Two Ps in a PodCamp (Toronto)

That’s people and programming.

And at PodCamp Toronto 2010, the two are inextricably intertwined.

For anyone who hasn’t been, the annual event takes place February 20 and 21 at Toronto’s Ryerson University. It’s an energy-filled, somewhat entropic, fun exchange of social media ideas, applications and conversation – a place where all the Twitter avatars you’ve gotten to know meet IRL.

The eclectic line-up of sessions – with more being added every day – ranges from business and mobile case studies, to a walk through social media marketing ecosystem, tips on editing an interview as if it were music, death and your digital legacy, saving newspapers…  There’s even a live recording of Inside PR (I hope you’ll drop by with questions…).

Here’s where you go to register.

My big questions is: will anyone have an iPad to preview?

Hope to see you there.


Blogging backlist

When I worked in publishing, new releases were very important, of course. But of almost equal importance was the backlist – those books that had already been published and had built awareness, an audience, a niche.

If your title moved to the active backlist, you could say it took on a life of its own. It had staying power.

Now that I’ve written a blog for three years – and many people have done it for longer than that – it struck me how little attention we pay to a blogger’s backlist – those entries that were posted last week, last month, last year or more. Because in blogs they’re moved to archives – and we all know how often we visit an archive.

I think that’s a real shame because many (OK some) older posts are probably as relevant now as they were the day they were published. Unfortunately, social media’s immediacy pushes things to the bottom of the heap faster.

So here’s what I’d like to suggest.

Bloggers – Go back and carefully reflect on which posts truly stand the test of time. (Likely  fewer than you think.) Then republish some of your greatest hits. But don’t use this as excuse to be lazy.

And readers, when you have a few minutes – I know, who has any extra time? – why not dig a little deeper and have a look at a blogger’s past (entries, that is).

I’m sure you’ll find a few gems. And when you do, I hope you’ll share them.

How are you reading?

Normally, the question we’d ask is: what are you reading? As in content you’ll hopefully share. And, of course, that’s key.

But with the recent announcement that Canada’s largest newspaper chain put itself in bankruptcy protection and with all the drastic  changes to MSM in the past year or so, I wonder if media, and publishers in general, should also be asking the question: how.

It’s common knowledge we’re in a state of print transition. And, while it’s certainly a different order of magnitude, it reminds me of the switch from professional typesetters to DIY typesetting on computers. There’s a large empty building on Dupont Street in Toronto that stands as a somewhat bleak monument to that change.

But while it took down an industry, it didn’t alter the fact that we need (and enjoy) text.

It’s human nature to like and stay loyal to the familiar ways of doing things: poring over the morning paper, appreciating the visual textures of magazines, the pleasure of reading a book that seems to be speaking directly to you.

I love to do all of these. But more important is the fact that I just plain love to read.

These days I almost never read the print edition of a newspaper for news anymore – I get that from different sources, mostly online. But I do read the paper for more in-depth stories, opinion and because I don’t yet have a reader that I can take to the kitchen table (it’s on my list…).

I think media and publishers have to take some big chances, accept that the printed page has faded and act accordingly. Only then will they be able to start thinking creatively about the ‘how’; as in how are they going to provide us with a fresh and innovative way to read, share and engage with their content. And yes, make some money, too.

They need to get out of their comfort zone; we need to get out of ours.

Getting started in social media – new McMaster business course

As most of you know, I taught a social media for PR course at McMaster University last fall. You can read about it here, here, here and here.

And now, I’m happy to report that I’m teaching an accelerated business course on SM – also at McMaster. The after work sessions run March 4, 5, 11, 12, 6-9 p.m. and March 6, 9 AM – noon.

This is a hands-on class geared to business people and entrepreneurs who are looking for practical advice on how to get started with various social media tools.

Participants will learn how to set up a blog, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, post videos, record a podcast. I’ll also be meeting with people one-on-one to discuss their communications and business goals and help them figure out which tools might work best for the audience they’re trying to engage.

Here’s where you go to sign up.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Moving day… (for the blog, that is)

Happy 2010! It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on my blog for three years now – and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and sharing your thoughts as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

I’ve learned a lot in that time, met so many great people – both online and off – and look forward to continuing – but with a slight twist.

One of the things I did during the holidays was pack my bags, set up a blog on WordPress, migrate my entries and comments and, painstakingly add in all the tags – one at a time. (They came through as categories.) And other than the little glitch with the tags, the transfer was pretty seamless.

The blog will have the same name and focus: PR, social media and trends. But it will now have a different domain, platform and slightly new look. The new address is: (here, that is).

For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be tinkering with the design, so think of this as the beta version. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

I’m also going to be cross-posting in both blogs for a while. But I’m hoping to be fully moved in and settled by the end of January. So drop by, sat a spell, y’all come back now…