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Taking #SMcamp Lessons to #Saltspring

One of the big takeaways from Social Media Camp in Victoria BC this weekend was ‘don’t piss off the #YYJ tag’. Inevitably it happened as nearly 700 ‘savvy’ people from all around Victoria, BC – and well beyond – , with speakers like @Chris Brogan and Erica Ehm @YummyMummyClub exciting all the attendees, and we wanted to share. Yes – so Twitter was full of conference notes and pics on Twitter with the #YYJ tag, and it filled the stream. So, apologies Victoria BC…we promise to do it again.

When you teach you learn: and that is evident at this convention. Being a panelist or presenter is a privileged position no doubt, but I was frankly stunned, and delighted, at the direct feedback, questions, and experience from delegates that enriched the entire weekend. There are no ‘Social Media Gurus’ or ‘Experts’ – there are people with experience, and the best know that asking questions is the best way to learn. So thank you to everyone at Social Media Camp, I learned, hope you did as well…

On Thursday June 14th I will be on Saltspring Island, at the invitation of the Saltspring Chamber of Commerce. Title of the presentation is “Tips, Tricks and Tools”, and many of those will come from learning at Social Media Camp… Yes, kudos to Erica Ehm for quantifying, Social Media is a Cocktail Party!

June 14th – Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast – Social Media and Your Business!

Join us for this Salt Spring Chamber Breakfast Networking featuring guest speaker Mat Wright who will be discussing social media and how to use it to create success in your businesses.

Thursday, June 14th from 8:00 am to 9:30 am

Location: The Clubhouse Restaurant at the Salt Spring Golf and Country Club – 805 Lower Ganges Road

$19.00 for members, $24 non-members and guests

Full Breakfast Buffet (including tax and gratuity) and Great Prizes!

Register by calling 250.537.4223 or email chamber@saltspringchamber.com






This is What We Do! #SMcamp #YYJchat

Recently I was asked by a friend “So, what is it exactly that you do?”. Great question, as most days there is no set schedule – yes, there are certainly duties for clients as a community manager, webmaster and public relations rep, but as the business has quickly morphed into the realm of social media much of the activity is serendipity. This type of ‘consulting’ and active representation is not taught at colleges – there is no certificate or degree – in fact as with many in similar businesses we spend much of our time teaching, along with research, as communications is an ever changing paradigm.

This is #YYJChat In Real Life!

This is #YYJChat In Real Life!

Which is why a conference like Social Media Camp in Victoria BC is such a delight. Not only an opportunity to both teach and learn, but also to collaborate and put into perspective what ‘we do’. A ‘camp’ is somewhat a misnomer – now in its third year, it has grown quickly attracting keynote speakers like Chris Brogan and Erica Ehm (so cool to meet them!) and this year over 650 attendees.

Often it takes a colleague or presenter to define, or provide the ‘imagery’ to what we as ‘new media’ folks provide clients. In this case, on the first day of the conference one of the best take aways was provided by City of Victoria Councillor Lisa Helps. In her presentation she urged the audience to have courage and jump into social media – or as we both tweeted later for a summary “have the courage to connect”. Those connections make the difference, and having the courage to do something different, or bring something already proven to a new location, is what makes a difference.

We have been running #YYJchat for about 6 weeks, and gaining a wonderful, engaged audience, and it seemed perfect to do it live from Social Media Camp – so we did! Very little planning, no set advanced guests, just dive in… the results, frankly were amazing. Proving, don’t be afraid. The plan was simply to grab speakers and get them to spend sometime live on the chat – result: Mike Russell, (@VicPDCanada) engaged for the full hour, and we were joined by Russell Lolacher (@russlol) who IS @drivebc (among many other great programs) and Louise Hartman (@CTVnewsLouise). A very eclectic group, but it worked – and had it been pre-planned would never have happened.

So the lesson today is, sometimes not planning is better than nailing the details when it comes to social media!



Facebook for Kids, Privacy, Failing Adverts – and Labatts! CFAX with Adam Stirling

Just when you thought everything had been ‘over’ discussed about Facebook, more meat for the grinder. Following an IPO which most realize was not only over-hyped – the share price has dropped 30% – but is dogged by allegations of ‘selected’ information provisions to potential investors and possible insider trading.

Now Facebook is floating the idea of opening profiles to children. The current policy is that users must provide real names and personal data, and be 13 and older, otherwise accounts can be deleted or suspended, but as recent research has discovered a surprising number of under 13s actively use Facebook, with or without, parental permission and supervision.

A combined study by researchers from The University of California, Harvard, Northwestern University and Microsoft Research noted 72% of parents who knew their children were on Facebook also knew they joined before the age of 13. Other studies concluded “20 million minors are active on Facebook, 7.5 million younger than 13, and 5 million under 10 years old”. In the UK, 37% of 10-12 year old children used Facebook.

So, with so many children using social networks, what is the issue? US Federal Law, and similar regulations in the EU, prohibit social platforms from collecting data on under 13s without parental consent. As every post, message and search is essentially ‘collecting data’ Facebook and other social networks simply ban under 13s as gaining permission is too cumbersome. However, as Facebook especially is seeking to extend the brand, and certainly ‘lock-in’ young users before they become attached to other platforms, opening restricted ‘child’ accounts is being considered. These might have default permission settings restricting adverts, only allowing posts ‘friend to friend’ and giving parents final say on who they can connect to.

Privacy Vote

Did you know Facebook has a policy on user votes for privacy and setting changes? If 7000 people comment on a proposed policy change they have to hold a vote under their own corporate rules, and if more than 30% of users veto a change then Facebook can’t implement. Considering the number of current users, nearing 900 million, that’s a very high threshold actually making these ‘referendums’ the largest vote worldwide (beating the voting population of India).

As to this situation: Facebook has new privacy and information sharing proposals published in a document, and the vote allows users to accept the changes, or stick with the current policy.

You can view the documents, and vote your preference by logging into Facebook and going to the Site Governance page – at the top of that page, under the ‘Like’ button is the ‘Vote’ tab.

So what are some of the changes? Facebook needs to make money, obviously, and is looking to extend its advertising network ‘off platform’ to other sites and blogs. Think a similar system to Google ads on non-Google websites (ie: everywhere). This will give FB much more information on user habits as they browse the web and click on likes and ads on other websites.

Currently Facebook holds personal data for 180 days. The proposed changes “will retain data for as long as necessary to provide you services” which could certainly be longer than 180 days”

Easier search: More personal data will be publicly available (like your phone number and email address) so users can search, and find your profile, even if they don’t have your name.


Call it a ‘Zucker-Punch’? A study published on the day before the Facebook IPO UK digital marketing agency Greenlight published a study showing 44% of users have never clicked on an ad and 31% hardly ever click or like adverts or sponsored stories. That coincides with General Motors pulling a $10 million Facebook campaign for poor results, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll which shows the vast majority of users: 4 out of 5, have never bought a product or service – plus the time users spend on the platform is declining.

Countering that: the growth in active users continues, especially in developing countries like India and South America. With new advertising models on the horizon, such as promoted posts (similar to promoted Tweets) in the timeline, and rumours of mobile ads, Facebook might be able to offset the downturn in revenue, but it is still an uphill battle.


Yes, this is connected to Facebook as the Montreal Gazette published a photo of alleged murderer Luka Magnotta (or whatever his real name is) prominently holding a Labatt’s beer in his hand which was found on his Facebook account. Naturally Labatts is not exactly delighted with the brand connection to a suspect who gained world-wide noteriety – but can, or should, the company sue the Gazette over using the photo? And will Labatts regret forcing the issue now that the Twitter meme #NewLabattCampaign has gone viral?

and finally: #YYJChat is Tuesday at 7:30pm with special guest John Vickers, Executive Director Busker’s Festival. Join us on Twitter with your questions on the impact of the Arts in Greater Victoria. We also have a special announcement! #YYJChat will be live at Social Media Camp from Noon to 1pm of Friday June 8th – with a combined audio stream and tweet chat, and some very special guests!

A packed and interesting interview with Adam Stirling: CFAX 1070 (Podcast)

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Social Media and Politics: Gifts or Gaffes?

Amazing how quickly a year passes, and it is time once again for Social Media Camp in Victoria BC

Social Media Camp 2011

Photo credit Raul Pacheco-Vega

I am honoured once again to be on the Politics and Social Media panel with Dr. Janni Aragon (@JanniAragon), Micheal Geoghegan (@BClobbyist) and, new this year, Alissa Wrean (@a_birdie). After reviewing the past 12 months of sometimes bizarre interactions with politics and social media we decided on a title of ‘Politics in Social Media: Gifts or Gaffes?

The battle ground for hearts, minds and votes has extended exponentially into social media at all levels of government, but are individual politicians doing it well? There have been a number of notable online ‘memes’: in Canada with #Vikileaks #TellVicEverything, #HarperHistory and MP Pat Martin’s famous FU tweet, in the US with the anit-SOPA movement (which worked, to an extent), Slut Walk, and so much more…

While each has gained both online, and mainstream media attention, do they really affect governance and policy? Can politicians and governments ignore social media and still be effective? The panel will discuss these questions, and more – and we look forward to your questions and comments.

Time: Friday June 8th, 11am to Noon
Place: Social Media Camp, Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria BC (Conference Registration)
Tag: #SMcamp


Facebook IPO Comedy of Errors, and #YYJChat: CFAX with Adam Stirling

Kind of a role reversal today with an interview on CFAX 1070 on the noon show, but then….the host, Adam Stirling is grilled later in the evening on an open Twitter chat!

Multitasking - Kittens and #YYJChat

Multitasking - Kittens and #YYJChat

No doubt the Facebook IPO was big news, and, in my opinion, a pure comedy of errors. It is not that long ago (or is it for new investors?) that the web was gold, nothing could kill the hype…and we saw so many great ideas die in the dotcom bubble that typified the stock market of the late 1990s. Apparently the rush for cash has not abated – considering how Reuters, BBC and CNBC rated the Facebook sell off. An over hyped stock, that went to $45 per share with an opening price of $38, and is traded at $30 on Tuesday the 23rd of May – 4 days that proved valuation of tech stocks is ephemeral.

and yes, kittens, hence the photo

We also chatted about #YYJChat, and how Social Media is changing the nature of local media – which lead into, frankly, an incredible interaction. You can read it here.

The Podcast: with host Adam Stirling on CFAX 1070

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BC Family Day and Social Media – Engagement or Distraction. CFAX with Adam Stirling

Is having a say on which Monday in February should be a statutory holiday – BC Family Day – an example of government really engaging citizens, or a distraction away from more important, and relevant, issues? This is one of the topics CFAX 1070 host Adam Stirling and I discussed in our latest installment.

Discussing BC Family Day on CFAX - had to bring #1 son!

Discussing BC Family Day on CFAX - had to bring #1 son!

The BC Government is undergoing a two week public engagement exercise, using primarily social media, asking citizens for a preference on what day, starting in February 2013, should be declared ‘Family Day’.

excerpt from BC Government press release

Government will begin a citizen engagement process with the public, and consult with worker groups, employers, the tourism industry and the broader business sector in order to ensure all potential economic and social benefits are taken into account before finalizing a February date for the new holiday…

Since unveiling its Open Government plan in 2011, the Province has implemented a number of new policies and programs including the launch of the Open Information and DataBC websites, as well as a major redesign of the government’s web presence to make it more citizen-focused and user-friendly. In the coming months, B.C. will introduce a new public engagement website to better communicate and collaborate with British Columbians.

Using the Twitter hashtag #mybcfd, Facebook, blog comments, and an online voting system the stated aim is to gather feedback and present a report to the Minister of Labour, Citizen Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid. On Tuesday May 15th there is also a Twitter Town Hall between 12 and 1pm using #mybcfd. It remains to be seen if the collated public preferences will be published in full, and taken into account by the BC Government. As we discussed, public engagement is vital in an increasingly ‘social media’ world, but dangers lurk if they are simply afterthoughts for policy decisions, or if public sentiment ends up being against government preference.

Note: after the interview Twitter posts from listeners provided more information on similar BC Government online and social media engagement initiatives including education and employment issues. Thanks to all who chimed in!

Twitter Town Halls and Tweet Chats are becoming increasingly popular, and can be an interesting method to engage people around an issue, topic, person or location. While they are not new, having been used in many election campaigns – and there are regular ‘Chats’, some involving thousands of participants like #JournChat – there has not been one set for Greater Victoria. Thanks to the idea from Susan Jones (@SusanJones), #YYJChat was initiated on May 8th as a four week experiment, and a showcase to business, organizations and local government on the potential for a local Tweet Chat.

You can participate in #YYJChat every Tuesday from 7:30pm to 8:30pm – for May 15th the guest is Dan Gunn, Executive Director of VIATeC!

To wrap, we talked about local organizations using social media for outreach, including the Victoria Children’s Choir, which is holding The World of Song spring concert on May 28th! – thanks to CFAX and Adam Stirling for the promotion!

The Podcast – CFAX 1070 with host Adam Stirling

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CFAX: What on Earth is #SMCV12 ?

“Google is now developing a Facebook rival, a product similar to Facebook. They say their goal: so you never have to see your friends in real life ever again.” – Jay Leno

What is a hashtag? Why are tweets mentioning Victoria BC tagged #YYJ? Do I really need to use Twitter and Facebook for my business or organization? Find answers from experts at Social Media Camp 2012 in Victoria BC.

Chris Burdge with Adam Stirling

Chris Burdge with Adam Stirling

Now in its third year, Canada’s largest conference dedicated to Social Media has grown to two full days of keynote presentations, workshops, panels and more with interest for the novice to expert. Featured speakers are Chris Brogan, Erica Ehm, Simon Salt and many more, with topics ranging from Building Facebook Pages for Business to Politics and Social Media (see the full schedule)

New this year is the introduction of Power Sessions, and a partnership with Intertainment Media with The Innovation Zone. Participants can also partake in The Knowledge Cafe – one on one or small group training sessions – and even have a conference mentor to choose the the most relevant presentations and workshops, and for introductions.

Finally, Social Media Camp 2012 will conclude with the Coasties, West Coast Social Media Awards

The conference is an opportunity to learn and network: June 8th and 9th, Victoria Conference Centre, Victoria BC Canada Registration is Open!

Congress was broadcast live on Facebook for the first time in history. Now you can waste time and not get work done by watching Congress waste time and not get work done.” –Jimmy Fallon

Podcast: On CFAX1070 with host Adam Stirling (@adam_stirling) and Social Media Camp co-founder Chris Burdge (@b_West)

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CFAX: Alberta Vote Shows Problems with Polling

In a previous post on Social Media and the Alberta Provincial elections it seemed clear by all indicators that the upstart Wild Rose Alliance was headed to certain victory, crushing the 40 year reign of the Progressive Conservatives. Oh, how wrong we were.

In the final week of the campaign, 6 polls all came within 2 points of each other, showing Wildrose ahead in the popular vote by an aggregate of 41% to 33%. Those numbers indicating a majority government. Yet the results on Monday were a complete reversal – instead of winning a majority of seats, and wiping the floor with the popular vote, Wildrose only gained 17 MLAs with the Progressive Conservatives beating all expectations with 61 seats.

What happened with the polling is a matter of considered speculation and hand-wringing by polling companies and media, some journalists even jumping the gun and posting political obituaries to Alison Redford and her Progressive Conservatives before the polls had closed and the votes counted.

via The Globe and Mail: “There’s been much discussion about how the polls could be so wrong,” said Ian Large, vice-president, Alberta, for Léger Marketing.

“My first reaction was, `Oh my, maybe something went wrong’, ,” said David Coletto, chief executive of Abacus Data Inc., which conducted automated-call polling.

It was a late shift, nothing could be done

Mr. Large said Wildrose ran an effective campaign until late controversies — comments on gays and race relations by two candidates, Allan Hunsperger and Ron Leech, and Ms. Smith’s unwillingness to condemn them — reinforced voters’ fears about the party’s social agenda.

“None of the polls were conducted late enough to capture the impact of those comments,” Mr. Large said.

The other challenge, he noted, was that voting took place Monday and that the key shift unfolded during the weekend, when it is harder for pollsters to reach respondents at home.

Like last-minute shoppers, many Albertans made their voting decision during the last weekend, Mr. Large and Mr. Coletto similarly argued, both separately reaching for the image of voters making up their minds after hashing it out at family gatherings.

Listen to the podcast as CFAX host Adam Stirling and I discuss what issues and trends might have caused one of the most interesting election shifts in recent Canadian political history.

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Scoring Social Media in the Alberta Election

The Alberta Provincial election is Monday April 23rd – by the time you read this the results might be in – and judging by the most recent polls the upstart Wildrose Party looks to win a majority upsetting the Conservatives who have held power for decades. Social media has factored into the campaigns, especially highlighting comments, gaffes, by leaders and candidates, so how do the parties and leaders rank in terms of Twitter and Facebook statistics?

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A quick overview of the party leader social media statistics illustrates the two top contenders, The Wildrose Alliance and Progressive Conservatives, easily outweighing the NDP, Liberals and Alberta Party on popularity, Interesting to note the incumbent Premier, Alison Redford has close to 700 more Twitter followers than Danielle Smith of Wildrose, but using it far less – not really engaging with followers. (note, during the Conservative leadership campaign Alison Redford was far more prolific on Twitter)

Wildrose Party and Social Media

Wildrose Party and Social Media

Not surprising that Facebook continues to be the key engagement platform. While Twitter is gaining traction among social media users, the percentage of Canadians on Facebook is still far higher (around 52% on Facebook vs 20% on Twitter). This is where Wildrose overwhelms all other parties and leaders combined, with over 28 000 Facebook page likes – an indicator of popularity and social media campaign strategy. Same is true of Twitter, where the number of updates (messages) put out from the @ElectDanielle profile beats all others combined.

Video is also a factor. All parties have a Youtube channel, although the Liberals are not highlighting theirs and relying on the Liberal MLA Caucus Channel. The latest Wildrose Video – “Wildrose Momentum” – is a slick, 30 second advert posted on April 18th, with nearly 56 000 views. The Conservative Channel by contrast has few high value videos, with the highest view rate on a video posted 2 weeks ago at 3018.

Throughout the election campaign Wildrose has had the better communication team, focusing media on the leader, Danielle Smith, and handling the inevitable gaffes and controversies immediately and with unapologetic clarity. It is no surprise they are leading the polls based on social media engagement alone.



CFAX – Apps, Instagram and Customer Service through Social Media

What makes an 18 month old, free mobile App, worth $1 Billion? Is the App space a new dot comm bubble? Who is doing well using Social Media for customer service? Some answers and a great conversation with Adam Stirling on CFAX 1070.



Instagram was bought by Facebook for $1 billion. Plenty of reasons why this might be a good deal for the Social media giant. First, Facebook has become a far more visuallly oriented platform with the recent introduction of Timeline for both individual profiles and pages. Users are now uploading more photos and graphics than ever before, mainly to gain attention in a crowded space. Instagram’s users fit that profile – a reason to grab that 30-40 million share of the market.

Facebook has also indicated Instagram will remain a stand alone product, and for good reason: advertising. Mobile screen real estate is tiny compared to desktop monitors, and Facebook wants to own the market. By keeping Instagram an open product, those ads can be shared across other social media platforms, like Twitter.

Is it worth $1 Billion? That remains to be seen. Apple, Facebook, Google and others are awash with cash, and seeking to out bid each other for App and mobile share. Look for others to be on the buying block in the near future.

Social Media and Customer Service: Not so long ago BC Ferries was being blasted for having a Twitter account, and not really using it. Times change quickly with a dedicated team online, using social media to post route and service updates, links to answers on parking and fares, weather warnings and, responding directly to questions. Other local, regional companies doing well using Twitter are SHAW, providing quick service requests to customers, Drive BC, highway and road information, and BC Hydro, with responses to power outages. There are plenty more, so if you can add to the list leave a comment on this blog – I’d love to hear of more!

We wrapped up with a question: if companies are raising their profile, and using social media for customer service, where are our local and regional governments? Portland Oregon, and many other cities, are implementing Apps and online engagement tools to do everything from reporting potholes and graffiti, to showing real time updates on garbage collection routes and road repairs. The online, mobile connected, App happy audience is out there – time for our local governments to join the party.

Podcast – Adam Stirling (@Adam_Stirling) on CFAX 1070 (@CFAX1070)

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