2010 Social Media Year-in-Review

I would like to thank this week’s guest blogger, Janis La Couvée, for once again sharing her insights with us.  If you are at all familiar with the social media scene in Victoria, you will definitely have heard of Janis. 

Janis is a financial services professional with a long history of community involvement, particularly in the areas of capacity building, public relations and the arts.  Long before social media was in vogue, Janis was connecting people and building community. Social media has just made it easier to do!

She has graciously offered to share her Social Media Year-in-Review blog posts, which highlight the many ways social media has helped us to build community, connections and initiatives across Victoria this past year. 

Have a read and share your comments. As always, we love to hear what you have been doing as well!


Excerpt from: Social Media Year in Review  – December 2010 Victoria BC   By @lacouvee
Traditionally December would be a month of planning holiday celebrations! Not for the Victoria social media community. Janine Theobald  came to Social Media Camp and Club, and was inspired to create the #twamper drive   and tweetup  held December 17th at Cabin 12 . Two families were assisted through these efforts.

Earlier in the month Alan Smith organized a Victoria event for Help Portrait, providing free portraits for Victoria families and individuals who might be otherwise unable to have a professional portrait. More than 30 photographers and volunteers provided 148 sessions. Help Portrait 2011 is December 3rd. Become part of the Help Portrait Victoria community here:

On the same day, Herb Lainchbury  rallied over 30 geeks for International Open Data Hachathon Day locally. There are now plans to hold montly hackathons with the first scheduled for January 22nd. Contact Herb for more details. Anyone (not just geeks) interested in open data can attend.

Victoria’s inaugural Figgy Pudding Carolling Competition was also December 4th. It all started with a tweet, and soon @JanineAnnT @VIHippieChick @jagamer and @lacouvee were forming a group “The Tweets”.    It was so much fun, there are now plans for a much larger “Twitter choir” next year.

TEDxVictoria hosted simulcasts at the University of Victoria for the first TED Women  Congratulations to organizer Sherry Moir for the very first TED event in Victoria.

TEDxJuandeFuca has plans for another TEDx event in April 2011.

The year ended in a flurry of tweetups #victoriatweetup (breakfast, WestShore, High Noon Hump Day, #U30 ladies, ladies, gents) and one final Social Media Club “Holiday Open Mic”.  See Mike Vardy’s “The Twelve Days of Christmas: Social Media Remix”.
Photo: Eventualism.com

Words can never convey my huge debt of gratitude to everyone involved in making this a simply amazing year. 2010 will be remembered as the year social media came into its own in Victoria. Each and every one of you played a HUGE part.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten people and events that need to be remembered – it’s not intentional. Please let me know.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a fabulous 2011!

Read More Social Media Year in Review posts here (http://janislacouvee.com). 


Janis also reminds us that we have much to look forward to in 2011 – here is just a sampling:

IdeaWave February 26th & 27th; Twestival Victoria March 24th; TEDxJuandeFuca in April;  Social Media Camp (#SMCV11) June 3rd and 4th, (*Note that Volunteer Victoria (@volvicbc on Twitter) is the chosen charity this year with proceeds going to support our valuable programs and services. Buy your ticket by January 31st for 50% off (only $199 for two days!); as well as regular Social Media Club Victoria meetings (3rd Monday of the month at the Victoria Event Centre) and many #victoriatweetup events.

Read Janis’s previous post Using Social Media to Promote Events regarding last year’s Twestival.  Victoria Twestival (2011) takes place on Thursday, March 24th. Details at http://victoria.twestival.com or @yyjtwestival on Twitter and Facebook.

Using Social Media to Promote Events

Sincere thanks to our guest blogger Janis La Couvée for sharing her thoughts on using social media to promote events. Janis is passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive social change. You can follow her on Twitter at @lacouvee.

 Twestival Victoria

In April 2009, like many other individuals in the community, I was a social media neophyte; but when an acquaintance at a business breakfast mentioned that people using Twitter in Victoria were actually meeting face to face, I had an “aha” moment.

For over 20 years I have been actively involved in the community, organizing events, committees and people to accomplish anything from a beach clean-up, back to school welcome dinner, neighbourhood fun day or silent auction. We’ve used phone trees, newsletters, email, websites, media releases and web calendar postings to generate interest in these activities.

With the advent of social media, it made sense to connect in this new way.

It was a very steep learning curve, but also a time of incredible digital community building – everything was new, and save a few very early adopters, most of us were learning together as we went.

In the past 18 months (and the past year since the first Twestival Victoria) the Twitter community has grown exponentially. In some ways, it has made it easier for new people just starting out, since norms have been established (such as using the #yyj hashtag to indicate Victoria-based events for instance).  However, with the increased numbers of individuals using Twitter, comes increased communication and competition for attention. It is harder to stand out now. 

Twitter seems simple. 140 characters to convey a message. But, like any communication strategy, the message needs to be well thought out, well executed, and persistent in its nature. There is little room for missteps and mistakes are visible to all.

Given that social media, and particularly Twitter, is social, you must consider if your organization or group has the time needed to interact with people to build credibility within the community.  The first Twestival was organized in 6 weeks because we already knew of one another before forming an organizing committee.

If you do not yet have a Twitter account, start there first.  Listen, pay attention to the nature of conversations. Contribute when appropriate. Thank people for talking to you, for forwarding your messages, for following you. Be grateful! Ask questions, seek clarification. Be humble. You may be a key player in the voluntary sector in Victoria; this is a new digital world. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; find key influencers in the Twitter community and engage them. People are incredibly generous; if they believe in your cause, they will help to promote you – sometimes even without asking.

Make sure that your tweets (Twitter messages) link back and repeat the information on  your website, blog, Facebook page or external calendar links. There is incredible SEO (search engine optimization) to be gained from using Twitter.

Connect with the media outlets currently using Twitter. It is absolutely amazing how easy it can be to have personal conversations (on Twitter) that you would never be able to have by using the more traditional methods of email, phone calls and press releases. Of course you must not ignore these more traditional avenues either.

The first Twestival in September 2009 took 6 weeks to organize, and raised $5,000 for Power to Be Adventure Therapy Society in Victoria. We were the #2 Canadian city. The second Twestival in March 2010 demanded much less organizational time and raised over $8,000 for Concern Worldwide. We were the #16 city worldwide in total raised, and the #8 city in dollars raised per capita! Our third Twestival will take place in the first quarter of 2011.

Victoria has a rich tradition of connections and networks. I encourage you to embrace technology and bridge both your current offline and potential online networks. There are people just waiting to connect with you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions about digital community building. Connect with me on Twitter at @lacouvee.

Janis La Couvée, together with a team of 10 very committed individuals, is the lead organizer of Twestival Victoria. The next Twestival takes place Q1 2011. Details at http://victoria.twestival.com or @yyjtwestival on Twitter and Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/pages/YYJ-Twestival

Twitter Seminar

Having done extensive research on Social Media over the past five months or so, I was somewhat reluctant to attend Margaret Hoegg’s beginner level presentation on Twitter. Contributing significantly to this reluctance was the fact that, of all the social media I had researched, Twitter seemed the least desirable to me. Margaret managed to change my mind, however, as she pointed out the very tangible benefits of Twitter.  I have since started using Twitter extensively to promote my personal blog. So, I have converted to Twitter. Let me tell you why.

The benefits of non-profit organizations’ (NPOs) use of Twitter are significant for many reasons. As Margaret pointed out, Twitter offers free promotion for NPOs. In this economy, access to free promotion of any sort is a real benefit, especially to NPOs, many of whom are facing extraordinarily large cut-backs in funding. Twitter also allows NPOs to easily connect with each other, as well as with potential volunteers, supporters and even funders: all for no cost at all.

Volunteer Victoria has experienced the positive effects of this free exposure since adopting a Twitter campaign this fall. Recently, one of our “tweets” received over 785 clicks, an awesome testament to the networking capabilities of this form of social media. Keep in mind that we have just started this campaign (though we already have 352 followers): the numbers will undoubtedly continue to grow as we carry on encouraging dialogue and feedback: the possibilities are endless.

The response to Margaret’s Introduction to Twitter presentation was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone in attendance was keen to learn more about the intricate details of the Twitterverse. Thankfully, Margaret has agreed to do a more advanced level presentation in the future, so be sure to keep your eyes open for it. We sincerely thank  Margaret for sharing her expertise with us!

Welcome Youth Council Volunteers!

 Youth Council

Volunteer Victoria is pleased to welcome our new youth council volunteers to our social media team! The group first met in October to discuss how we could go about implementing social media as a part of our volunteer management and recruitment strategy. I was very impressed by the group’s insight and inventiveness, as well as their enthusiasm! This team had so many ideas to share, including offering input on everything from our current (and future) branding, to how we might more effectively manage our Facebook page. We are very lucky to have this group of talented volunteers helping us out with the social media project.


Comprised of seven members, the youth council will play an important role in the future of Volunteer Victoria’s social media project. As John and I’s contract ends in January, we will be passing the torch to the council. Some of the members will be acting as guest bloggers from time to time, reporting on exciting volunteer opportunities in the community, while other members will maintain the Facebook page and occasionally tweet about upcoming events. We look forward to continuing to build our social media presence with their help.

Book an appointment with Personnel Calendar using SetMore