I've taken a while to post this as I didn't watch this video recording until today. Back in February I attended the "MooseCamp" portion of the annual Northern Voice social media conference organized by several folks from Vancouver's blogging community. I've written several times over the years about my experiences at Northern Voice, and continue to support this great event.
If our 30-minute discussion about the topic of exploiting social media during the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Games was any indication, Northern Voice continues to attract some very creative minds.
For those who are interested in watching this recording, I would suggest that you stick with it. Until the eight-minute mark it's essentially me trying to get a room full of strangers to warm up to the topic. A PowerPoint might have helped, but I was only equipped with a board and a stick of chalk. If the format seems a little loose, it was intended. MooseCamp is modeled after the BarCamp participatory workshop concept.
My goal with the session, which I labeled "Twit This, Timbuktu: How BC can use social media during 2010 for economic gain," was to generate a discussion among social media users about how online connections can expand throughout the global community during the time they're paying attention to us most.
We musn't forget that all the athletes, plus many of their supporters and family members will be visiting Vancouver and Whistler next year. As well, thousands of members of international media will be here to report not only about the competitions, but they'll also be talking about us.
I asked those in attendance (some of whom were from abroad) what the world thought about Vancouver, or BC, or Canada for that matter. The answers were pretty predictable. The weather is cool and/or rainy. The people here are considered "nice" or "polite." As I remarked to the room, is New York considered "nice"? If you're a city, nice = boring.
Some exciting and positive ideas and opinions flowed from the room that day. A few highlights are:
- We should try to facilitate real time connections with viewers and locals through social media. A viewer in China or Austria might take some thrill by connecting with someone experiencing the Games first hand in Vancouver. One person referred to it as the modern equivalent of a pen pal.
- Social media types should refine a tag or set of tags to try and connect all conversations around Vancouver 2010 to build critical mass.
- VANOC should create a special media accreditation designation for bloggers (not just traditional media) for them to gain access to news and info from the Games and start their own web channels.
- Aid direct links between local small businesses and similarly sized enterprises from abroad (credit to Pete Quily).
- Create a "Virtual Travel Council" of locals who can use blogging and social media to introduce the region to the world.
The evening before Moosecamp I visited the Hillcrest Olympic venue (not "Hillside" as I erroneously referred to it), and found a very eager public already catching Olympic fever. It foreshadowed for me how much the public is going to enjoy the Olympics and Paralympics next year. I think that Vancouver will strongly embrace the Games, and relish the opportunity to show off their city, province and country.
To realize the full potential of 2010 we must find new ways to connect Canada's bloggers and social media users to their counterparts from around the world.
Many thanks to Stewart and Bruce for recording the session, and allowing me to post it up on Vimeo to share.