Get out and vote, Canada

Voting is something many of us take for granted because it has always been an option for us, so we don’t understand the importance of it. If you watch the news, they show new Canadians voting for the first time and they are nothing if not ecstatic at the chance and understand what it means to have a say in the country’s democracy. They know it’s a duty, and not a chore of waiting in line one day every few years.

If you’re on the fence about voting, I hope you’ll decide to do it. Here are a few more reasons why you should (there are many more of course):

  • Your vote counts: With first-past-the-poll voting, many may not see their vote being worth much, but if every eligible young person voted, the government would speak to your needs more often because they know you care and will want to work toward your needs.
  • People are dying for the right: The recent uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria show how much people care for the right to vote. If you didn’t have the right you wouldn’t be able to do anything about your situation, so get out there and do something about it.
  • It’s not THAT hard: Bring your voter card and a piece of valid photo ID with you, wait in a line for a few minutes, register, vote, leave. Is the future of your country not worth a few minutes of your time?

One more thing – vote for who speaks to your needs the most, not for the party you think will get the most votes in your riding anyway. If your riding is Liberal by a landslide, but you are pro-NDP or Conservative, then vote for them. It will show there is a need to increase presence in your area for that party if enough people care to vote for them, and down the road, you may see a change in your riding’s poll results.

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Planning for PodCamp Toronto

podcamp torontoThis weekend I’ll be attending my third PodCamp Toronto, taking place at the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson University. It’s always a great learning experience for me and I especially enjoy connecting with people “IRL” after chatting on Twitter.

Here are the sessions I plan on attending on Saturday. I’m not yet sure if I’ll be heading down on Sunday, but plans could change.

9:45-10:15am – Empowering Social Support Communities

10:30-11:15am – The Return of the Corporate Blog

11:30-12pm – THE INTERNET IS NOT MADE OF HUGS

Lunch time

1:45-2:30pm – Community Management or Complaints Department?

2:45-3:15pm – Getting Buy-in for Mobile in Large Companies

3:30-4pm – How to talk to Journalists

4:15-4:45pm – Social Media Trends for Business in 2011

Remember to plan accordingly because the subway is closed from Bloor-Yonge to Union Stations this weekend. There will be shuttle buses running.

If you’re going this weekend, what sessions do you plan on attending?

Night out at a Macallan Scotch Tasting

When I first got the invite to head down to a Scotch tasting being put on by the good folks at Macallan, I couldn’t help but think of Will Ferrel from Anchorman: “I love Scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly..” I wasn’t that much of a fan of it by the end of the night, but it was a great time.

Throughout the night we had the opportunity to sample 10 year old, 12 year old sherry oak, 15 year old fine oak, 19 year old sherry oak and sherry oak cask strength scotch.

After the first sample, which we were allowed to try with the donation of a Macallan coin (not sure why), we were eventually ushered into the next room. With plates filled with cheese, meat slices and bread, we sat down at tables and began the official portion of the tasting with the Macallan brand ambassador.

It was great learning about the various ways Scotch is prepared, from the type of cask it’s stored in, to the best ways to drink it. Did you know there’s no reason to swirl Scotch in its glass? And to smell it, you should leave your mouth open so you’re not inhaling the alcohol, but the aroma? Also, casks used to make sherry are what they use to make the sherry oak Macallan Scotch; they over produce the stuff just so they can have casks to house the Scotch.

As the tastings progressed, each one got a bit too strong for me. I much preferred the 10 and 12 year, since they had less kick and more flavour. That being said, thanks to dropping my business card in the bag at the beginning of the night, I was lucky enough to be drawn for one of the door prizes. I got to walk home with a bottle of Macallan Sherry Oak Cask Strength Scotch, so I guess I have to toughen up and enjoy this one!

Here’s the evidence:

I’d like to thank Macallan and Matchstick for inviting me out to the event. I had a blast!

Did you make it out to the tasting? What did you think?

It’s looking like Nuit Blanche is not my thing

I may not have been to the best spots for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche (#snbTO), but am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of lame? Sure there are some gems out there, but man, both times I’ve gone the “art” has been so lackluster and boring. I got the impression that the people who were having the best time happened to be those carrying open liquor and beer down the street. I have trouble criticizing this stuff because I get how it is artwork to many, but personally I only went down for the atmosphere and maybe a few cool pictures.

At Yonge-Dundas Square there was supposed to be a huge bonfire going on, and what do we get? This:

Nathan Phillips Square had a mini-concert going on with with the lights off, along with interesting visuals, which was one installation I liked:

After that we walked along Queen Street West and didn’t come across anything until the CTV building:

Yes I know that wasn’t the installation. They were airing short films, which while good, should have been at TIFF or something (and weren’t very photo-worthy):

Again we started walking west and didn’t see anything. We ended up meeting a friend at 401 Richmond and saw an installment there. Didn’t take a picture of it because it was just slats for people to lie down on, with tea making demonstrations. Huh?

We gave up after that and had a drink at Tortilla Flats. If I go again, I’m going to start off in Parkdale, where it seemed most of the fun stuff was happening. I’d also like it if installments were a bit closer together and maybe more of them. This would justify shutting down Yonge Street for a single street performer.

What did you think of Nuit Blanche? Am I the only one who thought it lackluster?

No place for cheap talkin’

Last night I made a trip back to Centennial College where I spent the majority of my life after high school. No it wasn’t for a class, but for Talk is Cheap,  an UN-conference put on by the Corporate  Communications & PR students.

The sessions

We got there a little late so ended up missing the opening discussion on Social Media & Haiti but fortunately I was able to make it to School Board Social Media with T.J Goertz and Stuart Oakley from the TDSB; Being a Community Manager with Mary Pretotto from Rogers (obviously); and finally I’m not here to make friends! with Jaime Woo.

School Board Social Media:

I want to say any time I see anything to do with the government taking part in social media they automatically get kudos from me. It’s important that the TDSB is getting out there and providing that outlet where there was was none before.  The most active forum I found the TDSB takes part in is their blog; here is where they answer questions/concerns the most. The Facebook/Twitter presence is great, but my biggest criticism (and I noticed a couple in the twitter stream felt the same way) is the lack of conversation; this isn’t a big knock – it comes with time. Starting small (actually being there) is the important step. As long as questions are being answered on the Facebook and Twitter pages I see no fault in what they’re doing. Eventually though it’s important to build and promote that conversation (questions, contests, etc.) and not just answer concerns in a reactive way.

Being a community manager:

My co-worker Mary Pretotto is the Community Manager on the Social Media team here at Rogers. You likely know her as @RogersMary and she’s out there engaging with Rogers customers on Twitter, Forums, Blogs and wherever else she needs to be. The gist of her presentation dealt with building that relationship with customers online and turning it into a positive one (if negative before). She broke down how the team is separated into proactive (ie. RedBoard blog posts) and reactive outreach (ie. Twitter, forums), but engagement online is done by different members of the team, depending on the issue. Come question time it was interesting (and a bit surprising) to see the majority were professionals looking to incorporate or grow social media at their organizations. They were looking out to Rogers for guidance and best practices. It went well and I can’t wait to see her present again! (As you may know I currently work at Rogers, but I’m not a spokesperson – this is just “In Sean’s Opinion” – heh.)

I’m not here to make friends:

Jaime Woo‘s presentation compared how people use Twitter to various reality show scenarios. The title was a bit misleading, as someone brought up during question time, because the entire presentation was about how to engage and make friends on Twitter. Once over that hump, the analogies began making a little more sense. It essentially boiled down to: be real on Twitter, being fake leads to high school (or reality show) drama, and share as much as you want, but within reason.

In the end

It was a fun time heading back to Centennial for the first time since graduation. The CC&PR class put on a great event and it went off without a hitch. I can’t wait til next year!

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