I’ve been meshed

May 29, 2007

…and it didn’t hurt a bit.

I’m really feeling the web bug right now. After listening to mesh conference co-founders Mat, Rob, Mike, Stuart and Mark waxing lyrical at tonight’s Third Tuesday Toronto (kindly sponsored by CNW Group) I’m more energized than ever about technology and the Internet.

I want to drop everything and take an idea through development, turn it into a concrete product and make my billions on exit.

Thinking about it some more, I should probably have that idea first.

All this talk of start-ups, demo camp, bar camp, case camp, start-up camp, VCs, angel, series A, series B, term sheets, pre-/post-valuations, of exits and of spectacular failures has really jazzed me up. I want to find a programmer, chat, think and ruminate for days and come with a game changing, paraidgm shifting, world’s leading widget. Again, an idea would be nice as well at this point.

It’s an exciting time to be involved with these here interwebs and there’s plenty of energy to focus on my iStudio clients and the broader FH family.

However, if I won the $30m lotto 6/49 draw tomorrow night, I’d probably start playing as a VC tomorrow and plunge a huge whack into Canadian tech start-ups.

Who’s with me?

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Third Tuesday Toronto announces…

May 29, 2007

Dr. Tony Hung, of Deep Jive Interests and The Blog Herald for June 19, 2007.

Here at TTT command we’ve come up with another fantastic speaker with something really interesting to say and real value to add to our PR and social media educational series.

Tony Hung is the indefatigable technology blogger who takes on, among other topics, the perceived A-list, payola blogging and, most pertinent to our upcoming discussion, the role of social news sites such as Digg, reddit and Netscape. Along with writing the excellent Deep Jive Interests (a must read in my feed reader), he is also my *former* editor at The Blog Herald AND studying for his residency in internal medicine AND a new father. Wow.

As the Public Relations industry struggles to come to terms with the entire gamut of well worn social media paths from client to audience, social news sites probably attract the least interest. Which is ironic considering the susceptibility of these communities to well organised campaigns – something Tony has written extensively about.

So, if you’re interested in getting the sort of traffic that front page placement on Digg can bring your client and curious about the ethical implications of buying such a placement head on over to the Third Tuesday Toronto Meet up page and register.

I would traditionally sign off with a cheery “see you there!” but, alas, after hounding Tony for months to do this for us, I’ll be in Calgary singing the Aliyot and getting married that week.

When mesh met meet-up

May 18, 2007

The next Third Tuesday Toronto promises to be a very special one. On Tuesday May 29 the meet-up dedicated to bringing social media to the Public Relations and Marketing community will host the founders of Canada’s premier Web conference, mesh.

The biggest Third Tuesday event yet will happen on Tuesday, May 29th at the Courthouse, when my fiend Mat, my podcast client and friend Mark, along with Mike, Stuart and Rob will hold court.

We’re at the Courthouse courtesy of our sponsors, CNW Group – thanks guys!

We’ve got space for 200 people and money for a nice soundsystem so don’t be shy and sign up over at our Meet Up page.

I’ll even be there, as opposed to last night when work kept me in the office and away from the 360: All Things Connected event that I was desperate to get to.

Wiki Wild Wild West

February 21, 2007

My colleague, Neil Johnson and I attended the Third Tuesday event with Anthony Williams along with sister agency colleagues Dave and Julia. Anthony authored a book called Wikinomics which I’m going to go and buy this lunch time.

Joe Thornley was also there with his camera. Don’t we look good after a hard days internet communicating?!

See more pictures here.

Anthony’s talk on the use of wikis raised two great questions:

1. How can you get to the critical mass of users needed to reap the benefits wikis can provide? [Sacha Chua]

2. How open are wikis? Another post to follow on this. They’re exclusive to those with Internet access, who have had the time and energy to learn whatever coding language the wiki uses, and to those who actually notice they can edit a page. Jason has some thoughts here and here. [Omar Ha Redeye]

Paull Young steals

January 26, 2007

…the hearts and minds of Toronto bloggers. London watch out, he’s coming to you next as part of his world tour of social media.

Aussie blogger Paull Young was in the self styled “centre-of-the-universe” last week and, judging by the comments in his post, was more than warmly received.

As he says, the Toronto social media scene is certainly extremely vibrant right now but there’s someone missing. You.

If you’re a marketer in Toronto and are interested in this new form of communication that everyone’s going on about (if you’re reading this you probably are), there’s a number of things you can do right now –

Get informed. What are the people in your industry doing? What sort of discussions are happening? There are some smart people talking about issues that affect your professional life right now and you should probably know about them. You can use Google Blog Search, Technorati and a whole slew of free monitoring tools to seek those conversations out.

Get immersed. Download the very cool Canuck PR Tool Bar developed by Martin Hoffman at iStudio and FH sister agency, High Road Communications. On the ‘bar, you’ll find some of Canada’s best marketing/media bloggers and podcasts. The list get’s updated every now and then but more importantly, the bloggers have made (and learnt from) the mistakes so you won’t have to.

Get interactive. Come to our meet up, Third Tuesday, which is usually on or around the Third Tuesday of each month. The “steering committee” is working hard to come up with more good speakers and ideas for discussions. Sign up for updates here.

If being preached to isn’t your thing and you want to “chat it out”, you could get in touch with Lisa Walker or Mitch Joel for an invitation to Throng or a Geek Dinner (of which there was one last night).

Get involved. Once you’ve read a few blogs, listened to a few podcasts and chatted to some people in the know, you’ll probably have a few ideas of your own. If you’ve held back from commenting on certain issues, why not start now. If you’ve been leaving comments on others’ blogs, you’ll probably make a good blogger as well (…as long as you link to me!)

Get i-ddicted. Only a blogger knows the thrill of checking their stats, the rush of seeing a new comment and the elation of an incoming link! If you want to market in this space you should definitely get to know your audience as fully as possible.

So there you are. The 5i’s of how to get on the social media train. Whoo Whoo!

Third Tuesday Toronto with Shel Holtz

November 15, 2006


I think the rather cack-handed photography says it all.

Shel Holtz held court last night with the Third Tuesday Toronto crew and talked about his favourite subjects – curling and podcasting.


Unfortunately I had to run out half way through in order to play football (it was the last game of the season, and yes, we won. 1-0) and was very rude to Julie for not introducing myself or taking some time to chat with her.

Julie, I’m so sorry I was so rude and next time I’ll be sure to get over myself and we can meet properly.

Here are some of my notes but I’m sure there will be other, more comprehensive postings going around. I think that Joe Thornley had the laptop open…

Scarey. Social media terminology is hopeless and scares the crap out of people who aren’t “in the club”. Shel was talking about ID3 tags and while I was cursing FIR‘s inability to chapterise their shows, other people were looking at him in sheer bewilderment. Just as business-management gobbledygook and marketing doublespeak alienate people, I think we are in danger of forming an elitist group that, unconsciously, pushes those who aren’t “in the know” away. This would be ridiculous considering anyone can get all the knowledge they need to start a blog or podcast after a weekend of reading.

Best Practices. Businesses should look to independent podcasters/social media adopters to get their best practices. Independents podcast to create a community; businesses podcast to make money. Independents lead the way.

Podmarketing. Don’t be overly commercial. Focus on the part of you customer’s life you want to make better and give them the tools to improve it. They’ll associate your brand with that part of their life, and for the improvement. Guess this goes for blogging as well.

Adoption. Lawyers and financial controllers are always looking to justify innovation with ROI. What is the ROI of blogging/podcasting? Internally and externally? What is the ROI of my pants? Pants keep you warm, create a (fashion) statement and cover your arse. Maybe that’s what social media does as well.

Sidebar – I’m guessing Shel meant these pants, not these pants.

New Game. With all the jargon and impenetrable lingo, is it about time we came up with social media bingo? Magnum and I were whispering at the back of the class like naughty school kids about this. Phrases to use could include:

  • Power of social media
  • Wisdom of the crowds
  • Join the conversation
  • Engagement
  • Democratization of the media
  • …any other suggestions in the comments!

Thanks to Shel for being such a mensch and providing an informative, lively and, most importantly, funny talk.


Terry Fallis and Shel Holtz.

Additional reading:

Donna Pappacosta – Shel Holtz does Toronto

Painting Toronto Red

November 13, 2006

No, this is not a political post about today’s elections; I just used a headline to get your attention.

This is a reminder that if you’re in Toronto and are interested in social media and communications, there’s only one place to be tomorrow night.

Shel Holtz, one half of For Immediate Release and a founding member of new marketing consultancy crayon, will be holding court from 6pm at the Pour House, 182 Dupont Street.

He’ll be there as part of the Third Tuesday Toronto meet up program that’s dedicated to bringing social media into the mainstream PR industry. I, along with my cohorts Joe Thornley, Terry Fallis, Dave Jones and Magnum, are looking forward to seeing YOU there!

If you read this blog and still want to chat, I’ll be the one in the tracksuit with a red team top on (I’m shooting off early to play football) who’s taking notes and pictures. JT and MOCC will no doubt be live blogging it just in case you can’t make it.

Mathew Ingram on: Third Tuesday Toronto

October 18, 2006

Michael (who pointed out the typo in my title! it was, of course third Tuesday, not Thursday…) and Joe were live-blogging last night’s Third Tuesday Toronto meet-up with one of Canada’s leading technology journalists and renowned blogger, Mathew Ingram. For a blow-by-blow, I strongly advise you to check out their posts as well as Mathew’s post with his thoughts.

However, as you’re already here, you might as well read my key takeaways from Mathew’s talk and the resulting discussions. They are, in chronological order –

Mathew on: Readership

  • Mathew’s column readership dropped from 10,000 to 300 when his bosses slung it behind the paywall. This raised an interesting question – should you charge readers directly, through subscription, or indirectly through advertisements? I completely agree with Mathew when he says that more “eyeballs” will generate more revenue and that it’s hard to take a bag of cash and ask finance to replace it with a fictional, yet bigger, bag of cash from ad revenues

Mathew on: Comments on corporate sites

  • Use a light hand. When the Globe launched their comment functionality on all stories, he advocated a “when in doubt, post” policy. Sure, some people will say stupid things but they will be ignored and a true conversation will evolve in spite of these people

Mathew on: Blogging as a journalist

  • “I just kind of make it up as I go along!” For me, I know I’m still trying to figure this stuff out so it’s refreshing to hear even the very clever people in the know have the same problems

Mathew on: Why the collaborative web is so popular

  • People are stupid; a person is smart. People act as a heard; a person wants to express themselves, their opinion and to interact with other people. Although, as Mathew said, nothing beats a real conversation, in person, in a bar, over a drink. It’s better to read someone’s social and physical clues instead of their carefully edited text

Mathew on: Pitching stories

  • Don’t be a dick

Mathew on: Pitching stories part II

  • “Hang on, I’ll just transfer you to” *click*. Know who you’re pitching; know what they’re writing about; know what they’re interested in and know them. Don’t waste their time spamming them. If you’re pitching the MSM, you should at least know what they’ve said about the topic in the past. When pitching a blogger, it shouldn’t be your first interaction with them. If it’s a key blog for your client’s industry, you should be reading it regularly and even throw in the odd comment. See Tris Hussey’s post for more details

Mathew was incredibly generous with his time last night and, despite the poor acoustics in the Spoke Club (coupled with our inability to get a sound system for the night) I’m pretty sure that no questions went unanswered either to the group or in person. He was one of the last to leave and I’m sure he’d still be toiling away in front of us PR and marketing types if Joe hadn’t have hauled him off.

For me, my favourite moment of last night came when he was asked to tell tales on the worst pitches he’s received from PRs. Having both pitched Mathew for Yahoo! Canada stories, Julia and I exchanged some pretty worried glances but, thankfully, we weren’t called out by name!


Thanks to all who made the night such a great event by braving a filthy Toronto evening to grace us with their warm smiles and great conversation. The Third Thursday Toronto group look forward to welcoming you all back to our third event featuring the incomparable Shel Holtz. Mark your calendars for November 14 (the second Tuesday) at an as yet unconfirmed venue. Hopefully I’ll be able to have an actual conversation with the big man this time round!

Third Tuesday Toronto announces Mathew Ingram as October guest speaker (please note new venue)

October 2, 2006

Third Tuesday Toronto

Social media is not just changing the PR model; it’s also changing the way journalists work. Journalists such as Globe and Mail technology writer, Mathew Ingram. A typical day for Mathew still includes researching and writing copy for tomorrow’s paper, but also populating the Globe’s “Geekwatch” blog as well as his own, extremely popular, personal blog.

With these added demands on his already limited time, how should PRs approach him? What stories are good blog fodder, and what will make it through to the dead tree version – and why should you care where it goes?

Well, the Third Tuesday Toronto group is delighted to announce that Mathew will be on hand to discuss all of this, and more, at the second Third Tuesday Toronto – October 17, 2006 in the Abbott on the Hill pub, 3367 Yonge St, just north of Summerhill Spoke Club, 600 King St West..

Mathew will also share his thoughts on why he started blogging, the difference between his personal blog and Geekwatch, the current crop of Web 2.0 technologies and his predictions on the evolution of social media.

So, sign up now for a great evening of discussion and conversation with your peers and, of course, one of Canada’s leading journalists on how to work with the new old media!


Jan 11, 2009: Comments and trackbacks on this post have been disabled due to a particularly nasty attack of the spammers.

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