The Talk About Local team biographies.
Community activist and former civil servant, despite a deeply rural upbringing I lived for ten of the last 15 years in London’s troubled Kings Cross district. The problems there were so profound I got stuck into community action and eventually set up a website to keep track of what was going on www.kingscrossenvironment.com. One thing led to another and several years later the site has over 700 articles, four volunteer writers and is an indispensible part of the local civic scene. We used the site to help fight some great campaigns, improve the area and help people connect with each other – what the wonks call ‘bridging social capital’. I set up Talk About Local to help spread the benefits of a good, simple, cheap community site to as many areas as possible.
Originally from South Wales, I’ve lived in Birmingham for twelve years now but it was when I moved into my flat in Digbeth a couple of years ago that things got really interesting. This central urban area is a great mix of light industry, traditional pubs that serve the older Irish community, an emerging creative and cultural scene and extensive regeneration complete with new-build apartments.
Digbeth warranted a site covering the lot, so in May 2008 Digbeth is Good was born. Since then it’s kept me incredibly busy with highlighting all the artistic happenings, bringing offline activity to a wider audience, discussing the growth and divides of a disparate community and creatively exploring the neighbourhood by playing with some free social media tools to hand.
What’s been surprising is how effective using quite basic free software, some spare time and enthusiasm can be for communicating local information and a subtler sense of place. It has turned the last year into a journey that has bought me to the Talk About Local team.
You can also find me on Twitter.
A Manchester lad living in Stoke-on-Trent.
Wife, dog & several blogs to support.
I moved from Manchester to Stoke-on-Trent 10 years ago and I can say hand on heart it is one of the best places I have lived. The City might be in turmoil right now but I’m sure it will get better. I have been using the internet since before it was in colour with pictures! I love social media and giving people the opportunity to have a voice on-line.
I am a partner in the Stoke-on-Trent news blog, pitsnpots.co.uk where we scrutinise the City Council and the news in the City.
Away from work and blogging I take an awful lot of pictures and being originally from Manchester, I am a dyed in the wool Manchester City fan. I’m on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. to find out more michaelrawlins.co.uk is always a good place to start looking.
Talk About Local’s part-timer with some nerdish traits and inspirations ranging from journalism to global peacebuilding to The OC. What I lack in actual technical ability, I make up for with killer search skills and supreme confidence in throwing myself at most things, at least for a couple of minutes.
I’m also passionate about the communities that are sometimes left voiceless and love discovering the small, the hidden and the new. I’ve had more than a decade of social media and project management experience and now mix up Talk About Local with a community health education project at the Workers’ Educational Association.
Like Mike, I live in Stoke-on-Trent but hyperlocally speaking, we are from separate worlds. I try not to let that affect my sophisticated persona and to treat him with as much respect as if he too had chosen to make his home in Burslem, Mother Town of the Potteries and genuinely the best place in Britain to live, work or at least have lunch. But I don’t always succeed.