Voted the ’14th Most Influential Person in the West Midlands’ in 2008. Subsequently not placed.
Jon wrote and directed the first ever piece of drama to be performed on Twitter. Back in 2008 he persuaded a cast including MP Tom Watson to give over their timelines to perform Twitpanto: a full length piece of theatre that spun its story out into the unsuspecting online world. As founding the famous blog Birmingham: It’s Not Shit, he’s also organised psychogeographic trips around Birmingham’s Outer Circle, measured the emotional wellbeing of the city and started Talk Like a Brummie Day. He currently edits Paradise Circus: A Birmingham Miscellany.
In 2014 he published 101 Things Birmingham Gave the World, with a foreword written by Stewart Lee.
His new book about visiting every seaside pier in England and Wales — Pier Review — which has been described as “On the Road meets On the Buses” — is out now.
He’s been working with the social web and online communities for way over 10 years, focussed on audience engagement and large-scale UGC projects and advising local and central government, media and arts organisations and other companies on the social web. He’s also worked for the BBC in tech and community engagement, as a commissioning editor and author on multimedia design books, and as a journalist. All of his projects work in the space where emotion and place collide—online and off.
“Jon is one of the most creative and knowledgeable people I know when it comes to social media…a rare and valuable asset, and one that I cannot recommend highly enough.” Paul Bradshaw
“In a crowded field often peopled by recent converts whose actual knowledge is limited, Jon has a longevity and depth of experience which is priceless. He is also a hugely respected figure right across the sector…which adds immense value as a client.” Siôn Simon MEP
“Jon has ability, experience and imagination. He’s a perfect navigator of social media – using it, explaining it and developing it. He knows exactly how it works. I first worked with Jon at the BBC seven years ago, he was already ahead of the social media game, and he’s continued to innovate and explore. Whatever the project, Jon always adds huge value” Sue Beardsmore
“Jon has a deep seated understanding of how the web works as a conversation, is brilliant at explaining it and instinctive in inventing ideas that work on the social web… Jon Bounds is one of the most generously creative people I know” Nick Booth (Podnosh)
“It was a real pleasure working with Jon on The Big Picture… a never-ending source of inspirational new ideas for how we could make the most of the digital potential of the project…and produce[d] great results.” Caroline Griffin
“Whether coining memes, or developing approaches to improved public consultation on policy documents, or all manner of work in between, Jon cares about his work and the way it touches people. [he] instinctively understands how people do things online, and is a true wit to boot” Jon Hickman (Birmingham City University)
“Jon was a fantastic help in showing me the possibilities of WordPress and social media in general for a significant corporate website development for the NHS. His expertise is second to none. ” Rob Benson (NHS Birmingham East And North PCT)
As someone who’s been immersed in working with online technologies for well over a decade, I’ve gained a great deal of experience in social media as it has grown. The social web is now a jumble of competing and overlapping services, and it can be hard to know where to start. I can help by working with you to discover your social media or online needs, often the most simple of steps can really work wonders. An informal discussion—only one or two hours—will usually throw up a number of ways to increase engagement with your customers or clients.
Whether it’s using Facebook or Twitter to keep in touch, a blog to share your experience and knowledge, or something special for a campaign or event. Whatever the solution I offer training to get you up and running, or if it’s a major project can work on the production side too.
Much of the basis of my advice and consultancy comes from the experimentation allowed by my personal artistic projects, many of which involve place, identity and culture. Here are a couple of examples:
- 11-11-11 was one where I encouraged people to spend 11 hours on the Outer Circle bus route on the eleventh of November 2008. Around thirty people did at least part of that and recorded their journeys online—resulting in a collection of contemporary views of the city. The project was covered extensively in the local media and the supporting website, and repeated in 2009 and 2010.
- In collaboration with the Birmingham Popular Music Archive I invited people to contribute to an online database of music culture in Birmingham, by placing venues, artists, people or anything they felt related to music on a map. A physical artwork of the results was commissioned in the form of the Birmingham Music Map as part of Plug In an exhibition at mac.
- Twitpanto was an online pantomime which I created, wrote and directed.. It also won an award at the Webbys, in the online art category.
How I got here
I’ve been working with online media since discovering the Internet while studying Computer Science at Birmingham University.
I spent nearly four years working for the BBC – as technical co-ordinator of the Public Space at BBC Birmingham, where I designed and built large scale interactive exhibits, permanent and themed interactive displays and film. I’ve also worked as a technical editor, commissioning editor, and author on multimedia design books – including titles on Flash, Director, QuickTime and Final Cut.
I have written features for publications such as Fused magazine, and Area (culture) and Flipside (music) as well as co-editing and contributing to the Birmingham-based literary magazine Dirty Bristow. A collection of my writing is available on the Amazon Kindle store (Poorly Collected Works 2010-11). I have also contributed pieces about Birmingham and the West Midlands to such publications as The Guardian, The Birmingham Post (where I also wrote a blog/column) and bbc.co.uk.
Where I’m from
I’m from Birmingham – a city that historically has had a poor image, but I’ve enjoyed trying to change that with my long running site Birmingham It’s Not Shit and now with the art site Paradise Circus. My blogging and general Birmingham noise-making led me to be listed as the ’14th most influential person in the West Midlands’ in the Birmingham Post’s Power 50 list.