Will Vancouver 2010 be the year we put TV to bed?

Did you get your mitts?My husband and I debated intensely over the period of several weeks prior to the Olympics, whether of not we should get a TV. I was dead against it and he only wanted it for a two week period. I reminded him that as a Brit, he might be annoyed by the “Canadian” focused coverage and thus won the argument.

Personally I was a bit blazé about this whole Olympic event. But once it got started, I found myself caught in the whirlwind of excitement. Walking through the city, the buzz just took control of me and I became an immediate fan. We invited ourselves to a few friends place and went to a pubs to watch the events on their TVs, but we couldn’t justified doing this everyday.

To my delight and more importantly my husbands’, we discovered that we could watch most events on the Internet. CTV streamed all of the events including the medal ceremonies. Using my dual monitor set up, I was also able to follow most of the events at work.

As Mhairi wrote a few weeks ago in a post discussing Social Media and the Olympics, this year was also the first “Twitter” Olympics. Using a series of hashtags such as #van2010 and #olympics following the events became quite fun. I was also able to get and share info about the different houses and free venues using Twitter. For example on day 2 of the Olympics, I found out that the queue for the zip line was already 2 hours long an hour before being opened and posted the info on Twitter. A follower thanked me and made different plans for the day. How great is that?

Prior to giving up TV I also stopped my subscription to the newspaper. The only time I ever looked at the sport section was during the Olympics, but now I no longer had that option. Flickr of course came to the rescue. Following the appropriate tags led me to discover fantastic photographers and photography blogs.

I’m not sure that Vancouver 2010 would have been as much fun without the Internet and I didn’t miss having a TV one bit.

Upcoming Social Media Events

One of the many benefits of living in Vancouver is that we have a great community of Social Networking experts. In the next few weeks, there are numerous upcoming seminars and workshops which you may want to attend.

Social Media Marketing Training in Vancouver and Victoria

Capulet Communications are leaders when it comes to Social Media Marketing. Following a very successful workshop at UBC Continuing Education this past winter, they’ve now scheduled two new sessions. The first in Victoria will be on April 30 and Vancouver on May 28. Having heard both Julie and Darren speak on many occasions and having read their eBook Getting to First Base: A Social Media Marketing Playbook, I highly recommend this workshop to anyone interested in learning how to use their blog, twitter, facebook, etc… and raising their visibility online.
Full details on the workshops can be found on their website.

Mental Health Camp

Following a very popular session at this year’s Northern Voice Conference panel session called Coping Digitally, a few passionate bloggers have put together a full day event. The purpose of the event is to discuss the many ways social media and blogging can help remove the stigma of mental illness. Registration for this event is free and will be held on April 25. Full details and a list of speakers can be found on their website.


Next Tuesday, April 21, Republic will host this month’s Third Tuesday event. Tris Hussey, Social Media Concierge and New Media Specialist will discuss the importance of getting your message out. He will look at the different ways to get your message out and which ones work best. Third Tuesday events are also free of charge and you can sign up by becoming a member of the meet up group.

My thoughts about Northern Voice 2009

Northern Voice MascotThis year’s Northern Voice was my fourth one and I truly enjoyed it. I’ve never been to Friday’s Moosecamp and missed it again this year, opting to catch up on a never-ending to-do list. I heard that Stewart Butterfield‘s Keynote was very good. Luckily for me and all of you who couldn’t make it, the sessions were taped and the videos will be posted on the website once the organizing committee has had time to make their final touches.

The wonderful thing about Northern Voice is that it’s very informal. You won’t find any big wigs walking around with chips on their shoulder. Everyone is friendly and easy to talk to. While the subject of social media is not new to me and generally I’m hearing stuff that I already know, once in a while I find out about a few things that make me go “hmm, I didn’t know that”. For example, I didn’t know what a sock puppet was and even though I was told to check out Radio 3 on CBC years ago, I never did, and Steve Pratt reminded me why I should.

Attending conferences, takes a lot of time, costs money and can be exhausting, but I find the following benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

  1. I always leave each conference with new ideas and renewed energy.
  2. I love to see how great speakers behave in front of the audience. Brianna Tomkinson and David Eaves gave exceptional well articulated presentations.
  3. There’s always someone who makes me laugh and this year, Rob Cottingham‘s keynote was hilarious yet insightful.
  4. I always meet new people who share the same interest.
  5. I don’t always, but often connect with old friends.
  6. I’m reminded of things that were on my to-do list and never got around to.

Seeing how people use social media in every day life to help a group of kids and hearing how traditional companies are daring to break the rules proved very inspiring and I hope to see more examples of these next year.

The folks behind Northern Voice have asked for feedback and all I can say is keep up the great work. Your conference is always exceptional and well worth making time for.

Web Directions North returns in February 2009

This year, Web Directions North moves to Denver Colorado – a hub city for many airlines, and a non-stop flight from all over North America. And the skiing’s not bad either. The conference is on February 4 and 5, with workshops on February 2 and 3, and the now legendary ski trip February 6 and 7, in Breckenridge, the most popular ski resort in North America.

I’ve attended the previous 2 conferences in Vancouver and would recommend it to anyone wishing to freshen up their web development skills.

Will your vote be environmentally friendly?

With just a few more weeks until Canadians go the polls the folks at Vote for Environment have been pushing hard to push their message to more than 1 MILLION Canadians. Of the 2 western countries that have decided to ignore Kyoto, Canada is one of them. If you’re concerned about the Conservative’s anti-environmental policy then this website is for you. [website no longer online]

All 3 of the other parties (Liberals, NDP, Greens) have strong(er) environmental policies, but which to vote for?
The Vote For Environment website makes it easy for you to decide. Simply type in your postal and take a look at which of the 3 parties can beat the Conservatives in your riding. As long as these 3 parties get enough seats, they should be able to forward a greener agenda.

Be sure to check out their sponsor, De Smog Blog. Their new website dedicated to the election and the one across the border analyzes each candidate’s platform on climate change and assigns them with a rating.

This Canadian election may not be as exciting as the US one, but the outcome may affect the future of humankind more critically than any previous elections.

Overloaded with too much info?

I had lunch with Rob a few weeks ago and we both agreed that keeping up with content is becoming more and more difficult. I only have 54 subscriptions in my Google Reader, yet every day I have 50 or so posts to read and I could easily add another 50 subscriptions. I’m not even sure if the 54 that I am reading are the ones I should be reading and fear that I’m missing out on vast amounts of information and just can’t keep up.

This can be even more challenging if you are starting a web business and not sure if you grasp all of the terminology. How are you supposed to find out which headline will bring more traffic to your blog, or what will prompt your website visitor to buy your product? I could tell you to go and read such and such blogs, but sometimes there is just not enough time to read all of that stuff.

So what can you do instead? How about checking out Sean‘s cartoons? With very simple illustration Sean’s blog is full of advice with accompanying cartoons that clearly explain complicated subjects. I’m not saying that by reading his blog your products will fly off the shelf, but you’ll probably learn a great deal and his cartoons are very clever.

Here is my favourite:

The lesson here: Your users don’t have that many eyeballs. Cut the crap from your site.

New Home for Your (not-so-)Old Tech & Office Stuff

While this might be a little off-topic, here’s a brief plug to check out the BC Crisis Centre’s Wishlist. In addition to office equipment, they could also use some kitchen equipment for their volunteer’s break room and a volunteer photographer.

Bluelime has been helping the Crisis Centre with their websites for years, and we’re looking forward to launching an updated version of their web-based youth hotline in the near future.