Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Good Heavens it’s Almost Time for LabCab!

Hello friends I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the 6th annual LabCab festival is nearly upon us!

The Lab Cab Festival is a free, family friendly multi-arts event. Taking over every nook and cranny of the historic and huge Factory Theatre (from the basement to the rafters), over fifty artists showcase music, dance, theatre, comedy, poetry, film, readings, sculpture, photography, clown and art. Pieces range from two to thirty minutes. Performances especially for kids. Other performances especially for adults. And it’s all free! Crafts and food to buy or look at. Free pancake breakfast both days from 12-12:30. Free childcare provided by Nannies on Call.

I always thoroughly enjoy LabCab when I catch it. It’s an amazing little festival, has a great history there’s something for everyone, it’s free, there’s pancakes and you should go.

Take a click-wander over to their website for schedules and who’s performing.


Sorry I missed you yesterday, I was busy being horrorstruck by the latest episode of Ford’s Follies. Sigh. I wonder if my Councillor is tired of hearing from me yet. For those of you considering writing a letter to the Executive Committee re: Toronto Port Lands, you should. If you send the letter to your letter will be noted on the agenda .

Here’s an excellent letter written by Blair Francey to our esteemed Mayor. And I guess his brother by default.

August 29, 2011

Sorry, I Can’t Quite Hear You

Excellent article over at MoreInMedia which I found as a RT from  my colleague Angela Crocker.

Social Media Voices – Can you Hear Them?

What exactly is your social media voice? The article explains that ” The voice [I’m] referring to is your Social Media Voice.  It is your voice, amplified on all social media platforms and outlets.  It’s your voice, branded for business.  It’s your voice, calling clients, customers and business partners together.  It’s your voice; a clear authority.”

There are a few good links to take a look at within the article as well.

Take a peek at your social media initiatives  – not your personal ones, but the ones that bring home the (soy) bacon. The company.

What’s the company’s voice? Is it the voice of the CEO? Or is it Stacey the intern who is in charge of social media?

Think about the point of you having a LinkedIn profile/Facebook page/Twitter feed. Don’t have something because someone said you should and then realize it’s not the right medium for your company voice.

I’m off to think about it. You should too.


Oh and from the Globe – check out the Maximum City course – “I thought if I had a better understanding of how things work, I’d be better positioned to try and make a difference in the future,” said Isabella Chiu, 15, a Grade 11 student who was one of the successful applicants out of more than 50 who applied for the pilot program.

The future feels okay today.

August 28, 2011

Sunday Roundup – August 28

What a big and busy week it has been – lots going on, lots to ponder, hmmm…

Smartphome Viewing, a Contest and Some good Art News – good article from a colleague about folks viewing your website and newsletter posts on their phones. More and more people are using only their smartphones to look at this stuff – get yourself optimized. From personal experience – everything I get via email is automatically vetted upon receipt through my phone. If I can’t read it – it’s trash. “delete on handheld and inbox”? Yes.

Facebook Promos – bit of riffing on an article in the Grid about Facebook invite overload.  And here’s a bit of bonus reading on the subject  via Rebecca Coleman.

I’m A Little Distracted – Wednesday is general known as hump day, but was more of a lumps-and-bumps day this week. So I reminded you about one thing only – the My Library Matters contest – it’s open til September 9th, so go and enter!

Summer Friday – IDEAcity video on the fusion of science and art – I personally love this topic.  Here’s another favourite of mine – I was there for the shoot and it was a HILARIOUS time.

I think that’s all for today – talk tomorrow, have a great Sunday, and do your Sunday-ing to the fullest.

August 26, 2011

Summer Friday August 26

Fantastic video from IDEACity – Charles Lindsay on the fusion of science and art. “Photographic artist Charles Lindsay explains his thought processes as the SETI Institute’s first ever Artist in Residence, illustrating his talk with the large-scale, cameraless photographs that blur the line between terrestrial and otherworldly.”

I am sorry it’s only a static image with link – either wordpress or ideacity is being difficult today and embedding is not in the cards. Still – gather round the wireless and have a listen.

Also a photo I found online today – this is a library. It didn’t say where it’s  located but I think I have a new quest – to find it and move in.

Have a good weekend – we’ll chat Sunday.







August 25, 2011

I’m a little distracted

by a few things going on today, so it’s a short and sweet post.

A reminder that the My Library Matters to Me contest is officially open – you should absolutely enter  – check out the participating authors below:

Of course I’ve entered. I was entry number 47.

Good luck!

August 23, 2011

Facebook Promos

Interesting article in the Grid today by Denise Benson  – Has Facebook ruined the art of party promotion?

Facebook invites have all but replaced flyers and posters as the primary means of event publicity. And now, thanks to easily-abused new features in the Groups section, Facebook fatigue is giving way to outright hostility….
I tend to agree with a lot of it – and not with some of it. But it’s true, you get inundated with event invites to everything from baby and bridal showers to opening nights to CD release parties and it`s really hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when all you can see is the phrase 27 event invitations, or the first words and they’re CD RELEASE or OPENS TONIGHT.
I’ll be the first to say that I used a Facebook invite for my birthday party, knowing I’d get about a 50% response rate. That’s based on the fact that I personally knew every person I was inviting. I’ll follow-up with the other 50% – and that’s the big thing – and I’ll follow-up in person, via text, and by email with some. Again good PR/invites aren’t necessarily about the invite – it’s about the followup.
I don’t necessarily think that it’s the death of well written press releases or flyers or posters – I still read and get a ton of those. But at the same time, I get those from folks who are good at PR to begin with. And odds are they’re using that well written press release as the basis for their FB invite. For a production I worked on in the summer we did posters, flyers, marketing collateral including fans and temporary tattoos, issued a press release, ran online and paper ads and THEN – issued a Facebook invitation.
I think that Facebook invites can be part of a strategy, but can’t be the only thing you do, otherwise it’s simply an online version of this and you’re holding your breath.  “well I sent out a Facebook invite” is not good enough.  And you must remember and believe it or not –
Some people aren’t on Facebook.
Or some people don’t check it religiously.
Or some people opened an account and forgot they did it.
I heard tell once of a company who did all their show promo via Facebook – a page, invites everything. Guess who didn’t come? Their sponsors. The ones who you are contractually obligated to invite and give tickets to. Why not? Because they weren’t on Facebook.
All I am saying is that it’s one thing to use Facebook invites to pad or up your numbers (I have NO idea why I get invited to some things then I remember you can ‘choose all’.)  But think about why you’re inviting someone. Are they interested in your show? Do you know them personally? Or are you just hoping they click something and it helps you promote?
Just because it’s easy to click “invite” doesn’t mean you should.
Know why? Because it’s just as easy to click “remove this event”.
This image  is beautiful. Photo by Andrew Louis, courtesy of Torontoist.
August 22, 2011

Smartphone Viewing, a Contest and some Good Art News

A colleague of mine Drew McLellan posted a great article the other day on analyzing your google stats to see who’s viewing you on their smartphone. Here you go.

On the subject of analytics, I had someone say to me (either flatly or with pride, I’m not sure which it was) that their organization doesn’t bother using their analytics strategically. They have them, they just don’t look at them.

I have some work to do with this person. More on this in a later post.

In other news, each of the six artists doing work for the new stations on the TTC’s Spadina subway extension will get up to $500,000 thanks to a policy that sets aside cash for art. This is a great thing to hear – and here’s another article on subway art that has artist and art critic Eldon Garnet telling us what works, what doesn’t. There’s a gallery embedded within.

Drawn To Develop  – a truly cool charity has announced the lineup of photographers who will be participating in this year’s artistic storytelling collaboration. Click here for the announcement.

And finally – quite possibly one of the coolest contests I’ve ever heard of – My Library Matters to Me

Win a lunch date with on of Toronto’s most celebrated authors and explore their Toronto!! There will be FIFTY winners!

Each participating author will accompany a small group of contest winners to a Toronto literary site (such as a location in one of their books) followed by lunch with their group at one of the author’s favourite Toronto restaurants.

Contest opens for submissions at 10:30 am Thursday, August 25th. Here’s the link for more info.  I KNOW!!!

And finally: I don’t know what to say. Rest in peace Jack – you did so much for so many and we thank you.

Statement from Nycole Turmel, interim leader of the NDP

“New Democrats today are mourning the loss of a great Canadian.

Jack was a courageous man. It was his leadership that inspired me, and so many others, to run for office. We – Members of Parliament, New Democrats and Canadians – need to pull together now and carry on his fight to make this country a better place.

On behalf of New Democrats from coast to coast to coast, our thoughts and prayers are with our colleague Olivia Chow, Jack’s children Sarah and Mike and the rest of Jack’s family.

And we remember the Tommy Douglas quote Jack included in every email he sent: “Courage my friends, ’tis never too late to build a better world.'”

I read in BlogTO that there will be a gathering at Nathan Phillips Square today at 4:00 p.m. to share memories and celebrate Jack Layton’s life.

August 20, 2011

Sunday Roundup – August 21

(In a completely unintentional nod to the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon below – I published this yesterday by accident. good Lord.)

It’s funny as you get older, the quicker summer seems to go, and the quicker we are to say, “oh well summer’s gone“, “the Ex is in town, summer’s over“, and other similar things. I can’t use back to school ads as a barometer because they’ve been on since July – one ad features a mom who is thrilled with having bought all the kids’ school clothes –  ‘and it’s only July‘. I’m sure it targets the same people who do their holiday shopping year round and congratulate themselves on having everything bought and wrapped by the start of November.

Anyway – where was I?

Monday Stuff and Debt – Interesting article in the Star on how it works for a city to be in debt.

Continental Posting – A great flickr series, the 2011 Nuit Blanche lineup, a contest from Small Print Toronto, and an invite to Vancouver folks to have their say on gaming revenues.

DAM! BAM! Art! – two fantastic art markets I adore – it’s Sunday and lovely out you should take a wander down.

They’re Tweeting! They’re Commenting! Now What? – posting on blog comments and what in heck to do with them.

August 19th – short summer Friday post with a couple of music recommendations – check them out.

And remember folks – despite those who get their school clothes shopping done in July and what have you, Calvin and Hobbes know best:

August 19, 2011

August 19th

summer Friday darlings, and I can tell many of you are out of town/heading out of town/wishing you were elsewhere. I leave you to your own devices today and remind you that the Ex is in town and at time of this post was set to open in less than half an hour.

Dog days of summer indeed.

Final thought before we head into the weekend – was at the Cameron House last night listening to Corin Raymond and the Sundowners making beautiful music as usual in the red velvet twilight – Corin brought along another wandering minstrel by the name of Scott Nolan who painted some beautiful musical word pictures.

I highly recommend you check him out.

PS Dear WordPress, why, based on this post are you recommending I tag it with the phrases Chanel and George W. Bush? Do you know something I don’t know?

August 18, 2011

They’re Tweeting! They’re Commenting! Now What?

Something I hear a great deal when companies are creating new websites, or a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed is that they want the wall disabled, or the commenting turned off. Why? Because they don’t want people to say mean things about them. They only want positive feedback on their company/efforts/initiatives.

Well nobody wants people to say mean things about them. But there’s a few problems with this logic.

1) People say mean things ALL the time. Doesn’t it make more sense to have them be said directly to you, rather than behind your back? If they say it in the comments section of your site, you have the chance to respond, the chance to fix it and the chance to control your own brand. If you are still uncomfortable, you can set it so comments must be approved by you. Which is fine. But it means you must approve them and post them – along with your response. Refusing to approve only negative comments is equally bad. And you’ve got to get to it fast. We live in an on-demand society. The second I hit post I expect a reply pretty darn quickly. Waiting a day or two or a week simply adds to the list of mean things people might say about you. Respond just as quickly, if not quicker than you would to an email or a phone call – believe it or not, there’s a real person on the other side of that comment.

2) Nobody’s company is 100% positive all the time. Things go wrong, things happen. That’s life. By only pushing out a positive image, you lose out on getting your readers’ opinions, experience and assistance with what you do. and given that they’re the ones you’re doing it for – wouldn’t that be helpful?

3) Not allowing comments is a one-way conversation. A one way conversation is a monologue. You wind up being that guy at the party – the one who talks incessantly about himself, doesn’t allow others to get a word in edgewise, and trumpets about the greatness that is him. Does anyone like that guy at the party? No. No they do not. The last party I was at with that guy, I literally physically steered him out of our conversation and to another part of the room.  Nobody wanted him around. (For those that know me personally – that’s not an exaggeration. I did it. I’d do it again.)

4) Sometimes there are people in this world that you cannot help. Sometimes there are people who will never be satisfied. And sometimes there are people who are jackasses. And yes – they have to be dealt with.

5) What’s your social media policy? Who’s tracking, who’s posting, who’s tweeting? A solid policy can help you avoid many pitfalls and problems to begin with.  Not sure where to begin?  Google social media policy. you’ll find 136 MILLION choices. Dive in and start crafting.

And so you’ve braved it, you’ve set up your Twitter account or Facebook page and you’ve turned off comment approval on the site. I hope it goes well for you – and no I won’t leave you hanging. Here’s another awesome article from Mashable on how to recover from a social media pr disaster.



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