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Friday Morning Link Fest: Local Stew

May 23rd, 2008 @ 8:27am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

With seven events in three days I think my head did almost fall off last night. I came home and enjoyed a quite night in with John as I knew I would once again be out and about today. There are quite a few bits and pieces of news stories and fun facts that I would like to share so what better way to do so than in my link fest.

– When I first started doing my “What the Surrey” series I had a little trivia game involved the old heritage names for roads in the city (like how Hjorth Road is 104th). Last week the Surrey Leader interviewed a man who has a website dedicated to historical morsels like this and it turns out he’s the one I got some additional information from last year during my WTS research. Small world.

Photo credit: Ianiv & Arieanna on Flickr

- News1130 suggests having a staycation – a term which I first heard during an episode of Corner Gas where Brent just sits in a lawn chair out in the field thus staying in town but still being away from work and on vacation. John and I thoroughly enjoy our staycations, which usually involve much beach time. If you need any staycation ideas check out my beach times, community, cheap fun, or parks series categories.

– I’ve written about it enough but H&M Vancouver is now open and the Apple fanboys can begin lining up now for that grand opening tomorrow.

– Speaking of neat new technology toys, John Biehler has done a quick review of the Wii Fit at first glance.

– On Sunday May 25th celebrate Salmonberry Days at the Dunbar Community Centre’s Annual Community Fair. I hear there’s even going to be a bouncy castle.

– Also this weekend if you’re still watching hockey, the Pens and Wings face off in Stanley Cup final action on Saturday @ 8:00pm ET

EAT! Vancouver this weekend. There will be food, lots of food. Also, Bob Blumer (who I had the chance to meet in Toronto) will be there along with Vancouver’s own world-renowned chef Tojo.

Finally, Raul captured some great shots from the VIDFEST opening gala at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Wednesday night.

DaveO, Raul, Duane and John – Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

My interview with the FundFindr people – Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

Today’s VIDFEST line up includes Chris Anderson from Wired and super mommy blogger Heather Armstrong of Dooce speaking this afternoon. I’ll try to head over there at some point but I just happen to have a special double date tonight involving a good friend, her mother, my mother, and super fun disconnection time for me.

Convergence 2008 Day Blog

May 22nd, 2008 @ 10:24am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I’m going to call this a day blog as I won’t be live blogging per se, moreso collecting thoughts, sharing links, and posting information throughout the day.

Badged Up

Right now on the Convergence 2008 main stage Grant McCracken is talking about Digital Cultures:

McCracken looks at the places where culture and commerce, anthropology and economics meet most often: marketing in general, branding in particular, popular culture, Hollywood, advertising, television, magazines, and new media. Through his highly-customized ethnographic and anthropological research, he provides clients with a comprehensive but incisive review of contemporary culture, its foundations, current state and future trends and strategies for managing it. [Convergence]

VIDFEST’s International Partnering Forum (IPF) is taking place down the road at the Granville Island Hotel from 9:30am until 5:00pm, running in tandem with Convergence here at the Arts Club Theatre. Also under the VIDFEST umbrella is VIGS, the Vancouver International Games Summit taking place downtown at the Hyatt.

Tonight will wrap up with the “Schmooze Lounge” at the GI Hotel, and this will all resume tomorrow with the Creative Exchange Conference, another Schmooze Lounge, then the POP VOX Awards gala.

With all of the formal stuff out of the way, I’m going to follow Phillip’s Twitters to see what I’m missing on the main stage right now.

Update: The conversation during Grant McCracken’s keynote involved a lot of Twitter talk.

Heather Watson and Grant McCracken (Keynote Speaker)Photoboothing with @Hez

For her question about Twitterers in Vancouver Heather (who is currently my side-by-side MacBook blogging buddy at the Arts Club) got a copy of Grant’s book.

Update: I’m sitting in on the “Giving Your Brand Away: Brand Communities” panel on the main stage at the Arts Club Theatre. “How do you harness the evangelical impulse of these customers and manage the politics of others?” The panelists are from McDonald’s (speaking to engaging employees with online surveys, blogs and discussions instead of paper newsletters), Future Shop, Vancity (talking about ChangeEverything.ca) and Tourism BC (presenting the HelloBC website using Flickr, YouTube etc).

Update: Raul live blogged my panel with Kate and Darren. Due to the great conversation flow and discussion there were some questions that were missed but I wanted to address the one about negative comments. We all said to embrace them from a corporate perspective and use them as feedback, having an open discussion for the better of your brand and its credibility with your consumers. However the second part of that question was about negative comments on a personal blog, to which I just have to say it’s your blog – you have veto power – sure being open, honest and transparent has its advantages but at the end of the day I have the ability to click “delete” on anything that is posted, commented or submitted here.

Another note is that my fellow panelists receive more pitches than I do. I probably get about 5 a week so I know what to look for, what is out there, but as far as the “firehose” of PR campaigns knocking down my door, it’s pretty minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

With that, I really enjoyed being on the panel although I was really nervous as usual. I hope folks got something out of our Blogger Relations insights.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

I’m currently debating whether to head to the Happy Hour or to hop a False Creek ferry over to John’s office, pick him up, hit up the grocery store, then head home for some Bollwitt time. I just polled Twitter and so far it’s split down the middle, with 50% of people saying I should go chill and the other half encouraging me to come out to the Schmooze event… just waiting for that tie breaker right now.

Launch Party Vancouver 4 in Photos

May 22nd, 2008 @ 8:53am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Between LPV4 last night (thanks to Strutta) and the VIDFEST gala at the Vancouver Art Gallery I had the chance to meet so many new (and cool) people. I don’t have all the business cards with me so I can’t do shout outs right now, but I have a few posts coming in regards to demos and nifty new sites I discovered. In the meantime, please enjoy a recap for the evening in photo form.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

Rochelle, Warren, Jordan and Steven.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

My star blogging pupil and me.

Photo credit: Raul on Flickr

Boris, Ianiv and John – like moths to a flame.

Photo credit: Ianiv and Arieanna on Flickr

I think that’s probably the capture of the night, even though I kind of look freaked out – I swear I wasn’t.

More photos to appear throughout the day I’m sure, I’ll be looking for them on Flickr tagged LPV4.

Techvibes Job Fair, Launch Party Vancouver and VIDFEST Kickoff Gala

May 21st, 2008 @ 10:54am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

Sometimes I think I lead a busy life in social media because I have three to four events a week. Well I must be reaching some kind of new face-melting plateau because tonight I have somehow booked myself into three events… just tonight. Here’s the scoop:

Ever wonder where you can find job listings in Techcouver that don’t involve painful browsing of Craigslist and feature the words “adult” and “industry”? Techvibes has been the place to go for years and they’re reaching out this afternoon, hosting a career fair at Republic (958 Granville St).

Various Vancouver startups have signed on to give quick 5 minute pitches to potential candidates who will then be able to network and find out more about these eligible and exciting companies:

  • Danny Robinson – Strutta
  • Dan Gibbons – Carrie and Danielle, Inc.
  • Amielle Lake – Tagga
  • Jonathan Ehrlich – Live Current
  • Jonathan Yapp – Vibrant Software
  • Chis Breikss – 6S Marketing
  • Derek Whyte and Mark Starkey – FCV Technologies
  • Dimitri Sirota – Layer 7 Technology
  • Bret Conklin – FundFindr
  • Raymond To – GO Recruitment
  • You can find more information on the Facebook event and things kick off at 3:00pm.

    Photo credit: Phillip’s Launch Party3 Set on Flickr

    Following the Techvibes Career Fair is Launch Party Vancouver 4, which is a chance for startup companies to mix and mingle with potential investors, while spreading their news and buzz amongst the social media gurus of Vancouver. [LPV1, LPV2, LPV3]

    These companies will be giving demos, displaying their wares, and hopefully handing out swag – swag rules!:

  • FitBrains
  • Strutta
  • Scrnshots
  • FundFindr
  • CellMap
  • InHabit Street
  • Lunches with Lyal (I’m rather excited about this one)
  • HelloTree
  • More info is available on the Facebook event and this will take place at 5:30pm following the career fair.

    My final destination this evening will be the Vancouver Art Gallery for the official kickoff of VIDFEST. Since I’m speaking tomorrow at Convergence (a part of VIDFEST) I get a pass for all these cool parties, although I have one confession – I’ve never been to the VAG. Not once. Never. I’ve never been a tourist in my hometown and have never taken part in the cheapie Tuesdays where they let you in by donation. I’m looking forward to participating this evening, picking up my conference pass and checking out the latest exhibit, Krazy! (the delirious world of anime, comics, video games, art).

    The VIDFEST conferences start tomorrow on Granville Island, check the site for a full rundown and be sure to stop by our panel during Convergence 2008.

    Related posts, hat tips, and cool folks I get to see in the next few days:

    Phillip – VIDFEST Starts Today
    Kris – VIDFEST Advertising Features Portrait Photography by Static
    Lisa – I’m Going to VIDFEST Are You?
    Raul – Vancouver International Digital Festival 2008 is Now
    Techvibes – VIDFEST Gets Wired with Chris Anderson
    Converyor Belt – VIDFEST 2008 Preview

    Update: If you would like to follow along with all the Twitters about VIDFEST tomorrow, you can follow this feed which is pulling in Tweets tagged as #VIDFEST.

    Third Tuesday with Darren Barefoot Live Blog

    May 20th, 2008 @ 6:56pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Welcome to Third Tuesday at Century Restaurant in Vancouver! The wifi is spotty at best so the majority of this post may not be live.

    Media Sponsor for Third Tuesday

    Tonight’s speaker is Darren Barefoot who will be talking about “Getting the Attention of the Web’s Influencers”.

    Update: Darren introduces his company, Capulet Communications and one of its facets which is ‘web influencer outreach’ or ‘blogger relations’, and will be presenting a case study: ThoughtFarmer, which provides intranet solutions.

    Darren believes in making a marketing campaign “cool”, see: Apple. For this particular client, they wanted to market to business bloggers, those who would have a true interest in the project.

    Here are some assumptions to be made when going into a project like this:

    – Everyone is Busy (which leads to how do you get noticed amongst busy bloggers?)

    – Email Doesn’t Work (people respond to originality) ie. the comic Darren created when pitching John and I about the Brother Printer Campaign

    – Marketing equals Thing You’re Marketing (giveaways work!) same example, the Brother Printer giveaway

    Marketing Comic Hilarity re: barefoot

    – Funny beats Unfunny every time (it’s risky because humor levels may vary from person to person)

    – Get people to visit your site (more links from your campaign participants equals more people tracking back to your website).

    Darren suggests having a database of bloggers; find your target bloggers, narrow it down to blogs with a big enough audience, and balance out content and reach.

    Update: Back to ThoughtFarmer. Since it was an intranet for businesses, Capulet created a fake company (Tubetastic) and even built them a website. They also created profiles on the site as though bloggers they were targeting were employees of this fake company ie. Robert Scoble was the Tube Janitor. Essentially it was a micro site with content from all the bloggers’ sites, aggregated over at Tubetastic.

    To recap: Fake company, fake employees, prominent bloggers, and an intranet. It was an entire scenario and experience for the bloggers who were in turn feeding content surrounding the product. They were engaged.

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    Update: Remember the value of an ‘elevator pitch’, your quick, simple, not-too-much-time-to-explain pitch.

    Another thing on the humour side, was the use of snail mail to send an employee welcome letter to bloggers from the fake company Tubetastic.

    Seth Godin quote: “Safe is risky and risky is safe”.

    Update: Note: Bloggers are very public people. Couple of things that could go wrong…

    – Snail mail fail could happen.

    – Wikis could go bad ie. unrelated content being posted, content altered in a bad way etc.

    – Blog posts that become more about the campaign (in this case Tubetastic) and less about the actual company, being ThoughtFarmer in this case.

    Results of the ThoughtFarmer campaign were all positive and traffic to the site doubled. Something that they noticed however was that there were fewer full length blog posts since folks were publishing their thoughts instantly on Twitter or microblogging systems.

    Update: Formal presentation is over, now time for questions. Monique asks how traffic is tracked via Twitter – Darren says through ‘follows’ and I would assume Twemes or hashtags.

    David asked how many physical packages were sent by snail mail. Out of 50 about 35 were sent (some addresses weren’t found etc.)

    Photo credit: John Bollwitt on Flickr

    The question is raised about distributing the likenesses of the bloggers. From personal experience with Darren, he used our Creative Commons licensed Flickr photos but still always asked permission to publish them, either on his site, in his campaign or even when our mugs showed up in the Wall Street Journal.

    Darren goes through the criteria he looks for when looking for a blogger for a campaign. From things like Google Page Rank, Technorati Rank, number of posts a day (how active they are) to blogrolls, discussions, design, etc.

    More words of advice are things like linking to your bloggers – bloggers love link love. A question from the room asks about negative reactions etc.

    Bruce asks how do people differentiate Darren’s emails from spam? Darren quotes Tim Bray, mentioning it’s unsolicited commercial email from someone you don’t know. Darren always tries to add a personal element when reaching out and tries to get the blogger in the loop as soon as possible.

    Question from the audience: How to pitch you, Darren? “If you read my blog, you’ll know.” Local, for a good cause, do you have a good story to tell? Also, “we don’t deal with press releases anymore, we just point people to blog posts.”

    Update: Metblogs meetup is currently going on over at Library Square.

    Apple Store in Pacific Centre Vancouver's New Meet Market

    May 20th, 2008 @ 4:04pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    Photo credit: Paul Hillsdon on Flickr

    At 10:00am on May 24th, 2008 Vancouver’s first Apple Store will open its doors in Pacific Centre.

    More info:

    Grand Opening Pacific Centre
    Apple Store Grand Opening May 34
    Apple Store Opening May 24 Pacific Centre
    Apple Store Vancouver to Open May 24
    H&M Vancouver and the Apple Store, A Match Made in Heaven
    Odds and Ends, Apple Store in Vancouver

    No more ordering online, going to Future Shop where the service is less than impressive and no more driving down to Alderwood Mall to check out the latest gadgets and to oggle the geeks at the Genius Bar. Vancouver now has its very own place for Mac fan boys and girls, months earlier than expected.

    On a related note, did you know that an Apple Store is one of the top places for ladies to meet the men of their dreams? No lie. The funny thing is, I didn’t read about this article in Cosmo myself, I was passed the link by a group of Vancouver’s techies this afternoon.

    Hot spot: The Apple store
    The draw: Most guys are natural gadget lovers, and with sales of iPods and MacBooks skyrocketing, more men than ever are stopping by Apple boutiques. The vibe at the stores is conducive to man meeting too: You can check your email among cuties, take a free workshop on anything from Photoshop to podcasting (a great opportunity to strike up a conversation), or just survey the, ahem, good-looking merchandise. (Cosmo / via: Mac.Blorge)

    So while the ladies (or men) are next door at H&M picking out that outfit for clubbing on Granville later that evening keep in mind, you may not even make it as far as the bar. Mosey over to the Apple Store to check out the geeky eye candy at a workshop, the Genius bar, to book some one to one time or talk about the trouble you could get into at AppleCamp.

    Giving Back to the WordPress Community

    May 20th, 2008 @ 11:07am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    How the morning ended...One of the best things about Web 2.0 in my opinion is open source development. Partnered with Creative Commons Licensing, you are often free to build, re-work and share your contributions to an original work through public collaboration.

    WordPress is a shining example of an open source project, meaning folks are free to build their own plugins, make their own themes, and add to the value of the entire platform by spinning around the code in their own way and releasing it back to the community for all to share – at least that’s the expectation. I haven’t heard of it happening much just yet, but with a WordPress install being basically free (except for your separate expenses for hosting, a domain etc.) just what exactly do people get out of running WordPress?

    Reading one of my favourite resource sites this morning I came across “24 Ways To Contribute To WordPress” – from wearing your WordPress t-shirt with pride, to even writing a blog post about it, all of these step help spread the word. Here are some of the ways you can contribute:

    Participate In The WP Forum
    The official WordPress forums which can be found here were set up for users to help other users…

    Donate Money Towards The WP Project
    Now, you might scoff at the idea of donating cash towards the WP.org project, but the fact of the matter is, most of the money involved with Automattic is used for WP.com…

    Create And Share WordPress Themes
    Not much explaining I have to do here. If you create a theme, share your work to the masses…

    Report Theme Piracy
    While there is a large amount of inspiration within the WordPress themeing community, some folks just can’t seem to find a way to differentiate themselves, so they copy a successful theme from the codebase all the way to the CSS…

    (Side note: Most themes have a Creative Commons License. I have found that if you hack apart a theme based on an original ie. not from scratch, simply credit/link the original author and state that your theme is ‘adapted’ from their works. As for premium ‘paid’ themes, always check the licensing and to see if they are being re-sold).

    Report Security Hazards To The Proper People
    If you happen to be a coder and come across something that you think may pose a security risk, the best thing for you to do is to send an email to security at wordpress.org

    What if you’re not a code monkey? Well.. blog it, wear it, or organize it.

    These are just a few, for the entire list check out the Weblog Tools Collection site.

    Also, a great way to participate is by having a coding party like the folks did at DrupalCamp Vancouver. Through the power of a Drupal Code Sprint, they took a website from alpha to beta and gave back to the Fearless City project. I propose we figure out something cool and neat to contribute during or after the next WordCamp Vancouver.

    Finally, if you have a WordPress site show it off with a “proudly powered by” link or button, found here.

    Vancouver History: City Reflections, the Streetcar Ride of 1907

    May 20th, 2008 @ 3:00am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

    It has been over a year since John and I received a preview copy of the 1907 trolley car footage of Vancouver on DVD. The film is the earliest footage of Vancouver and was shot with a hand-crank camera mounted on the front of a B.C. Electric Railway streetcar by William Harbeck of Seattle.

    City Reflections DVD 1907 onlyCity Reflections DVD 1907 only

    City Reflections DVD 1907 only

    Included in the DVD liner was a Google map outlining the route the trolley took through Gastown and over to the West End.

    Over the last few years the Vancouver Historical Society has recreated the route shown in the film and now 101 years later it will be screened for the public and available for sale on DVD.

    What: City Reflections – Vancouver 1907 / 2007 movie screening
    When: Thursday May 22nd 2008 @ 8:00pm
    Where: Vancouver Museum, 1100 Chestnut Street
    More Info: There are no tickets to the screening, it’s first come first serve. The DVD of 1907 – 2007 footage will be on sale for $20. View photos from the launch May 7th, 2008.

    Old School BusIn the original film you can only spot one car and the city is bustling with people, bicycles, and some horse-drawn carriages trotting along the dirt-covered Cordova Street.

    Here are some other events of historical significance that took place in 1907, courtesy of VancouverHistory.ca and soon available in the book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver.

    …The Montreal-based jeweler, Henry Birks & Sons, came to Vancouver in February of [1907] and bought the well-established shop of George Trorey, at the northeast corner of Granville and Hastings. They kept Trorey on as manager—and they kept his famous sidewalk clock, too. The Birks clock and the store can just be glimpsed as our movie-streetcar swings east onto Hastings from Granville.

    …The most famous writer in the world at the time, Rudyard Kipling, visited Vancouver again. Kipling really liked this city; this was his third visit, and he even bought land here (at the southeast corner of East 11th Avenue and Fraser Street.)

    …David Spencer, who had earlier (1873) started a store in Victoria, put his son Chris, 38, in charge of a big new Spencer’s on Hastings Street in Vancouver. Chris had started working for the Victoria store in 1882 at age 13. The new store was so successful that it eventually took up almost an entire city block. Today, the building is SFU’s downtown campus.

    …A fellow named Richard Cormon Purdy opened a shop on Robson Street and began selling chocolates.

    Photo credit: DaveO on Flickr

    The electric trolley in Vancouver has had a sordid history, from the Interurban to the recent retirement of the old electric Flyer buses. Although this city has had a love/hate relationship with transit over the years, more than anything this film proves that it can provide valuable glimpse into Vancouver’s past.

    (Hat Tip to Karen for the heads up about the event on Thursday)