Posts Tagged ‘#yyc’

Friday, 4:24pm. All day the only thing on my mind was how much I didn’t want to go anywhere on a rainy day like this one. Then, as if by magic, the clouds parted as I saw a tweet from Mark Hopkins about Audio Mob YYC 2. What’s a girl to do? Follow the signs. Audio Mob it was!

You don’t find me participating in many flash mobs in Calgary. Honestly, I find most of them to be a little cheesy… or promotey. Either way, most of them miss the point of the flash mob in the first place – random, silly fun with no ulterior motive. Well, unless the ulterior motive is learning a bit more about the city you live in.

Audio Mob YYC does just this. Exactly one week before the event opened, an mp3 file was made available on the website. If you can figure out how to download a link and load it onto your iPod or mp3 player, those are the only tech skills you need to participate. I just happened to download mine at 4:25pm. It took a few minutes, but a quick sync of my iPhone and I was on my way!

We met in the Courthouse Park at the intersection of 4th St SW and 6th Ave SW. Recognizable by our blue, red or yellow shirts and a smattering of balloons, we waited for our clocks to strike 5:00pm and for the mob to begin. Described as “one part flash mob, one part decentralized dance party, and one part Simon Says,” it ends up being a hilarious way to spend the better part of an hour.

Audio Mob YYC 2 – The headphones strike back!

This year, we made a human bullseye, argued loudly like lawyers about whose colour shirt was superior, danced down Stephen Avenue, stared at patio patrons like they were zoo animals (because “patios are for people watching, right?”), chased cookie monster and his two friendly cookies and even had a Mexican standoff. We even learned a few points about the businesses and buildings along the way. Like:

  • There are 6 different natural land forms found in the Calgary Courthouse Park that are native to Alberta.
  • The first original courthouse was built in 1888.
  • Stephen Ave is named after the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, George Stephen.
  • Most of the original wood buildings along Stephen Ave burnt down in the Calgary fire of 1886. They were built from sandstone after that to stop them from burning down again.
  • Flames Central is the last surviving example of a palace-style cinema in Western Canada.
  • And, a fact you should all be well aware of by now, that Calgary is the 2012 Cultural Capital of Canada.

See you next year at Audio Mob YYC 3! Or if y’all come up with an interesting mob idea of your own… let me know!

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Scavenger hunts have always been an amusing way to spend a day (I even did one at my sixth birthday party). But with the advent of social media, they’re taking on an entirely new twist. Even Pearl Jam hopped on the hunt train. I’m not sure we hit 5.9 Million tweets globally, but we certainly took over Twitter today in Calgary as participants in Tweets For Eats YYC tweeted in photos, took good-natured jabs at one another online and raised the profile for a Calgary charity as we descended upon the city. It’s yet another avenue of online successfully meeting offline… and all participants and spectators having a blast in the mean time. Today was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve had at a fundraising event in a long time.

Let me start out with a little run down of the day. I was on a team with Margot from The Costume Shoppe and her friend Karen. We met for a morning picker upper at Chiasso and then headed on over to Melrose to join the couple dozen people already stationed outside waiting for the doors to open and check-in to begin (not to mention the free breakfast sandwiches, yogurt and fruit Melrose had waiting to fuel us up). The hunt didn’t start until 11, but at 945 the doors opened wide and we rushed in to get our forms all filled in and wait for the much-anticipated hunt list.

We ride bareback on Team Silvester

At 11 on the nose, the list was handed out. There were over 200 items consisting of sponsored items recognizing the hunt sponsors, physical items (as in we had to bring these back with us), photograph items (send in a picture) and unique items (only one team could win each one!). Most teams were out the door lickety-split. Not us. We took our time and perused the entire list, sorting out what we wanted to find and splitting it up by neighbourhood or location. From there, we hopped in the car and off we went!

The hunt could take you from just a block or two from the start point all the way out to Elbow Falls. We concentrated on covering as many items as possible in as small an area as possible. This meant restraining ourselves to downtown, Inglewood and… where else but The Costume Shoppe!

I had no idea the day was going to go by so quickly! Part of that was thanks to my awesome teammates, I couldn’t have asked for two better ladies to spend the day with. We had a hoot and had a similar approach to the hunt! The other, well, there were just so many places to try to visit and items to get. We got a little creative with a couple of the clues, like having our team crawl underneath a truck bed instead of a real bed and finding a paper clip in place of a “trombone” (Hint: it’s the French word for paperclip). I was also introduced to a couple of places in the city I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, like this garage filled and decorated with bottle caps!

We didn't do it... I swear!

The day ended at 400pm back at Melrose to tally points, have some much-needed food and drink, listen to some tunes and await the winner of the grand prize of 4 iPads! Three recounts later, we had our winners. The Four Pink Ladies!

Check out the #t4e stream to read all the Twitter updates and photos from the day.

Congrats John S, Mike B, Mike and Ally S on a hunt well done. Can’t wait for next year!

If you’ve had any contact with social media, any at all, you should know that one of the main reasons for being online is to find your influencers. Those people who care about you, your brand and everything you stand for. Finding them in the past hasn’t been easy, and it’s definitely been time-consuming. Almost to the point that it may not have seemed worthwhile to put that much time and effort into it. But now… now! My goodness, now, finding your influencers is as easy as spending a few minutes a day participating in conversations, spreading information and just all-round caring about what your friends and followers are up to.

As of July, 2010, Master Maq reported that there were 10,501 local Twitter users in Calgary. I’m not sure what the number is a year later (that was the last report I found on his blog). I’d be surprised if it had more than doubled. Even less than that amount of Twitter users are real information contributors. Many of you folks sit out there lurking, just waiting for the rest of us to entertain you. But that’s not to say you aren’t watching.

Awhile back, waaaaay back to November, 2010 (if you can remember that far) there was a panel at Third Tuesday about last year’s civic election. One of the panel members (forgive for not remembering his name) asked the audience members how many of them were on Twitter. Once those in the room with accounts raised their hands, he proceeded to call them (us) all weird. But it’s true. We are a weird bunch. Not weird like you’d expect to encounter at a sci-fi conference, but weird in the fact that we’re so plugged in, so hyper-engaged. It’s this characteristic that makes Twitter a hotbed of influencers. People who want to be in the know right now.

Last month, I sent a question out into the Twittersphere asking how many people shared information with their offline networks that they heard about through one of their social networks. Nearly everyone who responded (granted, this was only a dozen or so) said they shared information with offline friends frequently. All respondents I knew to also have relatively large offline networks. In other words, they are just as plugged into the “real world” as they are to the online one.

Have you ever heard of the 1/9/90 rule? The gist is that for every 1 person that posts content online, there are 9 people interacting with that post and 90 people watching and reading what’s going on. There’s no timeframe for those eyeballs mind you. So in a real-time environment like Twitter, we can’t count on followers alone for an exact measure of reach. In fact, we can’t count impressions at all, merely the potential reach. That number would be astronomically large, so even predicting a reach of 10% of that number is impressive. If you’re repeating the message, well, compounded tweets will make it around eventually. And remember, it’s not a passive medium, like reading a newspaper or magazine. It’s an active one where people are having dialogues and conversing about everything from where they’re going for lunch to local and international themes and events.

I’ve said many times before that Twitter is the most valuable social networking tool I’ve found to date. For those of you who balk at its use (whether for B2C or B2B business use, promotional or personal), it’s a sure tell you don’t understand the medium, nor do you seem to want to. On this point, please accept my condolences on all of your missed opportunities. We shall continue to reap the benefits of our active little circle without you. But for any of you still curious about what the Twittersphere may hold for you, jump on in! The water’s fine.

I feel a food truck debate coming on. I can see both sides. Calgarians are hungry for some food culture. Everyone’s excited about the food trucks, but what about the restaurants they may or may not be parking in front of? Are they stealing customers? Or bringing more awareness to the businesses in the direct vicinity?

There was a quick article on CBC’s website about how many neighbourhoods are turning away the food trucks, and yet, the end of the article says Marda Loop’s considering allowing the trucks to visit twice a week. Who’s thinking synergistically here? The answer’s pretty obvious.

I get that restaurants might feel threatened by this new mobile food revolution. But, everything’s going mobile these days… so why the Debbie Downer ‘tude on something many city folk are excited to finally see hit Calgary? Learn from the social media craze folks. Mobile, whether app or food, isn’t going anywhere. I see an opportunity here for some lucky business. A lucky business who’s got private property, and wants to be the official parking spot for food trucks in their neighbourhood.

I walked into Barbecues Galore for the first time when I was heading in hunt of Jojo’s truck parked in the lot of their NE store. Sure, you might lose a couple of customers to a quick food truck lunch, but how many more will discover you as they’re following their favourite meal on wheels around town?

Do you remember when everyone was all excited that the internet, and subsequently social media, gave them a voice? It was novel to publish something that anyone else could read without having to go through a publisher. Anyone could find you. So many people were rushing online that it was a little overwhelming. It was almost like a million stock brokers all shouting on the exchange floor. Buy me! Sell me! Ah heck, somebody just listen to me! And like the good little minions we’ve been trained to be, we stuck our fingers in our ears and hummed as loudly as we could. “I’m not listening. I can’t hear you!”

The land of Twitter, at least the land of Twitter that I knew, went through a phase where it was all just a bit too chaotic. There were people everywhere, yet only a handful who seemed to know what they were doing. Some of them became annoyed with the massive amount of newbs flooding the little world they had worked so hard to create. In the Calgary scene, I caught wind of a rather grumpy undertone starting to take seed. Resentment? Exhaustion? Having to watch and experience yet another wave of people “discovering” social networking and how fast their message can travel, watching them stumble a bit when to us it’s so natural and so easy after years playing with these tools. I could see how that could get old real fast.

But do you know what’s gone and happened? Why, we all stuck it out. Surely, if you were that fed up with everything, you could have simply given up, closed your account and moved on. And some of you have, but the rest of us… we’ve stuck it out. Our little community was experiencing a rather massive growing pain. But much like our awkward adolescent years, we’ll grow up and block it out.

We’ve created something pretty special. We’ve created a place where individuals come along to a group full of people they’ve never met before and announce “Hello, I’m here!” Do we turn away with a cold shoulder? No, we turn towards them, give them a big a smile and say “Welcome!” And with that, we’ll turn to the rest of the group and say “Hey group! Have you met so and so? They’re new here. Why don’t you help me make them feel at home?” Then the group swarms around, and the newcomer is welcome. All it took was for them to let us know they’re here.

This feels good. I’m proud we’ve managed to cultivate a little sense of community in this online world. Those of you in amidst the crowd, helping others figure it all out, you stand out to me. You’re my kind of people. I can’t wait to see this perpetuate.