Convergence 2008 Digital Marketing and Communications Forum

May 8th, 2008 @ 5:40am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Just as soon as my social media dance card cleared up, I’ve been busy booking new events, getting involved in more media sponsorships and being sought out for speaking opportunities. My next speaking engagement will be on a panel at the end of the month during the Convergence conference.

Cossette West invites you to attend Convergence 2008, a Digital Marketing and Communications Forum. Join other savvy marketing and communications professionals from across North America to learn how to stay competitive in the ever-shifting digital landscape. [Convergence2008]

I’ve been on a few panels before (and moderated one) and I have to say the talented people I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with just make it that much more exciting, informative, and entertaining.

This time is no different and I’m almost about to go into Wayne and Garth “I’m not worthy” mode seeing as how I’ll have Kate Trgovac on one side of my, and Darren Barefoot on the other.

I haven’t had much time to interact personally with Kate but she was with me on the victorious Team Blogger for CBC’s Test the Nation, she presented at the Northern Voice dinner, and most recently I saw her on a panel at Bridging Media.

Darren on the other hand is half of the world-traveling Capulet Communications marketing power duo who recently hooked John and I up with a Brother Printer and as a result, our faces were printed in the Wall Street Journal. Capulet is also responsible for the super handy “Getting to First Base: Social Media Marketing Playbook”, which is an e-book for purchase at

Photo credit: Robert Scales on Flickr

Our panel will be moderated by Darren Roberts of Optimum Public Relations and we’ll be discussing blogger relations:

Influencers have grown beyond just traditional media outlets to include bloggers, who reign in the online space and who can drastically affect perceptions about your brand, your campaigns and/or any other aspect of your company operations. Are you listening? If so, are you talking back? In the very least, you should be working to tell your side of the story; at best, maximizing your message impact among these powerful individuals.

Given my recent tussle with Matchstick and other experiences over the years, I think all of us will be able to bring something from a blogger’s perspective and also from the professional landscape.

Convergence 2008 is taking place on Granville Island at the Arts Club Theatre on May 22nd from 9:30am until 5:00pm. More info is available on the website and you can check out the Techvibes as well for a preview.

Wednesday Afternoon Link Fest: Warm Fuzzies Edition

May 7th, 2008 @ 11:28am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

With fun and exciting things happening all around me it’s a wonder how I can get so down sometimes. There are people who struggle a lot more than I do in this life but everyone has their good days, their bad, and sometimes you just need to share some love and hope some of that comes right back at ‘ya. Even if it doesn’t, the warm fuzzy feelings accumulated from sending out the kindness should be enough to brighten your day, even if things simply aren’t going your way. Like Raul noted, “The darkest hour is just before the dawn.”

  • First off, Dan Lilly is awesome.
  • Second, it’s TrevorO’s birthday today. But he’s not getting old… he was old LAST year (har har).
  • I recently wrote a post about Cyberbullying and on that note, my good friend Keira-Anne has been the target of several online attacks lately so she shares some thoughts. Sure, she’s a big girl and can take care of herself but I know (trust me, I know) that it really sucks to wake up to a nasty comment or blog post written about you.
  • Concerned about privacy online although you still want to be able to use the internet to share photos with trusted friends and family? Check out Kinzin (makers of some great Facebook applications), Megan recently caught an episode of BlogTalkRadio where they give a shoutout to Kinzin and talk about their solutions.
  • In 2009 the Maritime Museum will be closing its doors and the St Roch will need to find a new home. I had many an interesting school field trip at the MM, it’s always sad to see something like that disappear.

  • Photo credit: John Biehler on Flickr

    As a side note Google recently reevaluated their Page Rank system and many blogs received a boost in ratings. Mine on the other hand, stayed the same (however the site I built for my company got bumped up to PR6). This, combined with a waffling Technorati rating (which I think they calculate sometimes using a dartboard) are things that I rarely look at in terms of how successful my blog is, unless specifically asked by a potential sponsor.

    One thing Duane told me is that if your links OUT to links IN ratio is off-kilter that can effect you meaning that my link fest posts could in fact be harming my rankings and ratings. I pondered several options to work around this then I realized, the reason folks must come to my site is for the content. If I didn’t continue to do what I love, spread the link love and be a part of a great social community on and offline, what’s the point. So essentially what I’m saying is despite the fact that geeky internet brownie points may be working against me, the link fests will never cease to be.

    Vancouver Blogger Profile: Sarah Marchildon

    May 7th, 2008 @ 6:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Continuing the Vancouver Blogger Profile series, that never really stops, I contacted Sarah as I had read her blog and heard such great things about her from Raul. She’s filled out the staple questions below and be sure to check out her blog for more of her writing.

    Who are you? Sarah Marchildon, lover of the absurd.

    Where do you blog? The Hollywood North Report

    Are you originally from Vancouver? I was born and raised in Toronto but Vancouver has been my home for the past seven years. I’ve lived in Ottawa, Saint John, Fredericton and Japan but always knew I would end up here. My grandfather used to live in North Van and I visited him when I was a little kid. The trees, the ocean, the mountains, the fresh air. It all made a very strong impression on me.

    Why do you blog? When I first moved to Vancouver, I had no friends and no social life. So I would spend my Friday nights holed up in an Internet cafe on Davie Street writing email dispatches back home to family and friends. I called it the “Hollywood North Report” and I would fill it with random observations about the oddities of Vancouver life and all of the weird and wonderful people who live here. I also had a weekly “friend count.” Sadly, it remained at zero for a very long time. That all changed when I joined the English Bay Swim Club and was elected “social coordinator” of more than 100 gay men. Real friendships started to bloom and I was no longer spending lonely Friday nights filing the Hollywood North Report. Then I got mixed up with a bad crowd who made me try backcountry camping, triathlons and open-water swimming.

    One thing led to another and before I knew it, I had signed up for an Ironman. I quit the triathlon scene in 2004 and found myself with a whole lot of extra time. I decided to resurrect the Hollywood North Report in blog form to make it easier for friends and family to read. I guess I’ve always liked writing and story-telling. Blogging is a natural extension of that.

    What’s your favourite thing to write about? I love writing about things that strike me as odd or absurd. For example, the public transit system in Vancouver is a comedy goldmine.

    What is the best part of blogging? Hands down, the response I get to my posts. It can be as simple as a thoughtful comment or as elaborate as complete strangers sending me free stuff. I once wrote about how jealous I was that Ontario had juice-box sized wine and jokingly begged someone to send me some. One of my Toronto readers actually sent me a case of the stuff.

    Another time, I wrote about how I couldn’t find Grape-Nuts anywhere in Vancouver. The next day, one of my readers delivered 10 boxes to my office.

    But the craziest response was when I wrote about how I had a non-sexual crush on Claire Martin (the CBC meteorologist) and she put my blog post on her weather forecast where the map of Canada should have been. It was awesome. I have the best blog readers in the world!

    Do you write for yourself, your readers, for Google, for a living? I wish I wrote for a living! I could really use an editor. Sadly, I just write for my readers and myself. For free. In my very limited spare time.

    Do you ever censor yourself? A little bit. My entire family reads my blog. That’s not to say my blog is middle-of-the-road pabulum. I’m pretty open with my parents but I’m not that open. Most of my coworkers read my blog so I’m not exactly going to blog about a bad day at the office. A lot of bloggers hide under the cloak of anonymity and that gives them a lot more freedom to write about very personal things. I made a conscious decision to use my full name and, as a result, I’m a little bit more restrained. Besides, I have no desire to barf my personal life all over the Internet. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. A lot of my favourite blogs are personal blogs!

    PC, Mac or Speak n’ Spell? What the heck is Speak n’ Spell? I’ve been a Mac girl since 2006. Macs are pretty.

    Blogs you read or would recommend? Yours, of course! Actually, I’d hate to single out one blog over another. I read loads of blogs, most of them written by friends. I’m not sure they have broad mass appeal.

    Read more from Sarah on The Hollywood North Report.

    WordCamp Gets Covered in the 24 Hours

    May 7th, 2008 @ 5:40am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    This morning edition of the daily commuter paper, 24 Hours Vancouver, has local radio host and tech columnist Buzz Bishop giving the low down on the happenings at last week’s WordCamp.

    As he was not in attendance, he cited my live blog for more info and included a huge photo of Lisa’s “Your Ad Here” sign on her bum. The image deals with the topic of advertising on blogs, however I wonder if he’s also tying it in with his column about saving face with Facebook, “don’t put up anything you wouldn’t want your mom to see.”

    WordCamp Links in the 24 Hours

    I hope not, because on top of having a great sense of humour Lisa’s got some excellent insights on her post and be sure to read through the comments (over 50 of them) for thoughts about ads on blogs. John Chow is also mentioned in the article since he’s the king of blog dollars around here and I brought him up during my talk at Simon Fraser University on Monday (cause I actually think what he is doing is ingenious, which is more than I can say for other ad-plastered blogs).

    For more info about WordCamp and your next opportunity to meetup with WordPress users, gurus and newbies, check out the Tazzu blog because they did a great job of spearheading the first event and we’re certainly all looking forward to more.

    Vancouver Net Tuesday NetSquared Live Blog

    May 6th, 2008 @ 5:03pm (PT) by Guest Author

    Tonight’s live blog is being written and published by Raul of (update your bookmarks!)

    “Widgets aren’t just little pieces of portable code. Widgets are about opening up your message to your supporters and the community. Widgets represent a shift towards using online tools, and online thinking, to connect with more people and build deeper relationships with the people you are already connected with.

    Vancouver’s 3rd Net Tuesday will explore the stories of nonprofits that are spearheading this revolution as well as demo a new widget platform.” – []

    Presenters tonight include:

    Jason Mogus, Communicopia
    Scott Nelson,
    Keith Grennan, Sprout
    and the evening will be moderated by Sarah Pullman.

    Update: 6.11pm

    Vancouver History: Tidbits and Park Notes

    May 6th, 2008 @ 8:31am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    I just realized that my last few posts were pretty bullet-pointed so I apologize for this. The first Vancouver History: Oddities entry was well-received so here’s another.

  • 51 years ago Vancouver’s first shopping mall, Oakridge Centre, opened its doors. We were out that way last week and it took me a minute to remember that Oakridge is not in fact on Oak Street.
  • The Marpole neighbourhood of Vancouver is named in honor of Richard Marpole – one of the men in a posse that captured notorious Bill Miner in 1906. Little did they know he would escape from the BC Penitentiary a year later.
  • Whistler Resort had originally been called London Mountain. “The name was changed to Whistler, writes Constance Brissenden, “inspired by the whistler marmot that frequents its rocky outcrops.” [Oddities - 1965]
  • The Amazing Hunt took us all over the city and at one point we ended up on a small hill in Everett Crowley Park in South Vancouver. Looking around at all the deciduous trees and uneven landscape with amazing southern views I actually wondered if the park used to be something else. “Everett Crowley Park is Vancouver’s 5th largest park, but was Vancouver’s main landfill (the Kerr Road dump) from 1944 to 1967.” [ECPC]

  • Photo credit: Rod Templeton on Flickr
  • Another park that used to be something else is Queen Elizabeth Park, which was once a quarry. Landscaping was complete in 1954 and “Mayor Fred Hume buried a time capsule beneath Centuries Rock in the park. It is to be opened in 2054.” [1954]
  • Often my inspiration comes from Chuck Davis and his team at Chuck is also putting together a book called “The History of Metropolitan Vancouver”, which is due out next year. If you would like to be involved in any way, companies can sign up to sponsor a year in the book.

    WordPress Plugins That Don't Work with 2.5.1

    May 6th, 2008 @ 7:54am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Matt's net peeveLittle by little I’m discovering that some of my favourite plugins I’ve come to know, love, and depend upon to make my daily blogging life that much easier are pretty much… toast.

    By way of Lorelle I also hear there are problems with the Automatic Update for Plugins in WP 2.5 so I need to make sure to stay on top of these things (from the WP Admin as well as the individual plugin side).

    I rely heavily on plugins so discovering a new one each day that hasn’t been working then back tracking through dozens of posts isn’t too pleasant. However, I should have been more diligent after upgrading, and I’m pretty confident that these will all be upgraded soon enough. I just have to stop kicking myself for not checking in on these things sooner.

    For a full list of what WordPress has determined as working or not so far, check out the almighty codex, it will be sure to save you a few headaches.

    Monday Evening Link Fest: Geek Edition

    May 5th, 2008 @ 10:17pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Welcome to a special “late” edition of my link fest, brought to you by a smooth glass of VQA following my guest speaking opportunity at SFU.

    Thanks to the talented indie media master Lisa Mansfield of The Tyee, I spoke for her students about blogging, corporate communications and new media writing in the business world. I covered why companies should have blogs, the business of blogging, bloggers for hire, how to build an audience etc. I’ve only done a handful of speaker engagements but as I’m pretty confident in my ability to evangelize about blogging I figured I would be okay. Some people might not know my corporate history but I’ve been producing online content in the business world as a career for almost ten years, and corporate blogging is currently one of my number one tasks at my day job. I’m glad I can share my knowledge even though I get incredibly nervous and talk really fast as a result.

    Photo credit: Carol Browne on Flickr in the Pool

    Now, on to the super geeky link fest:

  • John Biehler highlights some cool new iPhone apps.
  • Scoble gets the scoop about where YouTube will go next, which is apparently into the live streaming market (with their eye on mobile video).
  • The Weblog Tools Collection researches the best and worst times to blog.
  • Drupal Camp Vancouver kicks off this Thursday evening but sorry folks, it’s totally and entirely sold out. Look for coverage around the internets (and around here) on Friday and Saturday.
  • Local design firm smashLab gets included in Time Magazine’s annual Design 100 and was singled out in the magazine’s annual roster of people and ideas behind today’s most influential design. Their DesignCanChange site encouraged over 1,500 designers who pledged to embrace more sustainable professional practices. [smashLab]
  • Vancouver’s Net Tuesday, NetSquared will be taking place tomorrow at Workspace. “Social change makers and web innovators come together at NetTuesdays to mix, swap stories, and collaborate on new ideas.” The theme tomorrow is widgets []. If you can’t make it, Raul will be taking notes and possibly live blogging over here during the event.
  • Free AT&T wifi for iPhones in the USA? I’ll have to try it out tomorrow as I’ll be heading down to Bellingham after work to take care of some business at Victoria’s Secret. I assure you it’s a lot less exciting than it sounds. I’ll make sure to swing by a Starbucks or Barnes and Noble to see what happens, although being on Rogers, who knows.
  • And for something completely different – have you seen this giant (inflatable) gorilla?