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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!).

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.

Podcamp Toronto Podcast 18

Tommy Vallier, Jay Moonah and myself (Sean McGaughey) recorded the Podcamp Toronto Podcast tonight live over talkshoe.  I have a new recording set-up that I’m still learning to use, so I apologize for the technical quality of the podcast.

Download/Listen  to Podcamp Toronto Podcast 18

We discussed:

  1. The mentor lounge.
  2. Upcoming sessions at Podcamp Toronto.
  3. The Castroller Podcamp Toronto Channel: http://castroller.com/channels/pcto09.
  4. The winners of the Griffin Technologies prize packs for the Promo Challenge:  John Meadows, Peter O’Connell, George Motoc and Kevin Ballon.
  5. Lunch options:  We are not providing lunch this year.
  6. The Schedule will be live tomorrow (Sunday February 8: 10:00 EST).  If you have signed up to present a session, please pick a room and time on the schedule and sign up on the wiki.
  7. Wifi ettiquite at Podcamp Toronto.
  8. Stay tuned to the Podcamp Toronto blog and wiki for announcements about Friday and Saturday night events which are in the works.

Subscribe to the Podcamp Toronto Castroller Feed

Today, after more than two years of development, podcamper Will Spaetzel has officially launched Castroller, a social media website for aggregating and sharing podcasts and videocasts.  Will has also created a dedicated channel on Castroller containing one feed for all podcasts produced by pcto09 participants.

The following is a guest post by Will Spaetzel explaining the Podcamp Toronto channel and the Castroller launch:

If you’re coming to Podcamp Toronto, you’ll be meeting a lot of podcasters. And you’ll probably want to know something about these people before you coming. Besides checking out their blog or Twitter account, you probably also want to listen to their podcast. Well a Canadian startup, CastRoller just made that very easy.

CastRoller has created a “Channel” of podcasts for Podcamp Toronto attendees. You can see the channel here: http://castroller.com/channels/pcto09. A CastRoller channel contains the latest episodes from every podcast in the channel. So you can go to that one page and see the latest from everyone that will be coming to Podcamp Toronto this year. And best of all, there is a Podcast feed for the channel as well. Just add this feed: http://castroller.com/channels/pcto09/feed to iTunes and the latest episodes from all of the attendees will be automatically downloaded to your computer.

CastRoller also has a lot of other features that make it easy to discover new podcasts and enjoy the ones you already subscribe to. You can log into CastRoller and add your own subscriptions without even creating an account at http://castroller.com/login.

You can read more about CastRoller over at their blog at http://blog.castroller.com.

New Podcamp Toronto Promos

Today we received two new Podcamp Toronto 2009 Promos from Peter O’Connell and George Motoc. Remember to send your promos in to pcto2009@gmail.com by February 1 for a chance to win some great prizes courtesy of Griffin Technologies.

Peter O’Connell:

Download Peter O’Connell’s Pcto09 Promo

George Motoc:

Download George Motoc”s Pcto09 Promo

You can find all our promos on our PCTO2009 Promos page. Please Play these promos on your podcasts, or post them to your blog or website.