Capitalizing on Ottawa's social media conference void

It’s hard to describe the feelings I have right now about Social Capital. Four months of planning and working to pull everything together and the day felt like it flew by in a flash. Despite some blips, I think the day was an unqualified success. Yes, Ottawa’s very first social media conference - born and bred in this town - was really, really good. 

It only seemed appropriate that this inaugural conference in Ottawa be kicked off by Glen Gower, founder of and a bunch of other sites, who has his finger on the pulse of this town and knows community when he sees it. I loved hearing Glen’s take on the Ottawa social media scene from the very beginning. You know, back before social media was dubbed “social media”. Glen has made it his mission to promote these communities since the late 90s. Yeah, he was community-building before building communities was cool.

“Proceed until apprehended” - Stacey, with Keenan and Shannon to her left.From the morning keynote, I moved on to a session in which I was moderating a panel on social change through social media. The speakers, Shannon Smith, Stacey Diffin-Lafleur and Keenan Wellar, each had interesting stories to tell and words of wisdom for those in attendance. From Shannon’s insights about dealing with being unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight as an individual to Keenan’s bold declaration that “[many volunteer organization’s] processes suck” to Stacey’s motto, “proceed until apprehended” that clearly shows her indomitable spirit and commitment to her work.

All three have been learning how to use social media tools to advance their respective causes. This is one of the areas of social media that is inspiring to me - the sincere desire to bring about positive change in the world.

My friend, Cherie-Lynn, made me smile then caught it on camera. :)The second session I attended was Craig Fitzpatrick’s where he generated lively discussion after a presentation that, in some ways, challenged the way people looked at social media from a marketing perspective. “Community = Channel.” It was a great presentation that included advising users to choose to do things that are measurable and that Klout should rebrand itself “reach” instead of “influence”. Reach is measurable. Influence…well, it’s not so easy to measure.

The word “unconference” started being thrown around during Craig’s session in the tweets going through my stream. It was gratifying to see such energetic discussion about a topic that deserves careful thought.

By the third session, I was feeling slightly numb - probably due to waking at an unreasonable hour after being up to an unreasonable hour (funny how that works). So I know that a good chunk of the presentations from Kneale Mann and Dennis Van Staalduinen didn’t sink in completely. Kneale and Dennis came at the broad topic of social media strategy from very different perspectives. Kneale is a proponent of the human web and creating human connections. He brought up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and related it to employee motivation - a concept I’m not unfamiliar with from my days of working in an employee survey firm as it was the basis for our surveys.

When Kneale finished, Dennis got up and gave us a crash course on how a major brand with a major campaign that goes insanely viral can ultimately crash and burn, destroying the brand in the process. I already cringe when I hear someone say, “Let’s do a viral video!” Hearing Dennis’ story makes me want to stay well away from those who think viral is the answer to everything. People relate to stories and respond to simplicity. Going over the top sets the bar so high that there’s rarely anywhere else to go but down.

Is your head spinning? Mine was.

Talking Facebook - it was a very interesting conversation!After all that, I lead a roundtable about Facebook. It was a fantastic way to end the day. Some stayed in my group for the full hour and a half and others came and went so they could visit other groups to talk about different subjects. The discussion about Facebook ran from basic to strategic questions and challenged me to think about how I’d use this tool more effectively as well.

At the end of the day, I was thoroughly exhausted but on a happy high of success.

WE DID IT! And we did it well. It’s hard to say what I learned more from - planning this conference or attending it. Start to finish, it was an extremely valuable experience that I am looking forward to doing again.

 This is the Social Capital Organizizing Committee - Sara, Andrea, Becky, Me, Lara and Vicky who was unable to stay for the whole day. These are amazing ladies that I am honoured to have been able to work with.


Thank you to my friends, Sara and Cherie-Lynn, for the fabulous pictures I’ve used in this post!

The awesome #blisshome twitter party - sponsors, prizes and winners!

Two days ago, Barbara and I were chatting (on twitter, of course) about doing an I’m-not-at-Blissdom-Canada twitter party. Amanda jumped in and offered to contact some people about prizes. What started out as a way to have an excuse to chit-chat about whatever became quite an event with sponsors, prizes and a ton of people who participated. It was a great time. 

I promised some of the attendees that I’d list out our sponsors, so here they are, along with the prizes and who won. I’ll be in touch with each of the winners today to tell them how to obtain their prize.

I want to say a huge thank you on behalf of Amanda, Barbara and I to all the sponsors for donating prizes and also to everyone who spent their Friday night hanging out with us on Twitter. It was a really great time - thanks for joining in!


Question #1 - What was your favourite baby item you received when you had a baby, or what do you like to gift others with when they have a baby?

Sponsor/Prizes - Extraordinary Baby Shoppe - two $25 gift certificates
Facebook, Twitter - @spearso
Winners: @dsteinoff @ndsphotography

Question #2 - What item or items are you always loosing the most within your household?

Sponsor/Prize - Mabel’s Labels - Colourful Essentials Combo
Facebook, Twitter: @mabelhood
Winner: @lilac_the_bunny

Question #3 - What room in your house needs a pick me up in its decor?

Sponsor/Prizes - Uppercase Living Expressions (2) from Lara Wellman
Facebook, Twitter: @glidinglara
Winners: @GoudaCheese007 @eyewonit

Question #4- What item are your kids always losing or article of clothing always tearing?

Sponsor/Prize #1 - Clippo - $25 gift certificate
Facebook, Twitter: @clippo
Winner: @Luvschweetheart

Sponsor/Prize #2 - Parent Tested Parent Approved - Grabascab
Facebook, Twitter: @grabascab @ptpaBecome a Product Tester!
Winner: @AmiAnime

Question #5 - What do you and your family do to stay active?

Sponsor/Prize #1- Capital Yoga App (please note this prize is for iphone or ipad users only!)
Facebook, Twitter: @capitalyoga
Winner: @SMLCFH

Sponsor/Prize #2 - Booty Camp Fitness - 4 week camp
Facebook Twitter: @bootycampfit
Winner: @ceilidhontherun

Question #6 - Do you like to read & get comfy before bed or what is your routine? 

Sponsor/Prize #1 - Apples ‘n’ Oranges - Polkadot Swaddle Blanket
Facebook, Twitter: @apples_noranges
Winner: @mikolaszuk

Sponsor/Prize #2 & 3 - My Pempek Publishing

Nature’s Creatures, a Language Introduction Book - This book introduces young children to English, French & Spanish in a fun and musical way.

Crocodiles and Crumpets - An adventure story about friendship, tolerance and independent decision-making with a strong dash of whimsy! 

Facebook, Twitter: @mypempek
Winners: @sethandshannon1 @justicecw

Sponsor/Prize #4 - Parent Tested Parent Approved - Easy Daisies Magnetic Scheduling Board
Facebook, Twitter: @ptpa, Become a Product Tester!
Winner: @LLLSummer

Question #7 - When you were choosing a name for your baby did you consider ease of personalized stuff?

Sponsor/Prize - Name Your Tune - Personalized CD
Facebook, Twitter: @nameyourtunecds
Winner: @fce431

Question #8 - What bath and body product do you need more of in the winter?

Sponsor/Prize - Nayla Natural Care - Sole Delight Foot Therapy Kit
Facebook, Twitter: @naylanatural
Winner: @mellanhead

Question #9 - Any picky eaters in your home, how do you handle this?

Sponsor/Prize #1 - Kathy Buckworth - “Shut Up & Eat” Book
Facebook, Twitter: @kathybuckworth
Winner: @soire

Sponsor/Prize #2 - Parent Tested Parent Approved - Moonjar Moneybox
Facebook, Twitter: @ptpaBecome a Product Tester!
Winner: @sunvitd

Sponsor/Prize #3 - Sprout Right - 1-hour consult with national leading nutritionist & founder, Leanne Phillipson-Web - a $100 value! Learn how to nurture a healthy lifestyle for the whole family!
Facebook, Twitter: @SproutRight
Winner: @wadesterwade

Question #10 - If you could get one product customized by a graphic designer what would it be?

Sponsor/Prize - Grace Announcements - Personalized note cards - worth $100!
Facebook, Twitter: @graceannounce
Winner: @justdworld

Question #11 - What was your child’s (or your!) first word?

Sponsor/Prize #1 & 2 - My Smart Hands

  1. Flash Cards
  2. The Green Room Book by Moe Berg

Facebook, Twitter: @mysmarthands
Winners: @rsj2000mrs @spatula6

Sponsor/Prize #3 - Parent Tested Parent Approved - My Smart Hands Baby Sign Language Program
Facebook, Twitter: @mysmarthands@ptpaBecome a Product Tester!
Winner: @sunrae17

Question 12 - What day or days do you do your grocery shopping?

Sponsor/Prize - Smart Space Organizing
Twitter: @smart_spaces
Winner: @OKtobeWeird