Thanks for a Wonderful Event

The PodCamp Toronto Organizing team wants to thank everyone who made PodCamp Toronto 2009 a success – all of the volunteers, speakers, participants and sponsors. We appreciate you coming out and taking part and encourage you to add your feedback to the wiki.

Last weekend more than 500 people gathered at Ryerson University from a wide variety of professions and interests to share and explore how the various forms of new media can be an effective means of communication for anybody. Thanks to the generous contributions of our sponsors, we were able to offer two days of sessions as well as a very successful evening social event which was hosted by Molson. In an effort to reduce waste, the first 400 registrants received an official PodCamp Toronto water bottle branded with the logos of our Gold sponsors. If you were unable to attend PodCamp Toronto or missed some sessions, all the sessions were videotaped and streamed live over the Internet. Archived videos from the sessions will be available on the PodCamp Toronto wiki in the next few days. Special thanks to Brad, Many and their crew at Rogers Communication Centre of Ryerson University who once again provided first rate facilities and hospitality.

Thanks again to everyone who helped to make PodCamp Toronto 2009 a success. We hope to see you next year.

Your Podcamp Toronto 2009 Organizing Team,

Connie Crosby

Dave Fleet

Eden Spodek

Jay Moonah

Rob Lee

Sean McGaughey

Tommy Vallier


Molson’s Ferg Devins Talks PodCamp

A few days ago we gave you a quick teaser of a Saturday night PodCamp Toronto event sponsored by Molson. Today I caught up with Ferg Devins, Molson’s VP of government and public affairs, to chat about PodCamp, the event and why social media is important to Molson.

What follows is a brief summary of our conversation.

Why did Molson decide sponsor PodCamp?

Sponsoring PodCamp was a pretty easy decision for Molson. It’s a social occasion based around community and conversation and, in Ferg’s words, “What is more social than beer ? Occasions for conversation and engagement equals a place for Molson to be.”

PodCamp is also an opportunity for the Molson folks to get involved in the social media community and to learn. Devins, who plans to be at PodCamp this weekend, reeled-off a long list of things they’re looking to learn about, from how to use their blog and Facebook presence more effectively to tidbits on text messaging, to digital marketing in general.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Ferg highlighted three sessions he’s particularly looking forward to:

  • Elena Yunusov and Jane Zhang’s presentation on social media for non-profits (Saturday at 2pm)
  • Mike Kujawski‘s Government 2.0 discussion (Saturday at 2:45pm)
  • Various sessions to help get more up-to-speed on podcasting (uh… throughout the weekend!)

How is Molson currently using social media?

Molson has a fairly broad social media presence. It’s multi-authored blog, Molson in the Community, is well established now and they have numerous people on Twitter (@molsonferg, @toniahammer, @molsonbryan). 

Molson has a broad presence on Facebook – Canadian, Coors Light and a whole host of other brands have Facebook pages although, as Ferg acknowledges, the pages have largely been used for pushing marketing messages in the past. Moving forward, he hopes to use them for more conversational purposes.

Thanks to years of contests, Molson also has a customer database. Ferg indicated that learning to use this effectively is another objective of his right now.

What’s happening on Saturday night?

Ah, the big event.

As mentioned earlier, Molson is sponsoring a social event for PodCamp Toronto attendees on Saturday night. While final details will be available on the day at PodCamp, here’s roughly how it will work:

  • The event will be held at “The Ram” at Ryerson, Ryerson Students’ Pub at 63 Gould Street, from 7:30pm onwards
  • The event will be an informal mix-and-mingle event, with no formal presentations
  • Eight different Molson brands will be represented, and Ian Douglas, a Molson brewer, will be in attendance to answer questions
  • Attendees will receive limited beer samples, after which there will be a cash bar
  • Molson is also providing snacks and door prizes

Details of this event and other meetups throughout the weekend are on the PodCamp Toronto wiki.

Thanks to Ferg for taking the time to talk today (and good luck getting back to Toronto from snowy Halifax!).

Tag: The Podcamp Toronto Meme

On the eve of Podcamp Toronto 2009, I thought I would revisit the  The Official Podcamp Toronto Meme I seeded 2 years ago for Podcamp Toronto 2007.  If you are coming to Podcamp Toronto, or wish you could be with us this weekend, consider yourself tagged.

A meme is  one of those chain lettery questionnaire things that bloggers pass around on slow Colbert days. You’ve all been tagged. On your blog, podcast, these comments or the google group answer these questions:

  1. What are your personal goals for Podcamp?
  2. What do you want to learn?
  3. What are you offering to share/teach others at Podcamp?
  4. A little homework now: Which podcamp registrants would you like to meet? Why?
  5. Who is your “dream interview” for your podcast? Why?
  6. What is your, “Can’t miss it” session at podcamp?
  7. Monetize or Communitize?
  8. Who would win in a  cage match:  Chris Brogan, Bob Goyetche, My Marilyn, or Scarborough Dude?
  9. In time honored meme tradition– guilt a few more people into carrying on this meme.

Remember to tag your posts #pcto09 or podcamptoronto
And my answers:

1. What are your personal goals for Podcamp? When I came to Podcamp Toronto 2007, I was very much the new guy in the community.  As a podcamp blogger people knew who I was, but I had never met any of them face to face.  When I entered the building there was Chris Brogan at the foot of the stairs offering Free Hugs.  I felt instantly welcome and like I belonged.  My goal for Podcamp is that I want to be that guy.  I want to help introduce people to each other and to the podcamp community.

2. What do you want to learn? As the years have gone by (all 3 of them) I have become most interest in how podcasting and social media can foster relationships, ignite friendships and help to facilitate and grow communities.  I’m interested in hearing how other businesses, churches, community groups, governmental agencies, bands, artists and other are using new media to build relationships and community.

3. What are you offering to share/teach others at Podcamp? I’m on 2 panels right now:  The First Church of Facebook, a panel discussing how churches and people of faith are using new media; and an Audacity 101 tutorial with Bob Goyetche.  I also love to have wide ranging conversations about making music, tech, podcasting, community building, faith, teaching, linux …   When I went to Podcamp Boston I spent almost all my time in the halls talking with people.  (Podcamp secret number 1– The best action happens in the hall conversations).   The halls at RCC are HUGE.   Even if we have a gazillion people at podcamp, there will be plenty of room for everyone to meet in small groups for informal discussions.

4. A little homework now: Which podcamp registrants would you like to meet? Why?  I’ve been to several events where Brian Hogg and Peter O’ Connell were present but I’ve never had a chance to talk to them in person.  I’d also like to meet with Angelo Mandalo from Blubrry.  I would like to thank as many of our sponsors as I can in person.  Most of all, I would like to meet you. Please introduce yourself to me at podcamp.  I’ll be the guy in the duct tape hat.

5. Who is your “dream interview” for your podcast? Why?  In over two years of interview people for the Podcamp Toronto Podcast, The Librivox Community Podcast, and my own podcasts, For the Sake of the Song and The Catholic New Media Roundup, I have been very fortunate at being able to interview almost anybody I asked.  (Podcamp secret number 2:  It never hurts to ask a question.  You’ll find lots of people here quite willing to help you find answers).
6. What is your, “Can’t miss it” session at podcamp?  Charting the History of Podcasting in Canada – with Tracy Fuller
7. Monetize or Communitize?  Definitely communitize.

8. Who would win in a cage match: Chris Brogan, Bob Goyetche, My Marilyn, or Scarborough Dude?  I have no idea, but I would pay admission to see it.

9. In time honored meme tradition– guilt a few more people into carrying on this meme.  Anyone coming to podcamp, jump in.

Now remember the rules kids.  If I don’t get any responses, I’m posting pictures of kittens.


I’ll do it this time.

I mean it.

The Answers are Rolling in:

Karim Kanji

Peter O’Connell: the podcamp toronto meme

Podcamp Toronto Greatest Hits Post #1

Just prior to Podcamp Toronto 2007, Connie Crosby posted these great tips for preparing for Podcamp and they are just as valid today as they were two weeks ago.  The only thing I can add to this post is that with the increased numbers in attendance this year, be prepared to be flexible, spontaneous and to meet lots of great new people.

Oh, and look for me, Sean McGaughey in the duct tape hat.  🙂

Thinking Beyond the Podcast – Those Final Details

As we close in on the big weekend, a few things you will want to consider:

  • business cards! Are you going to tear up bits of paper (or, yes, cardboard) to give people your podcast name, URL, and email address? Or will you get your act together this time and actually make up real business cards? Although I am “just a blogger” I realized my work-related business cards are just not cutting it any more! So, I poked around and found some really cool cards that–heh–actually cost me more than all my web hobbies combined for a full year, perhaps with the exception of my high speed connection. My husband thought I was off my rocker, but they are way cool. I’m not telling you what they are until they are actually here. Crossing my fingers they get here in time for podcamp!
  • promo items. Besides a business card, is there something you are planning to do or hand out to make me remember you and later check out your podcast? Stickers are popular and relatively inexpensive. Any other ideas or pointers out there?
  • making an entrance/standing out in a crowd. Okay, so if everyone has a microphone out and is conducting interviews, what is going to make YOU stand out from the crowd? Cool equipment? Funky clothes? Big hair? Trophy wife on your arm?

So, it’s time to start thinking beyond the podcast and getting those other details in order. If you are going to do this, now’s the time!!


Big Hair Lady
Originally uploaded by TACD.

Please help make Podcamp Toronto a great event for everyone!

On behalf the organizing team, we’re really excited about this weekend!  Now, there have been some concerns expressed by folks who are planning to attend about the number of registrants.  Even allowing for the usual drop-off we’d expect for a free event like this, it would appear we have more potential attendees than capacity in our session rooms.  We have
tried to book some additional space, but unfortunately Ryerson and other surrounding facilities are already full-up.

As the facilities and scheduling organizer of Podcamp Toronto, I want to apologize in advance for any inconvenience you might suffer over the weekend.  Basically, it’s looking like things will be VERY crowded, and I sincerely hope you and your fellow attendees are not too put out.

Since Podcamp is an “unconference” driven by the community, I’d like to ask for your help to make the event a success:

  • NOT ATTENDING? If you are no longer planning to attend Podcamp, I’d ask that you remove your name from the list as this helps us tremendously in planning.  As a reminder, the list is located online at http://podcamptoronto.pbwiki.com/PodcampTorontoRegistrants — if you have any trouble removing your name, please let me know and I’ll be happy to assist.
  • INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS – If you find a room you had hoped to be in is full, consider gathering some like-minded folks for an informal discussion in the halls or one of the many cafes or restaurants nearby Ryerson.  Some of the best learning experiences at Podcamp are these kinds of moments.
  • VIDEO ARCHIVE – Although attending a session live is of course the ideal situation, you should know that our hosts at the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson are once again kindly archiving video online from the sessions, so you can always catch a talk or panel after Podcamp is over if you miss it live.
  • WIRELESS INTERNET – We will have free WiFi access, but local bandwidth is limited.  Please be respectful of your fellow attendees — don’t live stream video or upload/download big files.  Use the WiFi for text-based communication (email, blogs, Twitter) so that everyone can expect a reasonable connection speed.
  • NO FREE LUNCH – Please note that due to the number of registrants, we will not be providing lunches this year.  Please check out http://podcamptoronto.pbwiki.com/PodcampToronto2009Map for a map of local eateries.

The whole organizing team is very proud to be putting on our third annual Podcamp here in Toronto, and we hope you will make the most of your Podcamp experience.  Remember, your learning experience at an unconference is driven by YOU!

Enjoy the weekend, and I look forward to seeing you.

My ears are burning. People are Talking about Podcamp Toronto

With only 4 days to go until Podcamp Toronto 2009, chatter about Podcamp is all over the interwebs.  I have added  an RSS stream for comments about Podcamp Toronto on Twitter and in the blogosphere on the right hand sidebar of the blog here at https://podcamptoronto.wordpress.com so you can easily see what people are saying about Podcamp Toronto in real time.  Remember if you are joining in the online conversation to tag your posts, tweets and pictures with #pcto09 or #podcamptoronto.

Be sure to also check out our official social media press release brought to you courtesy of our sponsors at the CNW Group.

Saturday Night – A Teaser


If you’ve ever been to a PodCamp before, you already know that much of the value of attending comes outside the formal schedule – in the halls, in the impromptu sessions and in the socializing afterwards.

This year, PodCamp Toronto sponsor Molson is organizing a social event on Saturday night, after the day’s “formal” schedule is done, to make that experience even better. 

More details later this week but for now, pencil it in to your calendars!

There no such thing as a free lunch at Podcamp Toronto

As events like Podcamp Toronto grow bigger and bigger (we’re closing in on 800 registrants, which will probably translate into 400-500 attendees) there is a temptation to try to do everything that you’ve done in previous years, but just more of it.  But that doesn’t approach doesn’t always serve well.

Take meals.  In previous years at Podcamp Toronto, lunches have been provided through the generosity of the sponsors.  Because it’s a free event, attendance is always hard to gage.  Last year, there were a lot of leftover sandwiches.  Many of them managed to make their way to a Toronto men’s shelter, but sadly a lot had to be thrown away.  This year, with the possibility of attendance being double or more, the organizers made the call to forgo the free lunch.  Undoubtedly that will upset some people and it’s a decision we did not come to lightly, but in weighting the hassle and potential for waste, we decided it was the right thing to do.

Dinner is another issue.  On Saturday evening last year there were no official Podcamp events, so attempts were made to move some pretty big groups of attendees from restaurant to restaurant while trying to find one that could accommodate a very large party on short notice.  Rapid changes to the wiki and furious tweeting lead to confusion and some people feeling left out of the loop on dinner plans.

This year, we are lucky to have an official Saturday evening party being put on by our friends at Molson.  However this starts at 7:30 pm, which doesn’t preclude folks from getting dinner beforehand.

What I’d recommend is this: find 6-8 people (max) to form a group, and go find some place for dinner.  The truth is, when you’re sitting down for a meal, you can only reasonably engage with around this number of people anyway.  Parties where you can move and mingle are a different story, and we’ll have one of those later.  I’m talking about sitting down for a meal — it doesn’t scale to big numbers.  Don’t force it.  Enjoy a deeper conversation with a smaller number of people, and take some time to reflect on what you’ve heard and talked about at Podcamp that day.  That’s what I plan to do.