Manchester has a thriving digital community and every month, regular events take place for those interested in meeting their peers, having a beer and maybe learning something new. Here's a rundown of the most popular social media, blogging and SEO Manchester meetups on offer.
Social Media Cafe
What is it: A monthly meetup, usually hosted at the BBC on Oxford Road, for those interested in social media. The regular format features two or three talks/discussions with a half-hour networking break between sessions.
The topics of these talks can vary – previous sessions have looked at the rise of hyperlocal news, an introduction to Google Wave and measuring ROI from social media campaigns. To see the upcoming panels, or to express your interest to host one, visit the site.
When: First week of the month
Twitter hashtag: #smc_mcr
AOB: The BBC like to know who's coming in and out of their doors and attendees have to register their interest on the Social Media Cafe Ning in order to get through the reception checkpoint.
What is it: An informal gathering of Manchester SEO types. The event, which is attended by employees from a variety of SEO Manchester agencies, is a laid-back affair which usually involves a fair bit of tech-talk (and drinking).
Still, it's a great opportunity to meet other people in the industry and the attendees range from SEO copywriters to agency bigwigs; you'll get the chance to mingle with a bunch of friendly folk who really know their stuff.
When: Last week of the month
Twitter hashtag: #mancseo
AOB: These events are normally held in public venues. If you don't know anyone attending, send out a flare on Twitter and someone will point you towards the Manchester SEO corner of the bar.
What is it: Hosted by the charming Kate Feld of Manchizzle, the Manchester Blogmeet does exactly what it says on the tin. The event is open to anyone with a penchant for blogging, allowing the local online community to get together over a couple of beers. If you've ever want to pick the brains of the local bloggerati (wince), then this is your opportunity.
When: As and when
Twitter hashtag: N/A – Follow @katefeld for the latest news
AOB: The previous two blogmeets have been sponsored affairs with a free bar tab. Just putting that out there.
What is it: Popular gathering for anyone working in the digital sector around Manchester and the North West. Usually hosted in the Northern Quarter (The Northern seems to have been the venue of choice for a while now), Northern Digital offers an evening of mingling for those working for design, development and SEO Manchester companies. It's a great networking event, purely based on the sheer variety of professionals and businesses in attendance.
When: First Thursday of the month
Twitter hashtag: #northerndigital
AOB: The May event has moved to the second week of the month to cater for the General Election.
Social Media Surgery
What is it: Organised by Chi-chi Ekweozor from Real Fresh, social media surgery is a free event which sees local businesses pose their SM woes to a group of the leading marketing and SEO minds in Manchester.
Hosted at Manchester Metropolitan University, the evening offers free advice for those struggling to get to grips with social media. Those wanting an answer to a specific question can post their queries online before the evening.
When: Second week in the month
Twitter hashtag: #mansms
AOB: The event normally runs from around 5pm-7pm.
There Will Be Blood
What is it: Despite its ominous title, There Will Be Blood is for those working in the digital content arena. The event, which held its inaugural evening yesterday, sees online writers from Manchester gather to discuss all content-related matters.
Haven't had the chance to visit this particular evening, but judging by the feedback on Twitter, it's set to be one of the more popular events in Manchester. If you attended last night, drop a comment below!
Twitter hashtag: #twbb1
AOB: The free tickets for the previous event went like fresh muffins. Book quickly if you want to go.
What is it: A social event which encourages Manchester's Twitter community to put names to avatars in a relaxed and informal setting. Now in its second month at Madlab, it offers guests cake, coffee and conversation. What more could you want?
When: As and when
Twitter hashtag: #teawitter
AOB: A £3 donation is suggested for attendees.
If I've missed out any events or gatherings, drop me an email and I'll edit accordingly.