This is a pretty easy one to define.
It’s a hash tag used on Twitter when discussing BIMmy things when users want all UK BIM folk to be able to see or search for relevant posts.
Learn. Share. Improve. Repeat.
Simple as that.
What people actually use it for is another thing altogether…
Anyone half serious about their Twitter use will have some sort of app or web based client that allows them to set up a search for a particular term. This is what hash tags are for; at any point when I check Twitter, I can easily see relevant UK BIM posts. Most hash tags are short lived (sports or charity events etc) but some are perennial like the sarcastic #justsayin or now #UKBIMCrew.
The difference in this case is that a fairly sizeable group of prolific tweeters who use this tag now end up meeting face to face on a regular basis through work-related events; not all at once but sporadically, in different parts of the country, having similar or related discussions. The hash tag became physical!
However, occasionally a much larger group gather and it’s clear that we all have the same goal. At some time last year, pre #AU2012 (Google it) I created a UKBIMCrew Twibbon (Google that too) and I’ve taken a lot of flak for it but I still think it was the right thing to do. Recognising that there would be a large number of us BIM folk at AU and that (due to the UK’s co-ordinated BIM drive) our global followers wanted to speak with us in person, I thought something that identified us would work.
Needless to say it did; our global counterparts now recognise several of us virtually and in person. Not only this, but with many #UKBIMCrew advocates working on projects globally and some having moved abroad, the tag has expanded. After discussions with our US friends at the Revit Gunslinger event in Boston, we now also have #GlobalBIMcrew. Obviously, not everything we tweet about is globally relevant, but it’s a great way to filter the search results – I have a search stream in HootSuite that combines both tags. Easy.
Some stats for you now… the #UKBIMCrew Twibbon has been applied to over 160 Twitter accounts and here’s where it becomes tricky to explain without sounding elitist; about 100 of those don’t use the hash tag and are pretty much silent when it comes to BIM tweets. In the past week, the Hashtag has been reached 7532 people, but only used by 33 accounts. More stats can be found here.
The original intention of the Twibbon, was to identify ourselves as a group of UK BIM advocates who freely share knowledge and help one another to solve issues. We are all interlinked through our careers and often find ourselves sat across the table in meetings representing the companies we work for. As a ‘group’ we don’t mind who uses the Twibbon, but it makes no sense to use it but not share your BIM experiences. We all learn from them, no matter how trivial you consider them to be. I guarantee that if you search for the tag, you’ll learn something or find new, experienced people to follow from any sector or discipline in the built environment realm.
The ‘group’ is now in a strange position; we’d like to keep ourselves as an organic, informal Twitter-based one ‘free from corporate bull schiz and politics’ (to quote one of ‘us’ – you know who you are!) but it has been suggested that we’re now recognised by the Cabinet Office as a stakeholder in UK BIM development. We have also seen that we now have a ‘hang out’ area set aside at the upcoming BIMShowLive (#BSL2013) which could work quite well to encourage more knowledge sharing. It would seem that the group is becoming more formal and whilst we NEED to keep it informal, organic and leaderless, we feel the need to assume control to ensure it’s not high-jacked. In this respect things may evolve, I’m not sure how but something will happen.
I’m not sure how long it will last, but for now please use both #UKBIMCrew and #GlobalBIMcrew to share knowledge dependant upon tour tweet content. The replacement will be along very soon I’m sure.
Watch this space.