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A year of tweets - 2012

Well here we are! Another year's gone and it’s time for everyone to look back on what's been achieved. It’s been a fantastic year for us at WarwickTweetup, and our first full year - I think we've made the most of it!

Last year I posted "A year of Tweets" and it was incredible to put it all down in a blog. So here's our 2012, in blog form. It's how I remember what we've done as I have a terrible memory.

Todd tweetingWhere do I start? I guess I’ll start at the beginning of the year and retrace our steps. There has been a constant stream of blogs this year. Every challenge and every step forward at WarwickTweetup has been documented and shared across our network. Thanks to everyone for reading my blogs. As a blogger it's so amazing to know that people read my thoughts and views, and it's also amazing to get your feedback and comments too. So far this year the WarwickTweetup blog has had over 16,500 people from all over the world visit, the most popular blog being "11 reasons why Twitter is better than Facebook" I've very much enjoyed sharing our journey this year via blogging, and I can't wait to share 2013!

So 2012 started with a new venture for us and we're hoping to add to this early next year. Twitter School had its launch in January after much planning and writing, and we were very pleased to sell out our first workshop in February. Twitter School was born from frustration at poor Twitter use and also created in the hope that we could help people help themselves rather than paying someone else to pretend to be them! The first workshop went really well, and we had so many people asking when the next one was that we continued running them throughout the year. I have loved every minute of Twitter School, especially seeing people succeed and getting some amazing things happening, all because they got to grips with tweeting after our workshop. Next year I hope to share my passion for blogging, Facebook, and, with some extra help from others, we’re planning some other really exciting workshops too. 

The first Tweetup of 2012 was actually at The Gap's quiz night. We got a quiz team together and did our best to win some prizes and ultimately raise some money for the Air Ambulance. Armed with some very intelligent people, namely John from Kenilworth Computers, Charlie Budd, Vicki from India Grace Designs, and the ever-present Jo C (@pinky_princess) we sat around a table for the first time. Karen and myself just turned up... we are to quiz nights what chocolate is to fire guards - useless! It was a top night all the same, and it’s always good to meet tweeters from our timeline.

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February was one hell of a month for WarwickTweetup and possibly the most exciting yet. It was almost poetic,  as it also saw our first birthday pass too! Just a week after our first Twitter School, the Portas Pilot phenomenon began. After a simple conversation on Twitter with David and Jerry from @HattonHarding5, I took it upon myself to mobilise the town of Warwick and get a Town Team together. With a new blog, @pinky_princess and I gathered interest and momentum and shared the story as it unfolded. With some amazing community support on Twitter, and then in turn on the streets of Warwick, we had an amazing summer of high-spirited teamwork and some incredible things happened because of it. You can read all about it on the Warwick Portas Pilot blog which had a staggering 17,000 views! The Portas Pilot and the visual WarwickRocks brand was a constant theme for us throughout the summer of 2012.

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March saw the first official WarwickTweetup of the year. We gathered tweeters at The Warwick Arms in the centre of the town that was indeed rocking amidst the Portas campaign. We wanted to have a guest speaker at this event as the two speakers at our fourth Tweetup were so well received. I decided the best way to do this would be to ask Twitter to step forward, and Brendan Johnson did just that. I'm not sure a speech on switching off from communication was entirely the right choice for a room full of people obsessed with social media, but I did enjoy the whole irony of it all! We also showed the Portas Pilot YouTube video which featured the town crier (thanks to a conversation on Twitter). The night’s raffle was amazing, and thanks to the high profile work we were doing, so was the turnout. The raffle raised more money for the Air Ambulance, and Jo Payne (@AirAmBird53) also announced the news that the WNAA would be moving to Warwick by opening a new shop!

April was packed with adventure for team Tweetup. As a thank you to Touch FM for all their support with the Portas Pilot, I ran a mini Twitter School for the team. It was great to pass on our knowledge and ideas, and for me it was a good test on giving a workshop with one industry as the focus - more followed on with this theme.

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The girls had a Ladies’ Lunch at Episode Bar in Leamington - a popular networking event, and any excuse for drinks and chat!

On the 23rd of April we paired up with the Warwick County Council and held a Tweetup in the new library at Shire Hall. Naturally we included Twitter in this event, and thanks to Jack Linstead's great ideas and connections we had James Vinciguerra live sketching on an iPad while we tried to write a book with tweets.

May was fast upon us and it heralded the return of the WNAA Heroes Run. This was particularly exciting for me because it was in Warwick, and also because it was at Warwick Castle! It was an incredible event and amazing weather shone down on us as we ran in our brand new WarwickTweetup T-Shirts. I still wear mine at all our Twitter Schools and events as promised. I think it may be time for a new one now though! Well done to everyone who ran and helped raise funds for this worthwhile charity.

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We also featured in the May issue of Warwickshire Life, which in turn led to a June feature too. It was all about the Portas Pilot campaign, and under the umbrella of #WarwickRocks of course!

June saw Twitter School go back to basics and a "Twitter School for Beginners" was held at the Warwick Arms. We were helping people get on Twitter right there in class. We haven't run a workshop for beginners since (due to time constraints) but there are a few ideas to come off the back of it.

July saw optimistic plans for a BBQ on the #Twubcrawl (our informal drinks around town) but naturally the English weather disappointed us. Thankfully though Dale @IamPancho laid on some fabulous tapas instead - all thanks to a bit of tweeting! Photos from the night are online somewhere, but I'm too scared to look! 

In July we also helped Warwick play host to the post Portas Pilot workshop run by Action for Market Towns. Due to the huge 'noise' we created during our unsuccessful campaign for Portas cash, we were asked if Warwick could host an event open to all the UK Town Teams! This was a great honour and also a great chance for Warwick to be put on the map once more. I gave a workshop on Twitter too, focusing on how we got Warwick's proposal to Mary Portas off the ground with Twitter. We made the local press once again!

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August was a very eclectic month for us. I helped the Mayor fix her iPhone, Karen and I had a live photoshoot with page 3's Lucy Vixen in the market square (which got coverage in the local press), we sold a WarwickTweetup T-Shirt for £100 for the Air Ambulance (our nominated charity), and they also opened their new shop. What’s more, we (well, Karen) decided to launch @LeamTweetup! I honestly have no idea how all this happened in one month!

September was all about us... well, the other us. LeamingtonTweetup was born during the summer and we had been patiently waiting to get going. So when the holiday season finished and things started to get back to normal, we hit Leamington Twitter with our "Big Free Twitter Workshop". This is something I've wanted to do for a while now, and when Karen and myself were firing ideas around we both decided to do the BFTWS at the same time. It was a great start to our Leamington shoot-off and I for one enjoyed the evening very much. At the end of September we held our first Twitter School in Leamington Spa. One of our students was Acupuncturist @MitaMistry, and on hearing she was a secret blogger, I convinced her to start up again. Mita certainly did, and within a week had posted her first blog in a long time. On the back of this she has recently written for an international publication and was very kind to write a guest blog for WarwickTweetup too. It's very humbling to be told that it's because of us and Twitter School that amazing things are happening - that rocks my world!

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In October I was asked to run a workshop on Twitter for Warwick Words @warwickwords. This was a great idea as Twitter is creative writing and as a blogger I'm basically a self-published author, right?! It was an interesting experience and although it wasn’t quite as I planned, I loved thinking on my feet and I very much enjoyed stripping it all down to basics for the complete newbies to Twitter.

We also had a new addition to WarwickTweetup this year. We are very proud of Christie @WarwickTweeter for giving birth to the first ever WarwickTweetup baby! I so wanted little Jack to be christened with a hashtag - ah well. Obviously I am over the moon for Christie and James, little Jack is a stunner. We all miss you (well not the tellings-off for me) and we look forward to seeing you soon - 2013 is looking very busy!

Also in October we (well, Jo) decided that we should approach a talented local designer to help with graphics, blogs, workshops and branding issues. Jo was right (as always) and we canvased Charlee from @TheUsualStudio to come on board and design some new images and logos. We are extremely pleased to be using evidence of this exciting collaboration already. At the bottom of this blog you can see the shape of things to come for 2013 - we're moving on up! Thanks Charlee - you work with passion and speed just like us, so it's a match made in heaven!

#WarwickRocks made a welcome return in November as we helped launch the brand designed by Gaz from @LiquidBlu_ once more. The County Council wanted to give a £16,000 olive branch of cash to the traders of Warwick in recognition of a tough summer of roadwork issues. They decided they needed influential and motivated members from a cross-section of Warwick groups, so naturally I made an appearance on this panel! Together we decided that Warwick Rocks was such a great brand and such a symbol of superb community spirit that it was the obvious and perfect choice for things to come. A new town map, website, free branded bags, coffee mugs, and limited edition clothing were created, and on Victorian evening WarwickTweetup manned a stall with the Air Ambulance to promote the campaign. Warwick Rocks was everywhere and it was a great pleasure (as it still is) working with Warwick peers and in particular @JackLinstead on this exciting project. There’s much more to come from Warwick Rocks - stay tuned.

Warwick Rocks at Victorian evening 2012

I had some of my work and Twitter knowledge published this year too. I was very proud to contribute to the first ever Small Business Owner magazine @TheSBOMag on the iPad Newsstand, and I’m very pleased to feature in this month’s edition too. Please download it for FREE if you’re a small business owner. Twitter and writing are passions of mine (as you may have noticed) so it was very exciting to see my words on my favourite device - I was like a kid at Christmas! I would certainly love to do more of this and 2013 will hopefully fulfil my dream of achieving a permanent writing slot somewhere. Many thanks to Jo for making this, and many other opportunities, possible. Without her expert advice and proofreading I would never have got this far.

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And on that note... 

I have to own up to something. With all the blogging and tweeting, photographs of me on this website, hearing me on the radio, and generally being front of house, you'd be forgiven for thinking I do everything on my own. Well they do say that behind every great man is a great woman, but I'm greedy, so in 2012 I've had three great women behind me. These three fabulous women have never stopped pushing me on and supporting me, picking me up when I'm down, encouraging me, convincing me I'm doing well, and generally being the fire in my belly.

None of these fabulous ladies need any introduction as they are everywhere on this website, but I wanted to thank them so they know I appreciate them, and so you know I'm not quite the maverick I make myself out to be!

Christie has been slightly distracted with the birth of #WTUBaby, (sorry, Jack) but before she went on maternity leave @WarwickTweeter was a constant drive of common sense, focus, and take-no-crap attitude in my life. She is to WarwickTweetup what the key is to the car; without Christie's initial idea to 'tweet up' we would never be here, and we still work closely on future plans. Christie, I look forward to being kept in check in 2013 when you're back!

Karen (@KarensPhotos) is obviously a driving force behind WarwickTweetup, and her amazing photography is the reason we look visually brilliant too. Always ready with her camera and a fresh idea up her sleeve, Karen is a force to be reckoned with. Twitter School, LeamingtonTweetup, the Heroes Run, competitions; you name it, Karen thought it up - I just make it work (that's the easy part). Not just content with keeping WarwickTweetup in check, Karen also keeps her eye on me too. We've become great friends since meeting back in February 2011, and her support and encouragement has been awesome! I've changed so much in the last two years and it's because of this amazing journey, but also because I've met amazing people like Karen. Karen, you're awesome and I just wanted to say that!

As for the third great woman behind my fire and passion… Anyone who follows WarwickTweetup on Twitter will know that I'm constantly corrected and also grassed up to a certain proofreader/copywriter. Yes, I'm talking about the brilliant @pinky_princess. Ever since I started tweeting 'your' instead of 'you're', the glamorous grammar police officer has been on my tail. Jo has been quick to point out my mistakes, but also there to encourage and support me. Everything I've done this year has been blogged. Jo has proofread everything, and subsequently added ideas, thoughts and energy to it all. From Twitter School to the Portas Pilot campaign, press releases to magazine articles, Jo has offered inspiration and excitement to my work. Jo was there at Tweetups and attended #Twubcrawls. She helped my energy keep flowing at times when I couldn't do it anymore, and basically ensured we rock like Warwick does. I need to be constantly reminded that WarwickTweetup and what it stands for is great; as crazy as it sounds I sometimes lose faith and focus. Without Jo I would have folded and given up a long time ago and I'm forever grateful for everything I've learnt and gained by working with her. Jo you rock and you know it - thank you for your patience and your amazing support.

If I take nothing else from my time as WarwickTweetup's front man, then it's been a huge success in my eyes.

So thank you Karen and Christie, and thank you Jo - you are all incredible and I am so pleased to be able to work with you. WarwickTweetup is far from a simple a Twitter account, and it's thanks to you that it exists.

So that's 2012, well most of it. To be honest I could write a book about the last two years... and I may just do that at some point! Until then please follow us on Twitter @WarwickTweetup and @LeamTweetup or sign up to our no-spam included newsletter!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has followed us, tweeted us, mentioned us, liked us, commented, shared, read our blogs, visited our website, attended Tweetups, joined us at Twitter School, used the #WarwickRocks merchandise, and generally taken an interest. It's amazing what can be achieved with goodwill and enthusiasm.

WarwickTweetup will always be for the people of Warwickshire, and we hope to continue doing what we do for a long time to come yet.

Wishing you prosperity and happiness in all you do in 2013.

Todd @WarwickTweetup

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Posted by Pete on
Worth saying - not all of the photos on here are from @karensphotos - the Warwick Rocks photo above is actually courtesy of @uneeadisti, who worked for free on the night of the Victorian evening last year...!
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