“You’re doing the city like a local, not a tourist,” remarked a thirty-something brunette I had just met, as I was itemizing the places I had travelled over the past day. It was the first, but not the last time I heard this as I struggled to pace myself while devouring Roasted Alaskan Halibut at an upscale eatery called Nopa. “It’s a bit bougie,” was appended to a recommendation to go there by a male hostess at a neighboring restaurant that didn’t have room for me. I thought, “Well perfect, I should fit in quite nicely.” And so I went.
I sat between a young couple and two girlfriends (the brunette was one of them) at a large block of wood resembling a raised version of the tables used in Apple stores to display their devices—and just like at those tables, every second or third person around this one didn’t actually know each other. That stopped no one from acting as though we were all friends out for drinks, however. At this place—and nearly everywhere I ate—patrons assessed each others dishes, visually compared them, and “Ooh, what is that?” was a standard conversation starter for strangers who by the end of their meals would be leaving as pals.
Deep into both dinner and conversation, the brunette, who had only been living there for a year, clarified that even though there is much to be loved about the City and County of San Francisco, she would not be staying long.
“It doesn’t feel like a real city,” she said, without completely elaborating.
Days into my trip, I began to appreciate her sentiment: I began to see what she meant, as I realized that there was in fact, many things too good, or rather, perhaps too exceptional, to be true. This is a metropolis like no other, where hostels blare CHVRCHES in their lobbies; street food trucks take payment via Square; you can (and I did) take a helicopter ride above sky scrapers and under bridges; four Starbucks at all corners of an intersection is not enough to stave off line-ups that nearly encroach onto the city streets; police officers have better things to do than stop you from smoking marijuana in dog parks; less than 13% of the population is under the age of 18; and every neighborhood, each one seemingly steps from one another, has it’s own unique persona and history. Like a museum, this is a city where everything, and to be sure, everyone, is on display—and every local is the head tour guide.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson shares his ‘social media strategy’, confirms he’s running for Mayor again at #3tyow
At last night’s Third Tuesday Ottawa event, a-hundred-plus digital communications (and some visible ‘.gc.ca’ types) showed up to hear Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson share how he uses social media to connect with Ottawans. As he told countless stories, cracked jokes and repeatedly (and hilariously) acknowledged an obsession with the number of Twitter followers he has, it was evident that this is a guy who really understands both the power and limitations of social media, and works them to his advantage.
The issues of global warming and our environment are in a way similar to gun violence in the United States: to have people acknowledge they are pressing issues at all, a related-national tragedy is required.
It took the fatal shooting of twenty children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut for many people to acknowledge that the annual loss of some 2,800 children and teens is something that needs to be addressed. Similarly, it takes a natural disaster, such as a ruinous drought or lethal heat-wave or devastating tsunamis, to remind us that the climate is changing at an abnormal rate and that we are mostly to blame.
I have to admit though, that personally, my environmental impact is not always top of mind, however, a recent outing got me thinking about sustainability—and why it should always factor in how we go about our daily lives.
The Automobile Show
Picture a large conference room with a lengthy wood-grained boardroom table; a surprisingly impressive tapas and beverage selection; about 15 Ottawa-based bloggers snacking, mingling, typing and tweeting; and four Ford execs and an equal amount of PR people. This was the scene last week at a private Ford Urban Life event at the Ottawa Convention Centre. Thursday, March 21st kicked off the Ottawa-Gatineau International Auto Show—a four-day extravaganza which features over 25 auto manufacturers and over 250 cars—and Ford Canada had something extra special to say. I suppose that’s how 14 other web-obsessed writers and I ended up together listening to presentations from Ottawa River Ward Councilor Maria McRae, Campbell Ford’s Gord Hoddinott and Doug Heeney, Vice President of Direct Impact Mehboob Jaffer, and James Row, who is Ford Canada’s Government Relations Manager.
The topic of the evening: sustainability and the environment.
We all have people in our lives, usually our grandparents or great uncles, whose humility and contentedness with simplicity in life we regard with aw and envy. The reasons are more than many for why we consider them so discerning, so very wise; but what I think we love most about them is the fact that when they were growing up, they quite clearly did not take life—or anything in life, for that matter—for granted.
And really, they had no other choice. They didn’t have our surpluses—time, money, opportunities, or stuff. Not only did they have less of each thing that they had, but they had fewer things to have less of. Nevertheless, when it came to their community, social life, education, and their job, they always seemed to give more. They always did what they could, as best as they could, because that’s just what you did back then.
We must, however, point out that despite the limits of their time, they were very fortunate that society wasn’t manufacturing as much of the crap that it is now—such as garbage magazines, sodium-saturated fast foods and people like Donald Trump—and certainly not at the incredible rate at which it is now being produced. Consequently, our elders did not consume the levels of dietary, informational and commercial rubbish that we do nowadays.
We love these people. How can we not? They’re so… authentic, to use a wildly overused word. I use it to say that they were, specifically, true to themselves and reliable though. I often reflect on the ways I think we can become more like them; how young adults can still grow as people the way that they did, despite the social context we find ourselves in. In these ruminations, my mind gravitates towards the subjects of media and charity. I have a few thoughts for how, in 2013, we might better approach these spheres of existence for social good.
In a post titled, “If The Atlantic ought to pay for content, why should Facebook make distribution free?,” Martin Belam adds some solid ideas to the current discussion surrounding the value of content and online distribution channels. Belam mentions two other pieces in his post. First, he cites Nate Thayer writing about how The Atlantic was trying to obtain his work for free. Second, he mentions Nick Bilton’s NY Times Bits blog describing (lamenting, basically) how Facebook user engagement with content has dropped—unless you’re creating amazing content or you’re paying to promote posts. I’d like to focus on the latter article and explain, specifically, why I believe that Facebook charging brands via Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories to distribute content more effectively is totally reasonable and fair.
This guest post is by Danielle Mckeirnan.
Okay, so I’m not a great networker, nay, I am not even a good networker. I tend to stand in the corner, pretending I am engaged in a heated/sad/any emotion text conversation. Sometimes at networking events I even pretend I’m on the phone to avoid talking to people. No judgment?
You are probably thinking, “Why even go then?”
Well, that’s a very good question.
To be honest, I don’t really know why I go. Part of me wants to believe if I go I will get better at networking, and the other part of me goes because I feel obligated to network if I want to even be semi successful with my much sought after English degree. I feel if I don’t go, I am truly missing out and I fall into an anxious coma and when I blink I am just at the event.
Okay. So do you want to know my secrets? Just read below.
- Show up to the event at a very inappropriate moment. Always show up after the food is gone, or something stupid like 27 minutes late. Why not wait the full thirty? Why not just get there on time? I don’t know world that would just be too logical for this post.
I’m horrible at delegating. I’m also worse than most people at multitasking. This means that I can basically only focus on one thing at a time and it takes me a really, really long time to do work—especially if I want it to be great.
I was recently promoted, which has resulted in me getting more resources and additional staff to help me carry out my duties. Now, I currently supervise four paid student staff; this is in addition to 10 other students who volunteer for five to 10 hours per week each (in anticipation of an insubstantial stipend at the end of their term—so, they’re kind of like interns). In other words, theoretically, I have 80-100+ hours of other people’s time at my disposal, per week.
Just kidding. You cannot have a Vine strategy. Vine is a tool, like most other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), and therefore, should be used by brands tactically as an element of an overall content strategy. And fortunately, despite the services disastrous fail yesterday, iconic brands are actually doing neat things with the service to engage their fans.
Because I know you can’t get enough of all these list-posts, I’ve lazily put together a list of the most popular posts that I’ve penned… err, typed, over the past year. Read below for links and key quotes. Enjoy, and have a Happy New Year.
“IMHO, you can’t really calculate a concrete return on investment for something in which the level (and type) of investment varies so incredibly from one person to the next. In my estimation, at least when it comes to time and effort, students who pursue post-secondary education will get back what they give. And for those that give, the returns are invaluable.”
“The equivalent of a retweet on Instagram. This just isn’t necessary. I feel like it would simply turn the mobile app into a mobile Tumblr, riddled with viral meme pics, rather than beautiful imagery.”
“If you want to increase your bottom line, improve your front line.” That’s a tip that marketing expert Scott Stratten often relays to his peers and business professionals to get the point across that great customer service should be a central, if not the central pillar of every marketing mix and strategy in order for a business to be successful.”