Archive for December, 2011

December 30, 2011

Top Ten Posts of 2011 and Ones I Really Liked

Something I really enjoy about the end of the calendar year are the lists. Actually, anyone who knows me knows I like a good list any time of year but the end of December marks lists in everything. It’s a sum-up of the year, what worked, what didn’t, what to do more or less of and a chance to reflect on these things.

I hit go on my website in April 2011, and so for the end of the year, I give you the most read and shared blog posts of the year.

Now then! What did you read??

10.  Data, Audiences, and my Thoughts on Margie – the most read part of this post was about Margie. I quote the last line of the post: Something interesting to note – my blog posts create automatic links to items that it has ‘heard of’. I’d like to point out  – it’s heard of Margie Gillis, Laureate of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. It’s never heard of Krista Erikson.
I repeat – Krista WHO?

9.   it’s the Dora Nominees Press Conference Today! – self-explanatory – here are the 2011 nominations.

8.  Today’s PSA: Facebook Pages and Helping Each Other Like Things – groups and pages and will it ever end? We start by liking each other.

7.   Sunday Roundup – June 5 EXTRA: TO Services Review Roundtable – I think of most importance in this post was my experience at the Toronto City Services Review Roundtable. I spent a lot of time at City Hall this year, come to think of it.

6.   The Ten Best Theatre Production Companies in Toronto – blog post on a blog post, courtesy BlogTO.

5.  The Magi Were Right – a fantastic exhibition at Pentimento Gallery – G Elliot Simpson’s Brotherhood – art and technology combined in a fantastic way.

4.  Once Upon a TIme… – a story about the Toronto Public Library, and why it matters to me. An edited version of this blog post won me a spot in the top 50 entries in the Why My Library Matters to Me contest, sponsored by the Toronto Public Library Workers Union. I get to have lunch with Michael Ondaantje at some point.

3.  OMG Why Did He Un-friend Me? – a great infographic and articles on the reasons people unfriend each other on Facebook.

2.  Sunday Roundup – July 17 – a not necessarily textbook lesson on Fringeconomics.

and the number one most read, tweeted, shared and discussed post of 2011…

1.  Fringe Plays I Apparently Should Not Have Bothered Seeing – a list of ways to avoid seeing a dud at the Toronto Fringe – a little research seemed to indicate these rules are made to be broken.

BONUS:  The Revolution will be Photographed Two friends and excellent photographers took to the street the first day of Occupy Toronto and came back with some wonderful shots of humanity.

BONUS:  Lest We Forget – A Slideshow of Loved Ones Many of you took to your memories and photo albums and shared stories and pictures with me.

Also for the end of the year list I have many companies to thank – Theatre 20, Expect Theatre, Ninja Funk Orchestra, Mighty Brave Productions, Arts Etobicoke, PACT, Creative Trust, Stratical Theatre, Magic and Mud, Little Revolutions, Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, Parkdale Village BIA, Art is Hard, Control Over Destiny, P. Marco Veltri. You’ve all been fantastic to work with and a big part of this year, and for this I thank you.

Thanks to everyone who reads, comments, likes, follows and shares. Am so glad you’re here. I’ll be back Tuesday, January 3rd with the answer to a frequently asked question: How much does a basic website cost?

Happy New Year. Eat well, drink well, be merry, have fun, laugh, be safe.

If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am.
Cyril Cusack

December 29, 2011

What’s Your Policy on Social Media?

I’ve been doing some work on social media policies for a client, and today’s G+M had a well timed article:

Ottawa Cautiously Calculating When and How to Dive into Social Media.

I’ve created social media policies for a few companies now and they are always challenging and thought-provoking. Mostly because it’s easy to think it’s a simple thing: don’t say anything bad about the company, don’t say anything stupid. Don’t swear. Obvious things.

But good social media policies must go further than that. While Facebook and Twitter can be viewed as the cheeky counterpart to other marketing initiatives, that’s the thing – they are absolutely part of a greater marketing strategy. Sometimes cheeky is good, sometimes cheeky needs to be defined by the Communications team, not the CEO.

If you read the article, and change the name of the company from “Canadian Government” to something else, the concerns they have are legit:

They indicate a strong interest is sharing videos through YouTube and conversing with the public through Twitter and Facebook – but also a wariness of the potential for calamity when communicating through forums that cannot be tightly controlled. Fair enough. Think Domino’s Pizza.

The HRSDC lists several pages of risk… They include the possibility that some Canadians will think it is a waste of money, that people may try to create spoofing or mocking videos, and that there would be a perceived lack of transparency if users are not permitted to post comments.

Also fair enough. Except 22 Minutes already creates spoofing videos. And it won’t be a perceived lack of transparency, it will be a lack of transparency. You don’t ignore comments, customers or citizens hoping they will go away, you deal with them – or you wind up with this.

Very interesting. We’ll see how it plays out. While we’re on the subject, here’s a great infographic from on 2011 hits and misses.



December 28, 2011

Next Stage Theatre Festival – we have promo video!

I’m always happy to see promo videos for theatre – it’s using one type of art to promote another and that makes me happy. it’s like art sauce.

There will be a PSA page devoted to The Next Stage Theatre Festival once I have the bulk of these links but for the moment, I give you:


Loving The Stranger or How to Recognize an Invert

Modern Love

I am also working busily on my top ten posts list and some bonuses as well. Posting those at some other time this week.

December 23, 2011

A Final Thought For You Pre-Holidays

December 22, 2011

Outta Here

Okay I tried to come up with a blog post today but really? Am at the phoning it in point (blogging it in?)

Everyone keep safe, happy, healthy.  Visit friends, see family, eat good food and laugh a lot. Have a good few days off that are richly deserved. See you next week.

PS it has occurred to me that the end of the year means round-up lists. You have NO idea how excited I am to make a round-up list.

December 21, 2011

39% seems – high.

Apparently only 39% of those working (this) week expect to be productive.

I figure you can do one of two things.

1) You can be the “gotta get it done before the holidays!” person, or be the person that inflicts that on others. I view this as sort of an arbitrary deadline, finishing for the sake of finishing. Unless it’s an actual deadline like a grant proposal or something, the push to finish something this week can be frustrating as all get out. It assumes everyone is on the same holiday schedule as you are, and that they are of the same mindset. I do understand to a point, you want to start fresh in the New Year etc, but pause for a moment – is your “gotta” assignment really “gotta” or is franticity taking over for the sake of it?

2) You also need to know your audience and industry. I sense not a lot will be done from now through New Years in many of the organizations I work with. We work incredibly hard 50 weeks of the year, and the time between now and New Year’s is a well deserved break. Perhaps yours is the same. I like the suggestion of the woman in the article – it’s the time to get stuff done that you never seem to get to during the year due to distractions and life. So for the next couple of days I’m cleaning up my mailing lists, clearing out old files and doing general organization – that to me is the fresh start to the New Year.

Other things to do include:

A thorough cleaning of your desk, phone, keyboard, monitor.

Clean out your inbox (or the 1237 unread messages you’ve deleted but are still in your trash. Really? Ctl+A then delete. My God. They’re on a server somewhere, they don’t need to be in your inbox/trash. Besides it’s slowing your computer down).

Fix all the email addresses that bounced back lately. While you’re at it, do a dupe search and destroy.

Go to the dentist, the eye doctor, the RMT. Take this quiet time to use up calendar year benefits.

Take lunch.  Not at your desk, not in the breakroom, go somewhere else, sit down and eat your lunch.

All the reports you’ve gotten over the year? Read them. I recommend TAPA’s Indie Producers’ Theatre Guide and Creative Trust/PAONE’s Performing Arts Education Overview.

Go to the Next Stage Theatre Festival website and choose the shows you’re going to see and book them as soon as you get some Christmas money.

All of these things should get you to at LEAST 4:00 pm.  And today I think you should celebrate – it’s Winter Solstice and you’ve made it most of the way through the darkest day of the year – head down to Kensington Market tonight and shine your own light on this world of ours.

Keep it up – two more days! And for those who have already begun their journeys – safe travels.

December 20, 2011

OMG Why Did He Un-friend Me?

It’s Tuesday of the week-that-never-ends and we’re getting closer!

Another infographic and a bonus article from the G&M on the ins and outs and whys of unfriending. It’s interesting to know why people unfriend, or leave your group or unlike your page so you can use that info wisely. Infographic below, full article from the Huff Post Canada here. Reasons they didn’t include that are big for me include thread-killing (commenting in a thread conversation with something that has nothing to do with anything/dampening the enthusiasm of the thread) and the event-friend (whom I may or may not know IRL,/six degrees, but apparently friended me only for the sake of inviting me to their events).

Two better options on my book are the “hide” feature so you can take a break from unnecessary drama if needed, or avoid Farmville/Bejeweled Blitz/other stupid game,  and the seemingly new “unfollow post” which is useful when the interesting discussion about the subprime mortgage crisis/parliamentary procedure/amazing art show  has turned into a two person argument of the merits of lizards vs ferrets as  house pets and if they’re allowed on the TTC.

Also a timely article on the oops factor of unfriending and the perils in real life.

Keep going my friends!

December 19, 2011

Infographics and Music Education

It’s the last week!!! The last week where Board members are sending delicious baskets of goodness to the office and supplier Christmas cards are coming in and lunches/gift exchanges/parties are being had and carols are playing at warp speed everywhere and – I’m pretty sure we’re all either checked out or thisclose.

So here’s a superawesome infographic from Mashable on branding in the social media age –  you can read it and look at the pictures and still technically be doing research while you nibble on a chocolate covered pretzel.

Also you can read this article on Sistema Toronto –  a new arrival on the local scene based on El Sistema (The System), a revolutionary music education program responsible for rescuing countless numbers of children from the crime-ridden slums of Caracas and other Latin American cities.


December 18, 2011

Sunday Roundup – December 18

The end of the year is nigh and of course we all obey that arbitrary calendar moment and hasten to get things done “before we close for the holidays”. Or try to anyway.

Apps, Cellphones, Art and You – almost a followup to a post/interview I did a few weeks ago about changing ideas for arts marketing

Field Trips, Social Media Workshops and Indie Producing – I head to the Gardiner with a high school, get ready to create a workshop and achieve fame online in NOW.

Other Stuff…

Congratulations Renna!

Bit of Sunday Reading on creative minds…

And finally a cool poem I found of course on someone’s Facebook Wall.  If you can pronounce correctly every word in this poem, you will be speaking English better than 90% of the native English speakers in the world. After trying the verses, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months of hard labour to reading six lines aloud. Pronounce away…

Happy Sunday!


December 15, 2011

Field Trips, Social Media Workshops and Indie Producing

Yesterday I chaperoned a school field trip with a friend – she teaches at Sir Oliver Mowat so the drama class headed downtown to check out the Commedia del Arte collection (permanent) at the Gardiner Ceramic Museum. Great students – smart, fun, funny and talented. We spent some time looking at various sculptures and they chose one each and drew it, bringing their sketch down to the clay studio, where they made sculptures of the Commedia characters. I must admit I wasn’t sure that a half hour lecture demo on how to make a sculpture would be enough information, but these kids were great and I will let you judge for yourself. Very impressive.

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After that I trundled off to a meeting with the Parkdale Village BIA and it looks like I’ll be giving a social media workshop for small businesses on February 15 as part of Social Media Week 2012.  If you are a member of the BIA they’ll be sending you info on how to get a seat – I’m excited – I love my neighbourhood.

And finally – looks like I’m in good company – the NOW Magazine Gift Guide has featured the TAPA Indie Producers’ Guide as a must have.

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