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January 2010

#PodCampHfx 2010 – One Day of Social Media Paradise in Halifax, Nova Scotia

By | Networking, Social Media | No Comments

On January 24th, Halifax held it’s second annual PodCamp festival at the Alderney Gate Library. It was a day filled with tweets, iPhones, Blackberries, and plenty of presentations involving social media, design and online video. Two words can effectively sum up the experience: information overload. This free event attracted 300 people interested in Social Media and the cream of the crop decided to present. PodCamp is known as an ‘un-conference’ – that is, it’s put on by the people for the people. All of the presenters are also attendees, and everything is free. It’s a great event, and I’d like to give a special nod to @RyanDeschamps and @SpiderVideo for investing their time, blood, sweat and tears into putting it on. Though it’s the participants that make it great, something of this magnitude wouldn’t get off the ground without a committed, enlightened core group. Hats off to you two, and everyone else working behind the scenes to make #PodCampHfx such a huge success.
If you keep up with the blog, you’ll remember I attended PodCamp last year as well, and had an amazing experience. This year, I decided to take it to the next level – and ran a workshop titled ‘Using, Branding and Integrating Social Media for Business.’The session ran 45 minutes, and I had a total of 110 slides. Most were hand-drawn, with a handful of screen-captures thrown in for good measure. My session was a rousing success, with a total of three dozen attendees. I consider myself honoured for the chance to present, and must admit I really enjoyed the experience. It was nice to give back to my peers, and to network with some of Halifax’s social media elite. I apparently have come a long way in a year…. I distinctly remember seeing a video of me asking a question at last year’s PodCamp, and my voice cracking like a pubescent teenager.
Some notable events include Giles Crouch’s presentation ‘The State of Social Media in Atlantic Canada’, lunch with the #halifaxchicks and @thecoolestcool, the keynote address with @mcleangreaves and the #BattleDecks challenge at the end of the day.
Giles represents Media Badger – a local Social Intelligence Agency. They have their own crawler, MediaSphere360, which collects useful social media data in our region and beyond. Giles was kind enough to share some data about Atlantic Canada and New England with the PodCampers, such as:
• From 2000 to 2008 the number of Maritimers online has risen from 40% – 84%
• 87% of these online users have broadband internet access
• 49% use social media daily
• 36% use social media to make purchase decisions
• 25% feel better about buying from organizations that use social media
• 40% don’t read magazines
• 20% don’t read the newspaper (me included – I use twitter and facebook instead)
• 15% don’t listen to the radio
• 67% watch tv and surf the internet at the same time
• 38% own more than one computer
• Facebook users average age went from 42 to 53 in the past year
• Myspace users are 16 years old, on average now
• LinkedIn users average age went from 47 to 55
• twitter uesrs are now on average 39 years old – up from 34 last year
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks! More information about Giles’ presentation can be found on his blog.
The keynote speaker this year was the infamous @mcleangreaves – who hails from Toronto, and is a legend in the digital, broadcast and print media industries. He seemed to have the inside scoop on all things tiwtter, facebook, and social media. From bold predictions of which tech giant was buying which Canadian start-up this year – to the insider track on Apple’s new iPad tablet computer (releasing tomorrow!) – McLean seemed to know it all!
PodCamp wrapped up with an event called ‘BattleDecks.’ And contrary to some guesses, it was not two DJs squaring off with beer involved somehow. #BattleDecks originated at the #SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. It pits several challenges against each other, vying for the title of Social Media Bullshit King… I assume. Each challenges has to talk to a dozen slide, for twenty second each, that they have never seen before. The also have to follow a general topic guideline, which consists of some current social media buzzword, for the most part. I can’t justify the hilarity that ensued in mere words, I’m afraid. Suffice to say, I had tears in my eyes for the duration of the event. A nod to @firecatkitty, @Prire, and @TheCoolestCool for their amazing skills of delivering maximum BS on-the-fly. Carmen Pirie was declared the winner, but I personally thought Ross Simmonds had it with his ‘Generation Y’ theme, and downhill spiral into sexual-innuendo at the end…
So, to wrap it all up, PodCamp Halifax was the place to be last Sunday. As I often say, “The Geeks will inherit the Earth.” – and we proved it and then some at PodCamp. The energy at the event was incredible, and everyone left a richer person. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these – take it! You’ll network with the best, and learn until your poor brain can’t take any more. Best day of 2010 so far for Rich Graphics and myself, hands down.