Vancouver Photo from Space Thanks to Astronaut Chris Hadfield


Monday, January 14th, 2013 — 9:45am PDT
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Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has been communicating with the world below by sending Twitter updates and posting photographs from aboard in the International Space Station. Hadfield blasted off from Kazakhstan on December 19th to start a 5-month mission and has been posting information about his work. Along the way he has also been answering questions for everyone from students to celebrities, and has boosted his Twitter following from 20,000 to about 212,000 today.

He starts off each day with listing some housekeeping items, you know just you run of the mill “to do” list… from SPACE: “Good Mon Morning, World! Today: start installing a new telescope in the US Lab window, finish H20 sampling, and run a colloids experiment.” Between tasks, he takes photos and shares them with the world: “I do my best to take photos & Tweet in the short gaps between work tasks; a wonderful motivation to get ahead of the timeline.”

His photos of Earth have included tropical islands, geological anomalies, sand storms, the Australian wildfires, and the aftermath of blizzards on the East Coast of Canada. A few weeks ago I noticed that he hadn’t posted much from the West Coast of North America. There was a shot of Seattle that appeared but doing a quick Twitter search I found quite a few people asking if he would capture Vancouver.

Yesterday at about 3:00pm Pacific time, the Vancouver and Victoria photos came in:

Now we’ve seen photos of Vancouver before. Taken from planes, satellites, and zoom-able on Google Earth or Maps. However it’s quite something to have a man, in orbit, snap the picture for you.

Hadfield’s mission is to carry out scientific experiments, operate the Canadarm2 to perform robotics tasks and oversee operations as the first Canadian Commander of the ISS as of March 2013. Because of his accessibility, passion for photography, music, communications, and philosophy, Hadfield has become a Canadian celebrity. He’s made science and space a daily topic of conversation.

Follow him on Twitter @CMDR_Hadfield and I also recommend following the Canadian Space Agency.

Taste BC 2013


Friday, January 11th, 2013 — 1:29pm PDT
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The 19th annual Taste BC fundraising event, that pairs food and drink with helping out a deserving local cause, returns Tuesday, January 15, 2013. Hoted by Liberty Wine Merchants, it features live music, door prizes, a silent auction, and tasty offerings from local restaurants and wineries.

Come to Taste BC on January 15th at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver from 4:30pm to 7:30pm to experience the best of BC wines together with local food and entertainment. Tickets are currently available for $49.99 at all Liberty Wine Merchants locations.

Proceeds will once again support the BC Children’s Hospital’s Oak Tree Clinic. Follow Taste BC on Facebook and Twitter for more information.

Vancouver Icons: Granville Bridge


Friday, January 11th, 2013 — 11:10am PDT
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The City of Vancouver has announced that the Granville Bridge will be undergoing seismic upgrades throughout 2013. Beginning this month, expansion joint replacements will take place which will result in closures between 12:00am and 5:00am from March to November. There will also be daytime lane closures from June to October.

While the bridge itself isn’t much to look at, it does have quite a bit of history and its underbelly is frequently featured in photos of the city — making it today’s Vancouver Icon.

glorious Vancouver Summer to Fall ...
Photo credit: Judy B – The Travelling Eye on Flickr

A View To The Past Crossing The Granville
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks & Clayton Perry Photoworks on Flickr

Under The Bridge
Photo credit: Basedigital Images (Away…) on Flickr

As the sun was setting
Photo credit: Eric Flexyourhead on Flickr

Strength Over Head
Photo credit: Ecstaticist on Flickr

Granville Bridge.jpg
Photo credit: bkang83 on Flickr

Under the Granville Bridge, foggy Under the Granville Bridge
Photo credit: colink. & colink. on Flickr

False Creek at night
Photo credit: Zorro1968 on Flickr

Granville Bridge in the Rain
Photo credit: BillXu Photos on Flickr

Under The Bridge Downtown False Creek twilight
Photo credit: Clayton Perry Photoworks & Erix Flexyourhead on Flickr

The Blue
Photo credit: {e u g e n e} on Flickr

Other Vancouver Icons posts include: 217.5 Arc x 13′, Canoe Bridge, Vancouver Block, Bloedel Conservatory, Centennial Rocket, Canada Place, Old Courthouse/Vancouver Art Gallery, Dominion Building, Science World, Gastown Steam Clock, SFU Burnaby, Commodore Lanes, Siwash Rock, Kitsilano Pool, White Rock Pier, Main Post Office, Planetarium Building, Lord Stanley Statue, Vancouver Library Central Branch, Victory Square, Digital Orca, The Crab Sculpture, Girl in Wetsuit, The Sun Tower, The Hotel Vancouver, The Gassy Jack Statue, The Marine Building, and The Angel of Victory. Should you have a suggestion for the Vancouver Icons series please feel free to leave a note in the comments. It should be a thing, statue, or place that is very visible and recognizable to the public.

Social Media Awards in Vancouver for Students and Business


Thursday, January 10th, 2013 — 2:19pm PDT
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The Social Media Awards are a new campaign aimed to shine a spotlight on students and businesses that are making a difference in the online realm. They are a product of the Social Media Network which is comprised of university students, industry professionals, and recent graduates from various BC post secondary institutions with the goal of bridging the gap between education and business life.

vancouver-social-media-awards-2013The awards opened a nomination process in the fall of 2012 and in December the Top 7 nominees in each of the following categories were revealed: Best Blog (student & business), Best Social Video Channel (student & business), Social Media for a Student Organization (student), Best Social Media Campaign (business), and Must Follow 2013 (student & business).

A public vote will launch at 7:00pm on Thursday, January 10, 2013 and close on Thursday, February 21, 2013.

The top three nominees from each category will then be judged by a panel based on content, creativity, engagement, and overall experience. The business categories will also be judged on concept and integration.

Thanks to the Social Media Network, I have been added to the panel of judges that includes Dave Olson from HootSuite, Karm Sumal from VancityBuzz, Nikolas Badminton from TAXI, Steve Kim from BCAMA and Boilingpoint Group, Thomas Stringham from Hot Tomali, and Peter Chao from Pyrobooby. We’ll have a tough job to do in a few weeks but it will feel great to recognize the people and organizations that have been doing positive things with their online reach.

The awards will then take place during a reception and ceremony at the Roundhouse in Yaletown on Thursday, March 28, 2013. Three industry speakers will give their perspectives and insights on social media campaigns and practices and the winners will announced. Tickets go on sale later today. Follow TheSMSAwards on Twitter for the latest information.

WordCamp Victoria 2013


Thursday, January 10th, 2013 — 1:06pm PDT
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Victoria is hosting its annual WordCamp event this Saturday, January 12, 2013 at UVic. This one-day conference covers all things WordPress, which has come a long way from simply being a blogging platform. WordPress actually powers many of the world’s most popular websites (including CNN, New York Times, GM, and more) and is still a leader in personal blogging with WordPress.com. Miss604 has also been powered by WordPress since 2006.

We have been in the custom WordPress website business for almost 5 years so organizing, sponsoring, or donating our time at WordCamps across North America is important to us. I’ll be participating in two events at this weekend’s WordCamp Victoria:

Picking Perfect Pics
I will provide a beginner’s guide to finding the right photos for your blog and displaying them correctly. Includes basic tips for photo sizing, WordPress plugins, and integrating applications like Flickr and Instagram.

Blogger Panel
I will join Katharine Holmes and Janis La Couvée on a panel to talk about all things blogging. Questions from past sessions included advertising, disclosure, statistics tracking, security, finding topics to write about, and more.

I will be bringing a few copies of my book Blogging to Drive Business: 2nd Edition and Canadian Cloud Hosting will be giving away some signed copies as well.

Other topics throughout the day will include (but are not limited to) Video for WordPress & the Web, Paying for Love: When to Buy Premium Themes and How to Make the Most of Them, Making Your Plugins Sparkle With AJAX, Focusing WordPress Search, Growing your Business by Community Blogging, and Use WordPress to Build a Membership Website. The keynote speaker is Morten Rand-Hendriksen. He’s a WordPress pro who delves deep into the code to find practical solutions for developers and we always walk away from his talks feeling completely enlightened.

Tickets are still available (for less than $25) if you’re able to join us at WordCamp this weekend. If you need accommodations, talk to Accent Inns who have been great partners of the blogging and social media scene in Victoria for several years. If you have already signed up, watch this space for announcements throughout the day and follow YYJWordCamp on Twitter.

YVR Airport’s Social Media Management


Thursday, January 10th, 2013 — 11:33am PDT
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What happens when you combine a record snowfall at the airport and holiday travel? A little bit a chaos. Add snowfall up and down the West Coast and a blizzard moving across the Midwest and you’ve got delays splashed across every notification board. John and I were heading to Iowa on December 19th, the day of the biggest snow storm this season, and we were pasted to Twitter looking at notifications from Vancouver International Airport (“YVR”) and our airline.

Now that the dust has settled, I asked Alisa Gloag, Senior Communications Specialist at YVR Airport how they planned for days like that and how they were able to manage all of the voices coming through, from operations notices to agitated travelers and frustrated 140-character messages on Twitter.

YVR Observation Area

“We knew Vancouver’s first snow fall was going to be busy for our Communications team between mainstream media and social media, but I’m not sure anyone anticipated just how busy social would be!”

Alisa said that last month’s snow storm on the 19th was the single busiest day they’ve had since they joined Twitter in 2008. “We wanted to make sure everyone who got in touch with us we responded to – even if they were frustrated and upset with the weather delays.”

“We had a solid plan ahead of time with some important messages ready like reminding people to plan ahead, check their flight status and leave extra time.”

Having a social media plan in place (for every day communications, not just emergencies) was the best way for them to prepare for the avalanche of messages. “We do have a comprehensive social media strategy and plan for YVR that we review and adjust to meet with the evolving nature of social media. The main focus of the plan is pretty simple: we work to care for every customer, whether they are online using social platforms or are in our terminal buildings. We want to make sure travellers have a great airport experience at YVR and responding to our customers in whatever way they engage with us – Twitter, Facebook, email, in person – helps us achieve this.”

On the 19th alone, the @YVRAirport handle was mentioned 116 times and they gained 80 followers, the biggest jump in their numbers to date. “We monitor our mentions and a number of key words primarily using HootSuite in combination with other monitoring tools like Google Alerts and Media Miser.”

They don’t just track “YVRAirport” they also take it a step further and monitor social networks for “YVR” to make sure they capture all mentions that might apply to them. I recall looking through some of the incoming messages for the airport’s Twitter by doing a quick Twitter search. Colourful language, obvious frustration, and less-than-complimentary adjectives were interspersed with questions, comments, and general concerns that were looking for responses. Each and every one of these updates was viewed by the YVR communications team.

“In the case of last month’s snow storm, trying to get information to passengers in the terminal, as well as responding to each tweet, certainly made for a busy day! But we knew that the first winter weather would attract a lot of attention so we had a game plan ready with available resources ready if needed.” Alisa said that they sent out their first tweet at 6:30am and made the commitment to update their followers every 30 minutes. They brought in extra team members in the afternoon to make sure they didn’t miss a single reply. “I’m extremely fortunate to work with fantastic people here at the airport, which makes all the difference when you have a number of comments (and not always positive ones!) all coming in at once.”

It’s definitely a team effort. From media relations and communications to the operations department who ensures that Alisa and her colleagues are are getting the most accurate and timely information out to their customers. “We’re committed to open, honest and timely communications across all channels. On social media platforms, that means responding to every tweet we receive in a timely manner.”

Recognized internationally for its services, features, operations, artwork, amenities, and accessibility, perhaps now you can add social media management to YVR Airport’s list of qualities.

Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and the YVR Connections Blog for more information.