Toronto social media events – fall edition

A few weeks ago, Jay Baer wrote a post recommending some of the social media conferences he’s speaking at during the fall – and it’s a great list (including the PRSA conference Inside PR is attending).

Mark Skeffington, a former social media student of mine, asked if there was a similar list for Canada.

There isn’t to my knowlege, so I thought I’d put together a subjective overview of the social media conferences and events I’m looking forward to in Toronto over the next several months.

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A brand new PR energi…

Are you ready? I’ve got some really exciting Palette news.

On July 1 Palette PR, the agency I co-founded with Louise Armstrong, is merging with Communications MECA to form a brand new agency – energi PR – we’re calling it Canada’s PR and digital/social media powerhouse.

And we are jumping up and down thrilled!

Today we told staff and clients. We’re posting a news release on our respective sites and on our new site – which really is ‘under construction’ till early July.  And tomorrow morning, we’re live on the wire.

So what does this mean?  All Palette and MECA staff is coming to the new company and everyone will have more opportunities to work on new projects and take on fresh challenges.  We’ll be an independent, national and bilingual agency with offices in Toronto and Montreal.  Palette will be move into MECA’s Toronto office. And I’m really looking forward to getting to know and working with all my new colleagues.

We’re specializing in PR, social media/digital and corporate communications and building traditional and new PR/social media into our agency right from the start so we’ll be able to seamlessly integrate the two.  I’m going to be the Toronto managing partner and will lead the firm’s digital practice.

I’ve known my other two managing partners, Esther Buchsbaum and Carol Levine, a long time through Counselors Academy, CCPRF and from working together on projects.  I have long admired Communications MECA, the firm they created, their approach and industry leadership. They’re smart, talented and have a lot of business savvy and most important, the fit is right!

I have one other piece of news and that is Louise is stepping away from the business to spend more time with her kids and on her writing. This is something Louise has been thinking about for a long time. We built Palette together and I want to wish her all the best. I’m going to miss working with her! And, if she wants, there will always be a place for Louise at energi.

To everyone who helped and supported Palette over the years, including staff, all our wonderful clients, our industry partners and friends I want to thank you! I hope you’ll all come along for our energi-filled ride (OK, I’ll try to keep the puns to a minimum).  We’ve got lots of amazing plans!

Watch for more news leading up to July 1 and beyond.

I’d love to hear from you, but may be a bit difficult to reach on Wed and Thu – I’m teaching a two-day social media for business course at McMaster from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

And please bear with me as I update all my social network profiles. That may take a little time…

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.

When a retweet misleads

If you’re a Torontonian and on Twitter, you would know that Mayor David Miller is an active participant; posting comments, photos of events and his general take on life in the city. I heard him speak about his interest in social media at Mesh conference and was impressed by his passion and candour.

You may also know that the Tamil community in Toronto has been staging protests lately to draw attention to the situation in their home country. This weekend a march shut down the Don Valley Parkway.

What do these two situations have in common?

Well, on Sunday it appeared as though the Mayor wrote a politically sensitive tweet that was later retweeted.

In reality the Mayor never posted the tweet-in-question. What happened, according to TV Ontario’s The Agenda blog, was that an individual sent an ‘@’ message to the Mayor. Another person retweeted it, leaving out the original sender’s name but leaving in the impression that the Mayor had, in fact, commented. The full story is unfortunate on a number of ethical levels.

For PR people, this is yet another example of a situation we need to be aware of and monitor. And as communicators we need to make sure we don’t rely on the results of a single search, but dig deeply enough to piece together a full story before we offer clients our counsel.

Thanks to my friend Keith McDonald for sharing the TVO blog post with me.

New Toronto in Old City Hall

I first met Bobby Rotenberg around the time he launched T.O. magazine, an upstart, edgy city publication I had the pleasure of writing for, a long time ago. Since then, I’ve bumped into him from time to time and reconnected when we found out our kids go to the same school.

He mentioned that he’d written a novel (his first), slated to come out in early March 2009 and offered to send me a copy.

So when Old City Hall arrived, I read it right away. The book is a stylish, witty page-turner. Crime fiction that centre’s on Canada’s best known, craggy talk radio host. It starts when Kevin (I want to say Peter) Brace confesses to murdering his wife in their luxury condo, and then says nothing more. With its sharp twists and turns, you’re taken on an investigative journey that surprises and entertains. The characters play against stereotype – Jewish homicide officer, lawyer turned cop, new Canadian crown attorney – and offer a new perspective on the formerly bland and conservative safe haven Toronto used to be.

The prose is stylish, the dialogue fresh and the cast are a quirky and believable mix of the people you’d see living and working in Toronto today; a reflection of our coming-into-its-own metropolis.

Bobby has combined his love of T.O. (i.e. the magazine) with his work as a criminal lawyer to offer both a superb story, and a wry commentary on the city and its foibles; its inner workings; what makes it tick.

And that is an extra gift.

Look for Old City Hall in March at your local bookseller or online here.