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!).


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!

An Interview With Danny Brown of the 12for12k Challenge

Danny Brown is the founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a not-for-profit fundraising effort aiming to raise $12,000 for 12 different charities by the end of 2009. I had the chance to ask Danny a few questions about 12for12k, PodCamp Toronto and his approach to social media.

Can you tell me a little about yourself? Name, rank, number… 

My name’s Danny Brown, and I’m the owner of Press Release PR, a boutique agency bringing together traditional PR and social media. I’m also the founder of the 12for12k Challenge, a unique fund-raising initiative using social media for good. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland and now living in the *sunny* climes of Toronto, Canada.   

You recently launched the 12for12k Challenge. Tell me about it.

The 12for12k Challenge is a social media-led non-profit initiative for 2009. The idea is simple – 12 months, 12 different charities, 1200 people, $12,000 per charity. All it takes is to donate $10 to the chosen charity – not a lot, but an amount that can mean the difference between life and death to millions worldwide, at home and abroad. 

What causes are you supporting through the challenge?

The first charity chosen is War Child Canada, which helps kids in war-torn communities. If you have young children of your own, picture them with a rifle in their hand; picture them clearing minefields with their bare hands; then picture them without limbs because of this. No child should be made a soldier – which is why we support War Child. While I can’t mention others yet due to due diligence reports, I can say that we’ll be supporting animal charities, inner-city slum restoration, cancer research and more – all with both a local and international reach.

How have you gotten the word out about the challenge?

We deliberately set out to use social media for our fund-raising, purely from it having a wider reach and myself and the partners on 12for12k are all active users in the social media scene. We’re using Twitter, Facebook, blogs and video sharing sites to get the message out. We have some of the social media “giants” blogging and making videos. We’re also looking at corporate sponsors and some offline initiatives to help spread the word as far as possible.  

What results have you seen so far?

I’ll be honest, a little mixed so far. We’ve had great interest from the media – CityNews Toronto, local newspapers and web news shows have all got behind us. Donations have been slow off the mark, with us still to break the $1,000 barrier as I write (update: that barrier has now been broken). With just over 2 weeks until the end of January, we’re behind. However, we’ve finally received a PayPal option from War Child which is helping, we’re getting some fresh impetus from some of the social media leaders, we have a ChipIn widget now… People are back to work and paychecks are coming in now, so we’re optimistic the post-holiday lull is over. 

It feels like you personally have exploded onto the social media scene in the last few months. How long have you been into the social media scene?

Thank you. I guess it depends on what we class as social media…  I’ve always been a proponent of online tools and mediums, from old IM chatrooms to forums and more. So, as far as that goes, probably just under 10 years. If we’re talking about today’s definitions (Twitter, Friendfeed, delicious, etc) then I guess closer to 2-3 years. Though it’s only really 2007 that I started blogging seriously from a business standpoint (personal blogging was always “take it or leave it”).

Which tools have you found the most useful since you got into this scene?

I know it probably seems everyone is saying it, but definitely Twitter has to be at the top. The amount of smart and influential connections I’ve made (like with your good self) never fails to amaze me. Anyone not on Twitter yet is seriously missing out. Google Alerts and for monitoring client news. BackType for seeing what’s being said in the blogosphere. Technorati (to a degree), LinkedIn and Flickr (surprisingly effective for presentations) along with SlideShare.

How many PodCamps have you been to?

Am I allowed to say I’m a PodCamp virgin, or will I be castigated?   This one in Toronto will be my first – timescales and locations have worked against me in the past. But I’m really looking forward to breaking my duck and connecting with people that I learn from on a daily basis.

Who’s sessions are you most looking forward to at PodCamp Toronto 2009?

  • Video MicroBlogging from Adele McAlear (looking to introduce video blogging to my own one this year)
  • The Social Media Funnel with Keith Burtis – curious to see Best Buy’s take on social media 
  • State of the Union Discussion with Collin Douma
  • Social Media Monitoring and Analysis by some guy called Dave Fleet… 
  • Government 2.0 with Mike Kujawski

These are some of the ones I don’t want to miss, although there looks to be some great speakers/subjects over the two days.

What are you hoping to get out of PodCamp Toronto this year?

Probably a better understanding of how different industries are using social media. I obviously approach it from a PR/client slant, but I’m interested how it’s being applied by less obvious industries. Also, using existing tools and applications more effectively. Last, but by no means least, making great new connections and friends to add to the superb collection I’m already grateful for having.

CNW Group Sponsors PodCamp Toronto 2008

We’re thrilled to announce that CNW Group has signed-up as a sponsor for PodCamp Toronto 2008.

CNW GroupCNW Group is the nation’s number one resource for time-critical news and information from more than 10,000 sources coast to coast and around the world.

CNW Group has agreed to distribute the news releases for PodCamp Toronto. Check out the PodCamp Toronto news releases.

The company joins a growing list of sponsors for PodCamp Toronto. Almost 20 companies have signed up to support this year’s event.

Cyrus Mavalwala Looks Ahead to PodCamp Toronto 2008

Cyrus MavalwalaCyrus Mavalwala is a partner at Advantis Communications Inc, a Toronto-area public relations agency. He’s also a regular at Toronto’s social media gatherings and an all-round nice guy.

Cyrus was the 87th person to register for PodCamp Toronto 2008.

I asked Cyrus about his expectations for this year’s PodCamp Toronto and what he hopes to get out of it.

Is this your first PodCamp? If not, what other events have you been to?

Cyrus: I’m excited about this year because I attended last year’s Toronto PodCamp. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard last year to make it a success!

I also try to make it out to the case camps, bar camps, tech talks etc.

Why did you decide to register?

Cyrus: I heard Dave Fleet was going and I wanted to get his autograph… (df: smartass…!)

It’s the place to meet friendly people who are truly engaged and passionate about podcasting and about the social media world in general. Since I’m based in Toronto, I really don’t have any excuse not to go!

What do you hope to get out of the weekend?

Cyrus: Sometimes we require additional podcasting support so I’m hoping to meet some great podcasters and audio editors who we may be able to work with in the future. I’d also like to keep abreast of the latest techniques and technologies.

What do you hope to get out of the weekend?

Cyrus: This year I hope to have the time to indulge in the evening sessions a bit more to further the conversation.

Which session are you most looking forward to?

Cyrus: Anything to do with marketing/PR will be at the top of my list so Marketing & New Media: A Discussion with Jay sounds like a good one as well as James’

There are many others I’d like to attend so I’m glad my business partner, Ernesta Rossi, is attending.

Is there a session that’s not on the list that you’d like to see? What is it?

Cyrus: Measuring the success of your podcast would be a worthy subject — and one that would generate some lively debate I’d think.

Name one thing you’d recommend visitors to Toronto do while they’re in town for PodCamp.

Cyrus: If you’re from out of town, tack on a few extra days and explore our great city. We’ve got some of the best dining in Canada — regardless of which flavour is your favourite.

Will Pate Talks About PodCamp Toronto 2008

Will PateWill Pate has been a technology entrepreneur and community builder since co-founding his first business, Infinity BBS, in elementary school. Since then he has co-founded Raincity Studios, a Vancouver-based new media design, development and web marketing firm and has worked at Flock and on a project called Mazava. He is currently the Community Evangelist at ConceptShare and co-host of tech news show CommandN.

Perhaps most importantly though, Will was the tenth person to register for PodCamp Toronto 2008!

I asked Will about his expectations for PodCamp Toronto, what he hopes to get out of it and who he’s looking forward to seeing at the event next month.

Is this your first PodCamp? If not, what other events have you been to?

Pate: Although I’m a veteran of BarCamps, this is my first PodCamp. I hope there is no terrible initiation

Why did you decide to register?

Pate: I heard good things about PodCamp last year, but unfortunately I couldn’t make it. I’ve been co-hosting commandN for about a year now, and I’m bummed to say I haven’t met enough local folks making podcasts.

What do you hope to get out of the weekend?

Pate: Friends, some co-conspirators for future projects and folks I can recommend to people looking for their skills.

Which session are you most looking forward to?

Pate: An Example of a Session Title – Jay Moonah” – Haha!

Seriously though, I’ve been following the idea of the “social media release” so I’ll be looking forward to hearing Collin Douma flesh out the idea.

Is there a session that’s not on the list that you’d like to see? What it?

Pate: Perhaps I should rework my “Guerilla marketing for content producers” presentation that I gave at nextMEDIA. Folks seemed to like it, and I bet the audience could get something out of it.

Name one thing you’d recommend visitors to Toronto do while they’re in town for PodCamp

Pate: Go for a beer with the group after the sessions are over. Don’t miss some of the best conversations.

Thanks Will!

We’ll be posting a few of these interviews over the next little while. If you want to meet the folks interviewed and check out the sessions they’re excited about, then sign up for PodCamp Toronto!

5 Weeks To Go!

172 attendees… (and counting!)

26 sessions… (and counting!)

5 weeks remaining. And counting.

Just 35 days until PodCamp hits Toronto for the second time and things are heating up. Registrations grew 20% in the last week alone and we’re signing up new sponsors every day.

Today we’re thrilled to announce four new sponsors:

Marketing Over Coffee

Marketing Over Coffee is an internet radio program (podcast) that covers both classic and new marketing. The program is runs about 20 minutes and comes out on Thursday mornings.


TalkShoe is a service that enables anyone to easily create, join, or listen to Live Interactive Discussions, Conversations, Podcasts and Audioblogs.

These hosted Community Calls can be discussions, conversations, talk shows and podcasts. Recorded Community Calls can be listened to, downloaded, or subscribed to. And if your Community Call becomes popular, you can make money too.

Thornley Fallis

Thornley Fallis is a full-service communications and public relations agency that has established an excellent reputation for providing smart thinking and delivering creative solutions. Thornley Fallis’ consulting team draws on a wealth of skills and experience to develop and implement innovative communications programs that achieve client objectives.


Tucows seeks to make the Internet easier and more effective for passionate Internet users. Their goal is to reduce complexity for our customers as they acquire, deliver or use Internet services.

Tucows’ principle source for distributing Internet services is their global network of over 7,000 hosting companies, ISPs and other service providers. In addition to other Internet services, they provision millions of email boxes and manage over 7 million domains.

Write About PodCamp Toronto

Are you coming to PodCamp? Want to write about it? Want the inside scoop?

Email fleetstreetpr [at] gmail [dot] com with your questions or to set up an interview.