Recapping Sam Sullivan’s 11th Public Salon

Tonight, I attended my first Public Salon–an event hosted by former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan and the Global Civic Policy Society. Seven speakers had seven minutes to tell a story that expanded our minds. Listening to each, I felt that each was able to inspire by sharing their personal stories and what drives them to excel.

The speakers ranged from Shari Graydon who tries to correct the prevalent gender bias among media by empowering women to step up as experts to Myriam Laroche, the founder and President of Eco Fashion Week, and The Right Honourable Michaelle Jean who is now a UNESCO envoy. Jean has also recently launched her own foundation to enable Canada’s youth to become changemakers.

Since so many folks did an excellent job of tweeting gems from the evening, I’ve collected the best in a tweet transcript powered by Storify. One thing is clear: we need more events like these in Vancouver! Please help spread the word so we can continue to hear from the city’s best and brightest.

Vancouver’s hungry for open dialogue on media and ethncity

Me in Media: The Team
Photo credit: Jeremy Lim

Last Tuesday, the United Nations Association in Canada and Schema Magazine co-hosted Me in Media, a public town hall to explore how we can make Vancouver a more inclusive city through media.

CoopCulture helped sponsor the event and, as its Director of Online Media, I put together the social media strategy to promote this free event.

As always, it’s gratifying to see an event come together after months of patient planning over coffee, Skype calls, phone calls and Google Docs.

But most importantly, it’s invigorating to be in a room filled with likeminded people who are passionate about the same thing that drives us to volunteer our time: how we can use media to make positive change.

Over the course of two hours, people sent out 352 tweets that included the event’s hashtag, #meinmedia, and we became a trending topic in Vancouver.

Screenshot of Trendsmap showing trending topics in Vancouver

Five days after the event, the number of total tweets has risen to 661. In fact, the most recent 50 tweets have reached 20, 453 people and produced 47,707 impressions according to TweetReach.

Screenshot of Tweetreach, showing reach of most recent 50 tweets for #meinmedia


The numbers show how hungry we are for more events like #NetCulture and Me in Media where we can come together, be candid and brainstorm new ideas.

Check out our live blog below for a tweet-by-tweet transcript of the evening.

What do you think our next town hall should tackle?

Social Media for Social Change

Tweet Transcript of a Community Workshop

Last week, Social Media Club Vancouver and the Projecting Change Film Festival (PCFF)  co-presented a workshop to help change agents learn tips and tricks for using social media to support their projects. For a full recap, see my friend Yuri’s comprehensive post.

Proceeds from the workshop went to support PCFF which starts Thursday, May 26 and runs to Sunday, May 29.

Since I love using Storify to document events, I put together key tweets, pix and vids for anyone who missed the event.

Live Blog: #NetCulture: Stories of Culture + Diversity in Social Media

Woot! On Tuesday, April 5, I’ll live blogging #NetCulture: Stories of Culture + Diversity in Social Media right here. Speakers from our culturally diverse communities will share how social media has helped them strengthen their identities, roots and friendships. Go to for the full agenda and list of speakers, bios and presentation topics.

#nowyvr with @jaybaer

Last night, I attended the Vancouver leg of Jay Baer’s book tour, promoting The Now Revolution. Funny and bright, his presentation was packed with solid, clear advice. Social Media isn’t cheap, easy or optional–companies who move fast, smart and get more social will excel in today’s reality. Following his presentation, a great panel moderated by Kemp Edmonds talked shop–from how to tell the gurus and experts apart and QR Codes to cross-posting on different social networks. I created a story via @Storify, capturing the highlights I thought you’d find most interesting. Thoughts?

Flavour of the Month: Content

January is shaping up to be a sweet, sweet month when it comes to content.

Next week, I’ll be attending the 2011 Content Marketing Retreat at the Langley Center for New Media in Washington state from January 13-14, 2011.

I found out about the event before the holidays on Twitter. Luckily, the event is only two hours away from Vancouver so I registered.

I’m looking forward to being able to dedicate a good chunk of time to think about content strategy, budgeting and analytics. Typically, I have to squeeze in relevant readings at bedtime—not the best means of keeping abreast of any topic.

The keynote speaker is Joe Pulizzi, founder of Junta 42 and co-author of Get Content, Get Customers. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest and have an interest in the program, check out the 2011 Content Marketing Retreat.

On January 20, 2011, I’ll be at the next event put together by Third Tuesday Vancouver organizers Joseph Thornley and Jeremy Lin which brings CC Chapman, co-author of Content Rules, to our city. The book focuses on how each of us are now publishers—whether we want to or not—and how quality content can turn customers into willing advocates who engage and share what we produce.

Want a preview of the book? Boom.

Am I missing any local events about content? Drop a comment to share it with me.

My First (Last?) Barcamp Vancouver

Open to All—Except Advertisers

Yesterday, I joined 175 folks at BarCamp Vancouver 2010, an event billed by local organizers as an “ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment.” I had read an entry on Wikipedia about the history of BarCamp before registering and expected an informal, peer-driven series of sessions on a variety of topics.
Happily, Barcamp Vancouver didn’t disappoint on that score. Armed with post-its, a plastic milk crate and the stopwatch on an iPhone, the organizers opened the floor to a steady stream of participants who wished to pitch a session. All attendees then “voted” to see which topics ocurred in the big room (sponsored by Mobify), medium-sized “Nitobi” room or in the smaller rooms on the upper floor at The Waldorf Hotel. Since I’m more interested in social media than coding, I headed for the following:
Listen, I enjoyed myself and met up with old friends and made a few new contacts too. The conversations were sharp, smart and I left knowing more about how to set up a strong promotion in Groupon, why Reddit is cannibalizing Digg’s user base, and how developers used a “Trojan” system at BBC to first standardize company websites before centralizing key systems.
Mission accomplished, right? Err, right.
Except that I can’t shake the feeling that I was an interloper–someone to be politely tolerated rather than strictly welcomed at yesterday’s event.
I’ve spent the large part of my career in corporate advertising. I’ve held all sorts of positions within the field, from copywriter to proofreader and content strategist. I define myself first and foremost as an advertiser.
During Eric Weaver’s session on Why You Don’t Need a Social Media Strategy, things got a little…tetchy. Weaver’s from DDB, a large creative agency, and–incidentally–one of the event’s sponsors.
During his presentation, he walked us through a recent campaign for Unilever’s Knorr product line of Sidekicks in which the character of Salty, an anthropomorphized salt shaker, became the emotional hook for driving awareness and engagement. Sales rose by 10%, the client’s website experienced the highest traffic ever and the brand overtook Uncle Ben which had been the market leader until then. Weaver’s point was that we shouldn’t get sidelined by the tools, it’s about having an integrated strategy that starts with the business’s end goals in mind.
But during yesterday’s session, the comments veered off the topic to focus on the product itself rather than the strategy Weaver and his team implemented to achieve success. He was asked to defend the line of rice which was “poisin,” then his industry’s business model (making money by making money for his clients), and the ethics of crass agencies co-opting the social media space for their own greedy ends.
To be fair, I think there were people who were genuinely engaged in the conversation and not for the sake of pure conflict. (See Weaver’s own diplomatic tweet.)
But for the most part the conversation seemed adversarial, argumentative and deliberatively rude. I felt pummelled sitting in the audience. Others noticed too. After the session, a special #adrant was organized to continuing exploring “people’s hate of advertising agencies.” I stuck around for it but didn’t glean much truthfully so I’m leaving it to others for their take.
In the end, I’m left with the same question I tweeted yesterday: “If you are so turned off by big, bad advertisers, maybe you shouldn’t ask them to be your sponsor?”
And should I, and others who work in advertising, feel welcome to join Barcamp Vancouver 2011?
Updated to include a link to Earl Von Tapia’s excellent presentation on Reddit.