Image of Architecture at MediaCityUK
Image © Karen Cropper 2013

This evening (5 June), I attended an event launching Salford University’s new Centre for Digital Business at MediaCityUK.

The first thing about this is I found out about it on facebook from a post in one of the groups that I have joined as part of my experimenting with facebook.  So from that point of view, a win in the use of social media for marketing on their part.

Secondly, the booking was through www.eventbrite.co.uk, which is a new service to me that I can see has a lot of merits for organising training and events, cutting down on the administration side of things. This is certainly a tool I will come back to.  I was also impressed by the fact that there is an app for iPhone and Android which allows you to access your event details and import them into your calendar and show a QR code on your phone screen for entry.

I thought I would go for the networking opportunity and because I’m interested in the general area of work and what’s going on at the university.  It occurred to me this morning that maybe if I was going to actually ‘network’ then I should have some business cards, which I don’t. I see they are a necessary evil but really don’t like them.  I briefly contemplated printing some myself, but instead thought “there must be an app I can use” and sure enough… Thanks to my friend Alison, who’s speedier than me at finding such things, I installed a nice little app that did just what I wanted –  AppCard Lite.

This app allows you to put in your basic details that would appear on a business card (although not twitter name, which I would have liked to add) and you can either show this like a card on the phone screen that someone you meet could photograph (and then save themselves on something like Evernote), or you can email to them (which has advantages of them giving you their email address to do it), or there’s a QR code option, so if they have a QR scanner they can scan and instantly get all of the details on their phone.  That was by far the coolest option in my view. Alas, when it came to it, I was too hot when I arrived to be in the mood for chatting, so didn’t get to test out this in a real world situation.

As it was the launch of the Digital Business Centre (clue is in the name), I was a bit disappointed that a QR reader wasn’t used to read the ticket code on my phone as part of registration, and that there wasn’t a badge ready for me, even though my name was on the list and I booked the place more than a week ago.

The guest speaker, Mike Ryan (Manchester’s First Digital Futurist @mikemanchester) was very interesting. What a job title ‘digital futurist’!  Not any crystal ball gazing, but looking at cutting edge research developments and projecting the impact that they will have on the future world.  Lots of food for thought and scifi movie scripts.

Before Mike Ryan, there was an analysis of the pre-event online questionnaire, but I was too busy getting my phone into twitter mode to follow the hastag #digitalbusiness  to digest that properly.  And at that point I realised the downside of my business card on phone strategy and of live tweeting an event… good idea to make sure your phone is fully charged before you start… as my battery went into amber warning.  At the Open University we did a lot of live blogging and tweeting at conferences and seminars, but I’m not sure if it’s good for me.  I find that I don’t listen well with these distractions and I don’t take in and retain as much as if I write notes by hand.  But possibly that’s because that was how I worked when I was an undergraduate student way back when we were just waiting for a digital futurist to tell us how much the information super highway was going to change our lives.

The last section was about the work that Salford University is doing and the new set up of the Centre for Digital Business. I’ll come back to this bit when I’ve done a bit more delving.

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