Facebook Privacy Settings are NOT Scary

Every day I see some Facebook friends posting warnings on their wall, warning us about changes that supposedly change privacy settings. Most of these warnings are misleading and it is time that we all take charge of our own settings – none of your friends can take that responsibility away from us!

Continue reading “Facebook Privacy Settings are NOT Scary”

#SMPanel Recording of the Panel Event on December 16th 2011

On December 16th 2011 I invited 5 Social Media users to talk about the impact of Social Media on Democracy – The video clips below are a documentation of this very interesting evening and I invite you to browse them or watch them in sequence. The idea for the event was in context with the recent municipal election but also with a CBC Media Panel (please see my previous blog posts) Continue reading “#SMPanel Recording of the Panel Event on December 16th 2011”

Panel Discussion: Social Media and Democracy

From the Arab Spring to the Recent Municipal Elections – the Social Media Revolution is reshaping our democracies – or is it?

Is Social Media a fad? Are the changes in the way we perceive and report politics less dramatic than they seem?
How do we deal with the influence of digital media channels? Continue reading “Panel Discussion: Social Media and Democracy”

Gingerbread Twitter House

Volunteering and giving back to my community plays an important rule in my life. All day today I tweeted pictures from the second annual Gingerbread House Event in Kelowna, BC to promote the event. The competition raises funds for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. Dragon Boat friends of mine created this family event and I am proud to help promote it mainly using Twitter.

This year we thought we would take it one step further and submit our own creation in the open category. Since I am the “Twitter Guy” it had to include blue birds of course 🙂 Continue reading “Gingerbread Twitter House”

Is Social Media a News Network?

As pointed out in my post The Impact of Social Media on Democracy I recently went to a Panel Discussion with Jian Gomeshi @jiangomeshi in Vancouver. Jian had invited a great Media Panel to discuss the impact of Social Media

Watch the whole show here

The Panelists were:

Alfred Hermida @Hermida
Tara Mahoney @genwhymedia
Ian Hanomancing @CBCIan
Frances Bula @fabulavancouver

It is easy to see that what we call Social Media today is well on the way to become a major factor in our lives. This change parallels our desire for taking charge of our lives. Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube make all users equal. I (theoretically) have the same option to create a Media Outlet as the professional publisher.

Since the invention of Print, Radio and TV Media Journalists and Publishers have shaped the way we consume news. In the free world most of us trust the professionalism of those we train to be our journalists to sort the flood of news pieces for us. Social Media tools like Twitter are changing this now…. or are they?

Please watch this 2 minute video to hear what the panel said:

Who is holding the mike now? ~Tara Mahoney @genwhymedia

I agree with Tara except for the limitation to the younger generation. With the rapid acceptance of Social Media tools by people of all ages the same applies to all of us. I too am skeptical of major news networks – too often have I heard the same story reported on CNN while CBC reported the same event with a totally different angle. In our current local election we see “traditional” news sources reporting very selectively while the “raw” twitter feed gives us real-time views by everyone who wants to contribute.

Why is a tweet from a 15 year old better than a piece of a trained Journalist? ~Ian Hanomancing @CBCIan

In my opinion: Because I have spent time on these platforms I have built trust in the sources. Because I get the perspective of many I can filter out myself what to believe. Being fortunate enough to grow up and live in free countries I have done this all my life. I have always taken information from varying news sources. Today I have the raw information in real time. I don’t have to wait for someone to report to me what happened hours or days ago.

So, Is Twitter a News Network?

Hear what the Panel is saying:

So, why are two panelist agreeing with me in saying “there is News on Twitter” and the more traditional Media panelists “Twitter is fluff” (apologies for the rough summary) ?

I think that, with all due respect Mr Hanomancing and Ms Bula are focusing on the present and not the ongoing and future change in our world. These changes are threatening the existence of the traditional understanding of a “Journalist”.

Like in many other industries in other times of revolution the mindset is changing. Journalists have to change from focusing on the medium (the Newspaper Article, the TV Newscast…) to focusing on the individual piece of reporting. I believe that in the very near future only journalists that deliver high quality, balanced reporting placed on freely accessible platforms will continue to be heard. As we have learned from other shifts of this nature people will find a way to make a living as a journalist.

I for my part am more than happy that I have the choice. I as a news-consumer have the choice to filter the information on my own. I have the power to be my own Reporter, Editor and Publisher – my long term success will purely depend on the quality of my “journalism” and the Network and trust I built with the help of Social Media

What do you think?

  • Do you see a future in traditional News Media?

  • Are we there yet? Do you filter your own News?

The Impact of Social Media on Democracy

Democracy and Social Media are very important to me. And they actually have a lot of connections. Two recent thoughts of others have motivated me to discuss this on my blog:

In my interview with Cathryn Wellner she made an interesting point on Social Media and Democracy


A quote by Brian Solis in his Book “Engage”

Social Media is the democratization of information, transforming people from content readers into publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism, one-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers

Events like the “Arab Spring” have shown the impact Social Media Platforms like Twitter and Facebook can have on developments in our societies. But the so called “Social Media Revolution” has an impact on our lives close to home as well. Suddenly unknown candidates in elections have a voice. Owning or controlling a broadcasting network doesn’t automatically mean you control the message that citizens receive.

I will write a separate blog post on the impact Social Media has on the News Media but right now I am very impressed to see the impact of Social Media even in our current local election.

In October I was at an event where CBC Vancouver filmed a session of Q with Jian Gomeshi @jiangomeshi. Jian had invited a great Media Panel to discuss the impact of Social Media Watch the whole show here.

As you can see I was sitting in the audience listening to this very interesting discussion. I can only share a few minutes but I was very fascinated bu the panelist’s insight.

Panelists were:

I invite you to watch my 5 minute Clip and would love to hear your opinions.

What do you think? Do Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media platforms shape the way we treat information?

Do you think Social Media is changing the way our democracies work?

When to use a #hashtag

photo credit: quinn.anya via photopin cc

Like in every election a lot of candidates of in the BC civic elections are rushing to Twitter to get the word out. It is hard to reach a larger group of people in any Network if you haven’t taken the time to build a following. A great way to catch up to lost time is to use what is called a “#Hashtag” marked by the symbol “#”  if you click on terms like #KelownaVotes you can see all recent tweets about this topic.

#Hashtags are one of the most powerful features on Twitter and the system has been copied by YouTube and other services. Often we make fun of them #thenwejusttypeawholestringofwords but tags like #Libya, #Kelowna, #Earthquake or #Tsunami can play an important role for twitter users to sort the ever-growing stream.

One beautiful fact about #Hashtags is that nobody owns them I can use #Gingerbread to promote the Gingerbread House Building Competition and other people are talking about Android phone operating systems. Sometimes  we can agree on a better #Hashtag like this story (Hashtag Hassles) about #VernonBC by my Friend Teresa but sometimes we have to stick with the one we agreed on like #KelownaVotes

Going back to our dear candidates that are trying to make up for lost relationship building time. If you flood a #Hashtag search with too much information users will avoid it. If you just tag every tweet with the #Hashtag you not only show that you are missing the point but you also lose the reach that you came to Twitter to gain.

Social Media is on the way to become our main way to communicate. Some progressive brands are beginning to recognize the importance of building relationships with their customers. We will see politicians recognizing this as well and use democratic tools like Twitter and Facebook to engage their constituents and voters in conversation. Two or three of our local Councillors have already seen the benefits of this way of building trust over time. Others will leave after the election is over. If this blog post and the below video can help others to understand a little #twetiquette this little blog post has reached it’s goal 🙂