewrote a sentence by Sarah Blow, who wrote the whole lot up in a good blog post. Paul has a response…

Apologies to girls who came for the bit about “token” girl attendees – this was re-written by the mag after I submitted the article, and is not my words. It's disrespectful and goes completely against the sentiment of the paragraph, which was about encouraging more girls to attend – now it sounds unwelcoming, as if there was only one girl and her attendance was worthless.

I look forward to seeing Future Publishing's official response to this. But according to a brief chat with Sarah earlier today. .Net Magazine may be sponsoring a girl geek dinner as an apology for their mistake in the print of the last BarCampLondon female representation. Good on you Sarah…

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Geeky week and ever so geeky weekend


Yesterday (tuesday) was the very successful girlgeekdinner which was great as usual (pictures here and here). I recorded the talk and will upload it to archive.org tonight, so keep an eye on this url. The quality isn't great because it was so dark and I hadn't played with the best settings yet.

Friday looks to be a busy day but will be a quieter geekdinner with Ben Metcalfe, which is maybe a good thing because of course the rest of the weekend is BarCampLondon.

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Exclusive: London Girl Geek Dinner Short Film by Angela Saini of ITN

Sarah Blow beat me to this exclusive, so I'll just quote her.

The London Girl Geek Dinner short film has just been released.  Here is an exclusive first look at it prior to it going on FourDocs.  It was filmed about a month ago by Angela Saini of ITN who was just fantastic at both directing the video and setting everything up.  I hope you enjoy the video and feel free to let anyone else know about it! 

I hope to see other short video's and films from the girls over at BlogHer after the conference. /images/emoticons/happy.gif

The next London Girl Geek Dinner is to be announced at a later date… it is looking like some time around the end of August/ First week of September.  If you want to get updates of our next event feel free to join the mailing list on www.londongirlgeekdinners.co.uk or syndicate with the rss feed on the site!

PS: Many thanks to Angela for doing the film for us and for her support and also to Ian Forrester of www.geekdinners.co.uk for his ever constant support for the girly geek dinners!

Thanks Sarah! I've been sitting on this documentary from Angela for quite some time now. I think its a fantastic documentary and well worth everyone's time to watch. I'm now interested to see what conversation develops following the documentary. You can also now watch get the documentary in Windows Media and Quicktime formats here.

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number seven – london geekdinner

London geekdinner

My and Sarah's seventh podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

This time we mainly discuss last week's geekdinner with David Teten. The good, the bad and the fall out. Sarah decides that the podcast is too long but we decide to keep it anyway. There is also a long advertisement for Papa Johns by Sarah. And finally we decide to go for the Terry and June music as recommended by Adam and Helen (thanks for the mpeg3 Adam).

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Geek and Geekhag podcast number six – semantic what?

My and Sarah's sixth podcast is now available online. Enjoy and please leave a comment if you've enjoyed it or simply hate it.

This time we reflect on a few blog posts from me and Sarah's personal blogs. And I attempt to do a short introducation to the semantic web and tagging vs categories.

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Enjoying last nights London Girl Geek Dinner

Geek Dinner

How would I describe the girl geekdinner> The right people in a fun friendly atmosphere. Shaking off the need to go huge Sarah Blow's London girl geekdinner is a great place for women geeks together and not feel the intense pressure of being the only women in a busy room with no one they know. Thursday's 3rd girl geekdinner was a sit down affair around a very long table but people moved around before and after the dinner which made it possible to talk to anyone. The amount of men at the dinner has seemed to have increased quite a bit since the last one (including myself of course). But talking to Sarah Blow she takes this as a positive sign that men are convincing there partners and friends that they should go along and also invite them. Which is a good thing because we all know geekdinners are a nice place to be and not scary at all. The hope is that maybe some of the women will feel the urge to try out other geekdinners, mobile mondays, London events, etc and girl geekdinner will be less needed in the future. Sheila suggested that she will be 93 before there is a balance of genders at events like a geekdinner, and I kind of agree but things are getting better everytime. Looking at the sign up list for the next geekdinner which is now only 4 days off, I'm seeing double figures for women geeks signing up. Maybe in a few months we can get closer to 20 percent? Who knows. Anyhow back to the dinner…

By the time I got there (say 1945) the main table was already pretty much full. We had to drag more tables to add towards the end of the main table, which gives you a idea of how many people turned up for the dinner. Right from the start there seemed to be quite a few guys which was suprising after browsing through the pictures of the last event. Sheila invited me along which I'm very thankful for when Sarah could not make it. So I for one certainly stuck to the rules. Not that I'm suggesting others didn't of course. Before long I noticed Ben and Sofia had also turned up which Ben never mentioned he was planning, and before you know its the end of the table was away. I can not even remember everyone who I spoke to but I know Imp must have slipped off into the night before I could catch her after dinner. Sorry getting ahead of myself again. So before you know it was time for dinner and honestly it was better that the scoble dinners. The texas embassy serves lets say not the greatest food I've tasted generally. But I was there for the conversation and people so was not disappointed. Just after dinner came the open mic section. I was interested in how this would work because I'm considering doing the same thing for months when I can not get a good guest for the geekdinners. You most of the time the most interesting people in the room are not the guests, no dis-respect to any of my guests but you know what I mean? and I will stop digging my hole now.

The open mic started with a bit of a lecture and moved to Bill Thompson who was OK and short. But the highlights were Sarah Blow and Jen Dixon. Jen Dixon I've been tracking recently after her comment asking if there would be a food which a vegetarian could eat at my geekdinner? I've still not got a solid answer but I'm hoping to speak to the chef today and get a final answer. Anyhow Jen is really interesting because her story is almost a match for Sarah's story. Its so weird because even Jen is from the same area in America. She met her husband whos from Wales (near Bristol) online via a webcam technology. And there's more which I'm sure to find out on Monday.

So generally, the london girl geekdinner was a great night and I would highly recommend it as any women's first steps into getting into the London geek scene. I know theres been a bit of talk about the different geekdinners but honestly I'm with Sarah on this one. I will keep the geekdinners I do small enough so you can talk to everyone in a relaxed setting. Its about the quality not the quantity of people. I'm also happy to help Sarah out with the girl geekdinners if shes ever stuck and I'm sure she would do the same.

I've uploaded my pictures in the usual place on Flickr, I'm sure others will do the same soon, till then here's a search which will get to the right photos

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