May 15, 2011

Northern Voice 2011: Blogging + Social Media Conference x UBC

Northern Voice 2011 personal blogging and social media conference at UBC Life Sciences Centre on May 13-14, 2011.

David Drucker, Rick Chung, Theresa Lalonde

I attended my first Northern Voice conference this past weekend. I remember last year, just starting out in the social media community, watching all the live tweets and thinking I needed to be there next year. And I was. In fact, I was even invited to speak on a panel on day 2.

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

I thought all the talks were very informative and I learned a lot. I personally really enjoyed the smaller discussions and speeches in side classrooms with more focused topics.

Rick Chung at Backstage Rider "Be Rocktacular" talk

I'm going to do my best to quickly recap my experience and all the talks I attended as well as my overall experience. Forgive me, there was some information overload and I tried to just enjoy it without worrying too much about reporting on it.

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

Citizen journalist April Smith from AHA Media gave the opening keynote on "Storytelling from the Heart of the City" (in the Downtwon Eastside). April's enthusiasm and zeal is wholly infectious. She had so much to say and actually went quite long. Her story was powerful.

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

The "Twitter & News: What is Next?" panel discussion done and moderated by News1130 web editor Yuliya Talmazan was an informative look on online journalism.

Andrea Woo from the Vancouver Sun had a lot of informative points on social media and the print world. "What happens when twitter goes down?" She discussed focusing news traffic back to your site and being more than simply an RSS feed. Journalists online need personality.

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

News1130 news anchor and web editor Erin Loxam talked about separating herself professionally and personally online and the challenges of working for a major news organization with strict rules. Her dilemma is working for a large media company navigating rules for social media and limiting personal opinions in her work. "Acknowledge when you make a mistake. I don't think news organizations acknowledge their mistakes enough. It shows their humanity."

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

CBC reporter Theresa Lalonde talked a lot about having personality online and being genuine. 24 Hours' Bob Mackin emphasized "Agitate don't irritate. [...] Be responsible with the information you put out there."

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

Photographer Syx Langemann from Blackframe Studios and web developer Morten Rand-Hendriksen had a wicked chat about why "Your Blog is Boring & Your Photos Suck". They tag-teamed some quick and dirty tips and tricks on how to jazz up your blog and photos with some useful methods while sharing personal experience on storytelling. I learned a ton from them.

Morten's day 2 talk on "A Code of Ethics for the Social Web" was very informative. He discussed at length social media and journalistic ethics. I'm happy that I follow most of his rules most of the time. This should be taught everywhere.

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

I've written extensively enough about my beloved mentor, Theresa. Her talk on training folks on social media and "How to Be an Empath" was fun-filled, quirky, and cool just like the crazy internet lady she is. She's a great teacher. "Think web. Everyday. Every story. Everybody."

Mikala aka Backstage Rider

My favourite talk of the entire weekend by far was the deeply personal and rocktastic storytelling of the amazingly and incredibly awesome Mikala Taylor, propietor of the Backstage Rider blog complete with rockhands and all. She presented a thorough "catablog" of her rock and roll life.

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences CentreNorthern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

She brought her many diaries (from childhood) of documenting rock concerts and how to "Be Rocktacular: Stories from a Music Blogger and Indie Rock Nerd". She had a polished, refined presentation that was very entertaining. Her story parallels my own in many ways. I loved hearing all her crazy awesome experiences just doing the music journalism thing on her own. It was the "best thing ever since ever-ness".

Rick and Dennis

I also really dug the food writing talk between Andrew Morrison from Scout Magazine with Matt Miyagawa from Vancouver Slop. Their views, insights, and knowledge of the local food community were thoughtful and intriguing. I loved their stories on food, dining, publishing for "A Bloggable Feast: Food Blogging".

Yelp Canada marketing director Crystal Hendrickson's account on the "Tales, Trials & Teachings of the Community Management World" was an interesting ride on her busy world of being professionally social. That lady does so much in a day. She has mad time management skills. And if you're reading this, Crystal, I'm totally serious. I want one of those snazzy retro red Yelp watches.

Northern Voice 2011 | UBC Life Sciences Centre

Lastly, I had a lot of fun at my own talk with Briana Tomkinson and Jon Strocel. It was cool chatting about blogging your local community and the benefits of building online and real life communities. FYI, This was the intro I wrote for myself:
Rick Chung is a broadcast journalist who wears many hats. His favourite is the sombrero. He is the social editor for the award-winning blog Vancouver Is Awesome and occasional writer for the less but still awesome, non-award winning RickChung.com.
It did suck that there were so many interesting topics scheduled at the same times making for difficult choices. Some of the bigger talks had themes that were a little broad and dry at times. All in all, I had a jam-packed weekend of learning, socializing, and communicating with other blogger geeks. Next year is a definite must for any professional communicator.

Photo | Ariane Colenbrander

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