There’s life Jim, but not as we know it…

Having moved back to the UK from Mexico, my wife and I decided to move to Cheltenham instead of return to live and work in London.

Although massive fans of the big city we’d pretty much had enough of hectic, polluted megapolises after living in Mexico City (population c. 25 million) for four years.

So here we are. Having moved back in June we have finally readjusted (although not to the cold) and are now looking at our future here.

Having worked in media, both on and offline, I am looking to move into the digital world in the South West, but have always wondered:

Is there (digital) life outside the M25?

Many would have it that there isn’t. When I informed friends who work in the industry (and are based in London) that, shock horror, I was considering moving here, they were almost aghast.

What? Online? In the south west?

This was said time and time again, so much so that I really began to believe that I couldn’t possibly entertain the notion of a decent career outside the capital.

After really very little effort or research I could see straight away that this was very short-sighted.

According to The Top 100 South West Creative Companies 2009, the top ten digital agencies had a combined annual turnover of £32,361,714. The number one dagency, Sift, netted just over £7 million.

Of these 10, eight are based in Bristol, suggesting that my quest for work may be focussed there, but the fact that there are ten in my view is very healthy.

In terms of media owners the obvious company to mention is Future, based in Bath, and publisher of titles such as totalfilm.com and metalhammer.co.uk. With presence in both the UK and globally, Future is increasing it’s digital arm every year and tops the South West’s top publishing company list.

Finally, there seem to be healthy communities of people here (admit it, we’re geeks) who want to explore the possibilities of digital and social media in the South West. In Bristol, Brrism (Bristol Social Media) holds monthly meet up’s to talk shop, whilst I shall be heading off to Chelteham’s DigiTalks tonight (I’ll post to give my feedback).  What with various tweeps looking at starting up a Cheltenham-based Social Media Cafe, things look pretty healthy here.

I’m confident that digital life does not end at the M25, but would love to hear from you if you are a social media consultant, if you have your own digital agency or are pushing the boundaries in digital publishing. I’d love to promote you (and then maybe one of you can give me a job 😉 ).

Alternatively if you run or attend a social media community in the South West (or anywhere outside London really) it would be great to promote you too. It’s a regional love-in!

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3 responses to “There’s life Jim, but not as we know it…

  1. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for There’s life Jim, but not as we know it… « Simon Says…Stay Social [simonburgessblog.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

  2. and then compare that to what’s available / happens in London. my point wasn’t that there’s nothing outside of our bubble, but just that it’s (a) far smaller, (b) likely to pay worse, and (c) whisper it, but often the work’s not as good (although this last point is obviously a sweeping one, as of course dross is produced here, and great stuff does surface outside).

    whatever you do mate, I wish you the very very best of luck and will do whatever I can to help.

  3. @doug That wasn’t actually a dig at you…various people had given me the same answer. I guess I just wanted to see what actually was around as not many people seem to know.

    Plus I thought it would be a good subject to get some debate going. So thanks… I’m sure your last point will spark that for anyone reading this!

    I’m going to be living here I’d like to embrace what is here and be a part of it. Thanks for your support by the way I do really appreciate it.

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