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Coming to Twestival Vancouver?

Tickets on sale for March 25 Twestival: Twitter-organized fundraising in hundreds of cities

Twestival - the Twitter-organized fundraising evening that happens the same evening in hundreds of cities worldwide - is coming again to Vancouver, this time in support of Concern Worldwide. And Rob will be there once again, doing standup comedy about social media.

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Presented, and accountable for

Another entry in online community for speakers and audiences: joind.in

Joind.in logo

A quick note for speakers, event organizers and - most of all - folks who attend presentations: SpeakerRate, the presentation-reviewing site I mentioned a week or two ago, isn't the only game in town.

The folks at joind.in dropped me a line to let me know about their site. Here's how they describe it:

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You've seen the presentation. Now write the review.

SpeakerRate: an online community for reviewing and rating speakers

Presentation rating (sharp)

A few months ago, I left a conference thinking how great it would be if I could have checked up on the speakers beforehand: not just their bios, but their reputations for delivering engaging, useful and, yes, entertaining talks. From that spun out the idea for a site where anyone could rate speakers and their presentations. My back-of-the-napkin diagrams got pretty elaborate... before I filed them away in our now-bulging File Drawer O' Great Ideas.

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Join Kris Krug and me for "Social Media: A New Way to Market?" - Jan. 28 in Vancouver

I've never really had a chance to share a stage with the multi- poly- omni-talented Kris Krug... so I'm doubly excited about a talk I'll be giving on Monday night for the High Tech Communicators Exchange:

Facebook, Linkedin, YouTube, MySpace … what does the social media revolution mean to marketers and communicators? How is it redefining how we communicate, connect, network and build relationships with customers, stakeholders and even employees? How are companies using social media to increase visibility and build awareness? What are the risks and pitfalls of using social media? And what’s coming next?

The January 28th High Tech Communicators Exchange will start the discussion on how best to navigate this brave new world as part of our business strategy. Local social media guru Kris Krug, President of Raincity Studios will share insights into how social media is evolving, changing the rules and empowering people. You’ll also hear from Rob Cottingham, President of Social Signal how his company has helped companies like Vancity (changeverything.ca) and BC Hydro make the most of digital technologies.

A quick word about the Exchange: it's been a labour of love for Catherine Ducharme since 2001, and now serves more than 380 communicators, PR professionals and marketers in Vancouver's high-tech sector.

Which brings me to a post I've wanted to write for a while.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the immense service provided by the world's convenors – the folks who devote time and energy to bringing people together on common ground. Just in our area, there are people like Catherine, our friends Jason Mogus, Sarah Pullman and Jodie Tonita with Web of Change (plus Phillip Smith by remote control from Toronto)...

...the Northern Voice blogging conference team (Darren Barefoot, Kris Krug, Brian Lamb, Cyprien Lomas, Boris Mann, Dale McGladdery, Lori Pike, James Sherrett, Travis Smith, Julie Szabo, Roland Tanglao and Lauren Wood)...

and Gerald Bauer who pulls together our local Facebook Developers Garage (coincidentally, also happening Monday night – wish I could be in both places!).

There are many more... and just those few individuals, and the

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Yesterday's open house: thanks for coming!

Dayglo (Rob), Consultini (Alex), Pravin and Catherine

We had a great time at yesterday's open house welcoming Catherine to Social Signal. These events have their own unique dynamic: like being at a party, with little knots of people forming and talking... except you can hear everybody else's conversation as well.

The amazing thing is that, despite those potential distractions, you focus on the conversation you're having with the avatars closest to you. And it really feels like I met these folks.

To everyone who came, thanks for making this such a success. We had well over 50 people drop in over the two hours, and some fascinating conversations with people doing very interesting work.

(Update: AgentHandy has a great batch of Flickr photos from the event here. And thanks to Beth Kanter, Monique Trottier, Kate Trgovac, Jordan Behan, Aldon Hynes, Boyd Neil, Tim de Jardine, The Fountain and Bieneff Bruder for their reports on us! Special thanks to Neville Hobson for his kind words of welcome in episode 203 of the For Immediate Release podcast.)

For anyone who couldn't make it, here's a transcript of the opening remarks:

[14:10] Consultini Paperdoll: I just wanted to thank everyone for joining us today. We're really thrilled to be welcoming Catherine Omega to Social Signal and to be launching Social Signal's new Second Life practice. Social Signal is a company based in Vancouver, BC. We build online communities for nonprofits, government organizations and businesses including the NetSguared org site created by CompuMentor's TechSoup. They are our hosts today, so perhaps before I go further I can just take a minute to thank them and to thank Info Island for their generosity in lending us this space. Handyland Fairymeadow is here from TechSoup - Handyland, do you want to explain to folks what TechSoup is, and what you're doing in SL?

[14:15] HandyLand Fairymeadow: :) our pleasure to have you. sure... hi! I am handy of TechSoup. TechSoup is a nonprofit in RL and we are also doing work in SL. In RL-- we are are a nonprofit that assists nonprofits with their tech needs. In SL, we are doing a few projects to help get nonprofits connected in-world. We are doing the following projects:

We have a nonprofit directory which can be seen here to my far right behind you all. You can click and wear it and be taken on a tour of some orgs in-world.

We are also working on a big project which is a nonprofit office complex. We are calling this the nonprofit commons and we are donating free ofices to nonprofits; this sim was donated to us by the anshe chung studios. We are also having weekly meetings here in this space every friday from 8:30-9:30 PST.

To read about what we are doing check out our google group at http://groups.google.com/group/TechSoup-Second-Life. Also, feel free to check out our FAQ at http://www.techsoup.org/community/Second%20Life/page4997.cfm, join this group in SL, and feel free to take a notecard about TechSoup.

If you know any nonprofits in-world, please tell them to connect with either me or glitteractica cookie by IMing us inworld.

Enjoy and thanks for coming to this event!

[14:19] Consultini Paperdoll: Thanks, Handyland

First, just a reminder that we have a goodie bag for everyone -- just touch the giant menacing cube behind me to get yours.

Maybe the next thing for me to do is to introduce our team:

Dayglo Maladay, aka Rob Cottingham, is the President of Social Signal
Pravin DeSantis, aka Pravin Pillay, is our new COO
I'm Consultini Paperdoll, aka Alexandra Samuel, and I'm the CEO

And as of today, Catherine Omega, aka Catherine Winters, is our Managing Director of Virtual Worlds.

We're thrilled that Catherine has joined us and we're very excited about what we'll be able to do together in Second Life. We were introduced to Catherine as one of the smartest people ever to hit a virtual world, and she's more than lived up to that billing.

Catherine, do you have a blush animation you want to play now?

[14:21] Catherine Omega: I'm actually getting used to the gushing, to be honest.

[14:21] Ruby Glitter: ;-)

[14:21] Consultini Paperdoll: glad to hear it, because we hope to have lots of occasions to say more great things in the future

[14:21] Catherine Omega: Okay, well maybe not TOTALLY used to it yet... :)

[14:21] Consultini Paperdoll: She's both sharpened and broadened our ideas of what our clients can accomplish, and how SL can trigger social change and innovation.

We decided to get into Second Life because we think this is a crucial space and a crucial moment for the growth of online community. We've all seen what Web 2.0 has done to business, and to the social sector. And we've been working to build online communities that realize the best of that potential and really help people collaborate in ways, and for purposes, that might not otherwise be addressed. For example, the ChangeEverything.ca site which we built for Canadian credit union Vancity recently gathered 76 bags of clothes for homeless people during a cold snap here.

We think that's an example of what online communities can do and what Second Life can do, perhaps even more powerfully than the web: bring people together, bring out the best in them and enable real social change.

We think Catherine's understanding of SL and her dazzling technical skills will help us to realize that potential and we're looking forward to continuing the conversation which we've already begun with many of you about how SL can be a home and a force for positive social change... as well as a good place to displace our socially/environmentally destructive consumerist impulses ;)

Again, Catherine, thanks so much for joining us -- we're really honored to have you as part of our team. Did you want to say a few words yourself?

[14:28] Catherine Omega: Oh, well, thank you. I'm excited to be here. I guess it was Hamlet Au from New World Notes who actually put me in touch with Social Signal initially... Soon after, I met with Rob and Alex and found that Social Signal's goals meshed well with my own, and that this was somewhere I really felt I could contribute.

I'm looking forward to bridging Second Life with the "traditional" web for existing and new online communities, because I think that this is something that we've only really started to see the potential of.

With this new job, I've been given an exciting opportunity to develop some of the things that I've only really speculated about until now... as well as using the skills and experience I HAVE developed in a different direction than I've been able to do in the past.

So I'm pretty excited about being here today, and perhaps a little shy about it... But I'm looking forward to working with Social Signal and with many of you. So, thanks, you guys. It's a pleasure to be here.

[14:31] Consultini Paperdoll: Thanks, Catherine. And thanks to all of you for coming today.

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Liveblog your next event

Extend your real-life event into valuable content for your online presence

A friend recently called up to say an organization he works for is planning on having a few lucky volunteers liveblog the event. (Liveblogging is when bloggers offer real-time reporting or commentary on an event as it occurs, often updating a single post multiple times with new information as the event unfolds. See some of the latest examples here.) He asked if I had any suggestions.

I did – and I thought I'd share them with you.

Social Signal on...

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.