How to Participate in a Twitter Chat or Town Hall

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 — 11:05am PST
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Twitter chats and town hall meetings are becoming more popular with the inclusion of celebrities and local politicians who open themselves up to answer questions about specific topics online. If you’re a basic Twitter user, you may now know how to participate in these discussions so I thought that I would outline a few key steps:

Twitter uses hashtags like #Miss604ExplainsTwitterChats. A question I get asked often at speaking engagements is: How do I register a tag? There’s no fee, no process, and no secret to it really. Anyone can create and add a hashtag to their Twitter status simply by including whatever they would like it to be in their status update. Sometimes you’ll even get a facetious tag or one that is used to illustrate an inner monologue like: “I just ate 2 doughnuts #yummy #sofull.”

Using a Twitter tag
Tags are most common when following specific topics since Twitter makes them a hyperlink. You can click on the tags in someone’s Twitter status and see everyone else who is using that same tag.

My first encounter with tags was at conferences when people wanted to talk about speakers, arrange lunch, or share ideas and information. You can even go home later and read through all of the tagged updates on Twitter about #123Conference to see what you might have missed.

Tracking the tag with tools
While at a conference or while tracking a specific topic, I’ll create a new tab in my HootSuite dashboard. HootSuite is a social media manager that allows you to sort your Twitter views into tabs and columns. I can have one tab for Miss604 and columns for my main Twitter feed, another tab for the search term “Miss604”, and another tab for Direct Messages. You can add a tab in HootSuite specifically for topic-related tweets. Under the tab you can add columns such as one for the speakers and another for your @mentions. HootSuite has a free option, is browser-based (no need to download anything), and is developed right here in Vancouver.

HootSuite Tabs

Other applications like Echofon on the iPhone allow you to save searches (for keyword, topics, tags) as well. If you’re not into using another tool, you can simply use the “Search” function in Twitter. Type in the tag you want to follow and watch updates flow through right from Twitter on the web.

I prefer using HootSuite or Twitter’s search but you can also use another third party tool like TweetChat to monitor a tag/topic on Twitter. You just need to sync it up to your Twitter account to participate.

Saving tagged status updates
Once the live chatted has stopped you can archive updates using a tool like Storify that will call up all of the tweets that were posted using a certain tag. You can then build your own recap using the tweets it supplies. You can save your Storify profile for that event and even post it on your blog.

On WordPress (the blogging platform that I use) I can also copy and paste the URL of a Twitter status update into my blog post (as I do below).

Twitter chats around BC
You can now use your topic-tracking abilities to follow discussions like the weekly #BCWineChat on Wednesdays or the #VisionTownHall last night.

On November 13, 2012 from 1:30pm to 2:30pm you can follow Premier Christy Clark and the tag #ERASEBullying for a provincial summit on anti-bullying on Twitter.

Should you have any questions about this topic or other social media practices, please feel free to contact me. My book: Blogging to Drive Business: 2nd Edition is also in stores now.

Google Street Views for Business

Thursday, November 8th, 2012 — 10:04am PST
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You may notice a few new search result features on Google lately when looking up local businesses and restaurants. Google Street Views for Business now takes you inside the establishment to get a lay of the land and a Vancouver company is helping to make that possible.

Alex Duffield Example Google Views for Business

Alex Duffield of InControl Solutions is one of many photographers around the world that is trusted by Google to capture these images for their listings. “They launched [Street Views for Business] officially in May of this year, with ‘certified photographers‘ after doing tests in selects cities in the US the year before,” Alex told me. “I heard about the program through a contact at Nodal Ninja, a company that makes the special camera rotators that are used.”

Alex applied for the program and was approved. So far he’s shot tours for over 120 attractions and was the second highest performing photographer for North America this past September. He also has a certified staff member in Whistler.

So just how does it work? How does a business get their virtual tour image to show up on Google? You can start by checking out the Google Business Photos information page and selecting a photographer. Alex says businesses then pay them directly and they make it happen.

“It is a one time fee to cover our time in shooting the location, uploading and moderating the tour on Googles servers and publishing. Moderating is basically making sure all faces and license plates are blurred, positioning the tour correctly on google maps, and making sure each point in our tour is linked correctly and at the right distance form each other so that when the user navigates the tour, the arrows point correctly and the tour flows well.”

Examples: Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, CinCin, Flying Beaver Bar & Grill, Yaletown Brewing Company.

Alex’s company provides clients with the final copies of the photos and they remain property of the business, allowing them to use the images as they like once the tour is published. The business licences the images to Google to use online as well as the photographer (Alex) to use in marketing efforts. They shoot fisheye shots and non-fisheye, stitched and non-stitched, 360 degree photos, and more. Photos without any effect are used on the business’ Google+ local page.

“As far as benefits to the business, apart from the obvious in giving user the ability to virtually come in and look around an establishment, there are several perks that help enhance the online presence and format on how the company will be seen in search results.” Alex says that having a tour provides a ‘look inside’ image to company listings in Google search results, Google Maps, and on local businesses pages.

To find a Google Trusted Photographer businesses can search Google’s directory for one in their area. There are currently six in Vancouver with Alex listed as one of three Top Performers. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Vancouver History: Photographer Art Jones

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 — 2:07pm PST
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After publishing almost 100 posts with collections of photos from the Vancouver Archives and Vancouver Public Library, I have taken note of some important and prolific photographers from Vancouver’s earlier days. One name that comes up often is Artray Studio“>Artray Studios or Artray Limited. Today’s collection of photos from the Vancouver Library Archives features the work of Art Jones.

1948 – Art Jones & staff in gag photo. VPL Number: 80437.

Art Jones, together with fellow photojournalist Ray Munro, left the Vancouver Sun to incorporate artray limited early in 1948 and to produce all of the photographs that are now available through this website. Art and Ray were only in business for a very short time; Art bought Ray Munro out later that year. [Vancouver Public Library]

1948 – Overturned streetcar at 4th & Alma. VPL Number: 84841.

1940s – Vancouver Capilanos Baseball. VPL Number: 84038 & 84287.

1945 – CKMO Radio. VPL Number: 80452.

(Left) 1948 – Orpheum billboard on the sidewalk. VPL Number: 80502.
(Right) 1948 – Candy display at the Stanley theatre. VPL Number: 83121.

1948 – Orpheum Theatre & symphony. VPL Number: 83114.

Early in 1994, a collection of approximately 11,000 photographs from Artray Limited Photographers was donated to Vancouver Public Library. This collection comprises a treasure trove of images of Vancouver from the 1940s and 50s depicting: street scenes; vehicles; traffic accidents; local and visiting celebrities; theatres; parades; local architecture and industry; sports; people at work and play, as well as aerial views of the city. [Vancouver Public Library]

(Left) 1948 – Hockey fight. VPL Number: 84084.
(Right) 1948 – PCHL Canucks win Henderson Cup. VPL Number: 84099.

1948 – Red Cross flood relief operations. VPL Number: 83568.

1948 – Fraser Valley Flood. VPL Number: 83564.

(Left) 1948 – Looking north on Burrard from Dunsmuir. VPL Number: 80556. (Right) 1948 – West Broadway at Maple. VPL Number: 80522.

Related posts: Philip Timms, Leonard Frank, Walter Edwin Frost, Bailey Bros., Don Coltman, Fred Herzog.

NCAA Basketball at SFU

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012 — 11:53am PST
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Simon Fraser University was a regular Sunday drive destination for my family when I was younger since my it was my father’s alma mater. We used to hike on the mountain’s forest trails, visit the library, and look for the big Christmas tree in Convocation Mall every winter.

UniverCityIt’s grown over the years with the addition of UniverCity, adding a community, shops, and services to this campus in the clouds. SFU is also a part of the NCAA now, becoming the first Canadian member, with athletic teams competing in the NCAA’s Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Men’s and women’s basketball is tipping off and UniverCity wants to invite a few lucky readers of mine to check out some high profile games. I have a pair of tickets to give away to the SFU Women’s Basketball home opener on November 23rd against Cal State Stanislaus and for the SFU Men’s Basketball red game on December 1st against Western Washington University (where everyone is encouraged to wear red).

Here’s how you can enter to win tickets to these games and check out SFU in NCAA action:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win SFU Basketball tickets from @UniverCity_SFU #YourMountain & @Miss604

I will draw two winners at random from all entries next Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 12:00pm. Update The winner is Michelle Wong!

Cirque du Soleil Amaluna in Vancouver

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 — 3:41pm PST
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Cirque du Soleil is unfurling their iconic big blue and yellow tent at Concord Pacific Place as it brings Amaluna to Vancouver at the end of November.

Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon. Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter’s coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honours femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next.

In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony.

Director of Creation Fernand Rainville explains that “Amaluna is a tribute to the work and voice of women,” with a 70% female cast and 100% female band, which is a first for Cirque du Soleil.

Amaluna is also premiering in Canada before taking the tour to the United States. It will run in Vancouver from Friday, November 23, 2012 until December 30, 2012. Tickets are currently available starting at $43.50 (adults) and $33.00 (children 2-12).

You can even support a great cause if you attend on December 7th. Cirque du Soleil has partnered locally with Covenant House and will be donating partial proceeds from Category 1 ($150) tickets sold for that date. A portion of the ticket price from this Covenant House/Cirque du Soleil partnership will be eligible for a tax receipt.

FUSE at Vancouver Art Gallery

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 — 2:45pm PST
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This Friday the Vancouver Art Gallery will host its very popular FUSE event that transforms galleries into performance spaces in a late night, adults-only environment three times annually.

This month’s theme is inspired by artist Ian Wallace’s work titled My Heroes in the Streets and will channel the language of the street through movement, music and performance throughout the galleries.

FUSE will run from 8:00pm until 1:00am on November 9th at the Vancouver Art Gallery with the following artists:

  • Contemporary dance artist Justine Chambers performs work inspired by everyday actions. Chambers was a principal dancer with Desrosiers Dance Theatre and a member of Diavolo Dance Theatre in Los Angeles.
  • Performance collective COaT (Centre of a Tangle) will explore work and ideas of heroism in special performances on the second and fourth floors.
  • Indie rock band In Medias Res will bring an atmospheric vibe to the 4th floor rooftop pavilion.
  • Dance duo MACHiNOiSY will bring innovative movement to the Rotunda.

Admission is just $17.50 for adults and free for Vancouver Art Gallery members. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

Happy Lunar New Year 4709
Photo credit: WinstonWong* on Flickr

The way people talk about FUSE it almost seems like a right of passage as an adult in Vancouver. I’m excited to go to my first with John this week, especially to see In Medias Res who we’ve been meaning to see perform for years now. If you would like to attend on Friday, here’s how you can enter to win a pair of tickets:

  • Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
  • Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
RT to enter to win tickets to FUSE at @VanArtGallery from @Miss604

I will draw one winner at random from all entries tomorrow (Wednesday, November 7, 2012) at 5:00pm. Must be 19+ to enter to win and attend.

Update The winner is Chelsea!