Posts filed under ‘5. Social Networking’

Political candidates and social media: don’t miss out on spreading your message

Walter Schwabe from “fusedlogic” recently asked via Twitter ‘if a candidate’s use of social media would affect your support for them?’. We don’t have access to the answers that Walter received from the Twitter community but we will offer our own here.

There is a lot more to a candidates platform than whether or not they use social media in their campaign. The real community issues and how that person proposes to deal with them if elected is what matters. Their use of social media is a secondary element. However, since social media is an important and effective communications tool a candidates use of things such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube or a website with interactive dialogue can be a benefit for them and the folks in the community who live online.

With the increase of social media as a key and sometimes only source of news and information for many people, not using the web can be detrimental for a candidate in communicating their ideas and plans for the future. If a candidate doesn’t use social media in their campaign, they run the risk of missing out on opportunities to connect and promote their vision for the community to a segment of voters who use social media in place of traditional media such as newspaper and radio.

And then there is the future use of social media from city hall. If a candidate makes use of social media and is elected then there is a possibility that they will make use of online communities and communication while in office. This can be a good thing in bringing communities, large or small, into the new age of online communications.

If your candidate of choice isn’t using social media but you do, encourage them to take part in online activities even if it means that you set things up and maintain it for them. Although ghost-blogging and ghost-tweets are typically frowned upon by online communities, something is better than nothing and who knows, maybe your candidate might take an active part once they see the value of social media.


September 23, 2010 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

TV studio in your basement – update

We had posted about setting up a TV studio in your basement ala Leo Laporte a few months back and it has received a few hits from folks out there. This past weekend we brought our setup online and broadcast/webcast our first live show for Radio Free Red Deer – independent music from the heart of Alberta.

Here’s the show . . .

Here’s the setup . . .

Cameras: Canon DV camcorder connected via firewire, Samsung 8mm camera connected via USB VidBox convertor;

Lighting: three CFL daylight bulbs in aluminum clamp-on reflectors;

Audio: Shure SM-58 mic, Behringer mixer – connected via USB interface;

Software: Vidblaster video mixer – trial version;


Here’s what we learned . . .

Vidblaster needs a more powerful computer than what we ran it on. It’s a great piece of software but it does get finicky. A quad-core PC or better running in a clean environment (no background processes) would improve the performance. We had a problem with video/audio sync which is directly related to the hardware according to Vidblaster’s support forums. For our next show we will connect directly to and that should align the audio and video.

Be prepared for anything…equipment failure, mis-cues, etc. After all it’s live and anything can happen.

It’s more fun if you have others to share the workload – and the fun! Multi-tasking can get hectic.

TV (and any video for that matter)  is more than audio with pictures. It needs to be visually appealing so lots of graphics and even full motion visuals add to the viewer experience. Watching some guy talk into a mic can get boring. Since this show is all about music I think we can get away with an emphasis on the audio with less visual content.

What’s next . . .

We would like to go on locations and broadcast live bands performing at some of the venues in the area. Once we work out some of the syncing problems this will be our next step.

Broadcasting live events other than music is something else we would like to do. The key requirement is availability of internet bandwidth. Without some form of reliable and consistent high-speed connection live video fails.

We’ll keep you updated on our progress. If you’re out there doing this type of live video via the web, let us know and we’ll feature your show and share your work.



Nova Media

Strategic Online Marketing



Advanced Systems

Corporate Computer and Network Specialists

November 25, 2009 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Government support of digital new media – PWC report

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (Canada), Big Table of Digital Media and Animation Incentives 2009 shows that provinces other than Alberta provide some form of tax relief to investors in digital media companies. Where’s the Alberta Advantage here?

A quote from the Big Table:

“As digital migration accelerates, digital spending will remain the entertainment and media industry’s main engine of growth throughout the next five years, making further major inroads into all segments and claiming a rising share of overall industry revenues. As a result, digital spending in Canada will rise from 20% of total industry revenues in 2008 to 32% in 2013.

Advertising is currently in broad decline, with global ad spend projected to continue below its 2008 levels in 2013. In Canada, the Internet advertising (wired and mobile) is expected to achieve an 8.6% compound annual growth rate over the period 2009 to 2013. The mobile advertising segment is expected to accelerate even more quickly than wired Internet advertising, driven by the expansion in the mobile access subscriber base, reaching 34% compound annual growth by 2013.

Thanks to Digital Alberta for the link to the PWC’s Big Table.

The good news is that even with a decline in the economy and advertising industry in particular, internet advertising is increasing. The not so good news (at least from how I read the Big Table) is that the Province of Alberta does not provide tax incentives to investors in digital media initiatives. Since I’m not a tax accountant I could easily be missing any information that’s available in regards to this topic.

If anyone knows what the Government of Alberta is doing to support or encourage growth in this industry – let me know!



Nova Media

Strategic Online Marketing



Advanced Systems

Corporate Computer and Network Specialists

September 16, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Hyper-local news and media

With the closing of our local television station, CHCA-TV my ears perk up when ever I hear via radio, TV, blogs or face2face conversations mention of possible new options. On Sunday, while we were driving down to Innisfail to meet-up with some friends, CBC news from Calgary was on the Jeep’s radio (yes – I still listen to radio). I caught the end of a segment on how a new voice of journalism can be found in ‘hyper-local’ news-papers.

Since I had never heard the term “hyper-local” before, I couldn’t wait to Google it.  “Hyper-local” primarily refers to news coverage of community-level events. The type of events that national, provincial and even regional news media does not cover. “Hyper-local” is happening in newspapers but it also applies to other media. Online, web based sources makes a lot of sense. BlogTO, covering news and events in Toronto, Ontario  is a good example of a community based “hyper-local” site. Apparently they receive millions of views a month from the web viewing public.

Where does hyper-local news comes from? There are examples where technology goes out and searches for any reference to your local area and presents that info, news, events and whatever in a single access point. Aggregation of the news is convenient and efficient but where does that news come from in the first place? Usually people reporting on the news and events. If people are not reporting then the technology based aggregation sites will not have the content.

The other example of a hyper-local news source are small groups of full-time, paid professional reporters supplemented by citizen journalists. In the CBC radio news segment there was an example of a professional journalist who left main stream media to start their own hyper-local media newspaper. Advertising revenue was sufficient enough to fund the paper and allow the staff to continue publishing. Of course they worked with a totally new business model and not the traditional newspaper model that is currently floundering.The debate over what is legitimate news and what has true value is currently underway.

Critics of hyper-local refer to such granular news as ‘the pothole report” e.g. potholes on my street may have great interest to me, but they mean nothing to you. If the providers of hyper-local news pay attention to what their communities are eager to know, pot-hole reports may not appear in the paper or blog.

UPDATE: Global TV out of Edmonton, AB has announced that it will still report on news from Red Deer and Central Alberta via staff and free-lance reporters. That’s nice but considering that they also report news highlights from many other communities our on-air time will be limited. We still need a broad and in-depth coverage of news and community events here in Central Alberta. Who will step up and bring TV back to Red Deer? Maybe the hyper-local model has a future for us.



Nova Media

Strategic Online Marketing



Advanced Systems

Corporate Computer and Network Specialists

August 23, 2009 at 9:06 am Leave a comment

#BVJ – using Twitter to watch local news unfold

On Saturday August 1, 2009 at approximately 6:00pm MST the Big Valley Jamboree, a country music festival in Camrose Alberta, was struck by tragedy when high winds caused the main stage to collapse. One person was killed and up to fifteen were injured. A fierce wind storm passed through Alberta moving from the north-west and headed south causing damage and brought hail and heavy rain in some areas. A small child died in Calgarywhen the high winds sent construction debris flying from the CN Tower.

Here in Red Deer we experienced wind, rain and a power outage. When the power was restored we logged into Twitter via Tweetdeck to catch up on what was happening in the area. One of the first messages we came across was a tweet that the main stage had collapsed at Big Valley Jamboree. We had some family at the festival and were worried that they may have been one of the casualties.#BVJ is a twitter search tag and we followed as tweets came in from the BVJ site and from around the world. Between Twitter, Facebook and online radio –, an Edmonton radio station, we were able to keep informed of events pretty much as they happened. We heard through Facebook that our folks were okay. They had been texting with another family member who relayed the messages via Facebook.

This was the first time I had used Twitter to follow a news event as it occurred. Between tweets, twitpics and links sent via tweets, we were able to keep informed on the events as they unfolded. Here are the conclusions I came to after three hours of following #BVJ, Facebook, online radio and local television and newspapers:

  • #BVJ was instant and some of the tweets were actually from people on the site – very informative from an eye witness point of view;
  • #BVJ also had some great links to other resources – that’s how we found pictures of the collapse and a link to the local radio station;
  • provided a live feed via web so even though we were out of their free-air broadcast range we were able to tune in and listen live to the updates;
  • #BVJ had some spam tweets – get rich quick, amazing health products etc. – not surprising. One follower flamed them for taking advantage of a tragic situation to promote their products. No doubt the spam was generated by a robot program scanning from trends on Twitter and then tweet their pre-written messages. Sad but unavoidable.
  • Local TV had little to nothing on the event. Through #BVJ I heard that CNN was attempting to contact someone to provide info. It wasn’t until later – about 10:30p MST that CTV national news had a segment on the collapse. They featured a phone conversation with Jessie Farrell, one of the performers who was tweeting the events as they happened.
  • The Edmonton Journal online posted the story and updated photos as they came in early in the event.
  • The local Red Deer paper – Red Deer Advocate, which is usually quick to post via Twitter and their online site had nothing within the three hours we followed the event. Maybe they were all gone for the long weekend.
  • #BVJ had tweets, re-tweets and direct messages regarding the event. As to be expected some of the early reports turned out to be inaccurate – for instance “one dead and sixty injured”. If you take this reporting in context it can be valuable but you shouldn’t panic until certain things are confirmed.
  • #BVJ and were both used to connect people and spread messages such as the call to have folks meet at the Trade Centre building to keep informed of the where abouts of others  and seek medical attention if required.

Twitter and other online social networks and social media services can’t be beat for delivering instant messages describing an event as it happens. The role that a radio station played through broadcast and online shouldn’t be overlooked. Thanks to for dedicating their air time to this event. It contributed a lot and helped show that some forms of radio are not dead.

Those who deny that online media is valid, current and of value are missing out on a great change. Traditional broadcasters in particular should take a lesson from these types of events and how they are reported. Global news events all originate as local events. Local news reporting sources have great opportunities to inform the local community and the world thanks to the new web.

BTW:Kevin Costner and his band who were scheduled to be the next act up on stage when the tradgey struck is okay but his road manager and a band member were injured.

More BTW: The event has been cancelled for the weekend.

Even more BTW: If Red Deer had a local TV station covering local events – broadcast and web – what would the results have been? This and other events are reasons why we need to start a campaign to bring TV back to Red Deer. Not just a rebroadcast of national network feeds but a team of reporters and journalists on the ground right here in Central Alberta. A combination of traditional broadcast and web based services is the next wave of news reporting. Red Deer is in a perfect position to act on this and build a trend setting new organization. Let’s not blow it!



Nova Media

Strategic Online Marketing



Advanced Systems

Corporate Computer and Network Specialists

August 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm Leave a comment

Sorry – this is not a podcast, nice try though

(NOTE: please consider the following a critique of an existing podcast – not just criticism. I know some of the people involved and feel comfortable in offering some advice in improving their podcast. I won’t link or show the podcast out of respect for them.)

After watching a few episodes of a company’s first foray into podcasting my excitement turned to disappointment and concern. Sorry – this isn’t a podcast. Nice try though. Can I offer some advice?

Why wasn’t it a podcast? Here’s why (in no particular order):

Frequency – published once a month.

  • Not a total blowout but ideally a podcast needs to be published more often to have the most impact on the viewer and to build a subscriber base. Once a week works well for some topics. Daily works for others. Once a month was too long a gap and their target audience could easily lose interest.

Scheduling – whenever.

  • Hard to build audience loyalty when the episodes are published without a specific time or date. If your favorite TV show was broadcast infrequently and without a scheduled time or date you’d start watching something else. Same thing applies to podcasts. Your audience looks forward to your show, so you should honor your commitment to them by delivering on a schedule.

Content – lots to point out here.

  • The content was pure, raw, unadulterated advertising commercial. Something you would hear on the radio or see in a 30 second TV spot. But in this case it went on for seven minutes. Ouch! Podcasts work well with a marketing and branding focus. You can insert a commercial into the show but don’t make the entire show a commercial.
  • Broad subject matter. Too many topics and products presented. Podcasts work well when they are targeted to a niche audience interest. In this case they would have had more impact by having separate podcasts for each topic they presented.

Community building – no opportunity for feedback.

  • This podcast doesn’t have a blog or even show notes where viewers could be given a call to action to  comment or share information about the products or the company as a whole. ID3 tags – information attached to the video which show up in iTunes – didn’t even list the company website or phone numbers.
  • No opportunity to build a community means that the viewer has no motivation to get involved which is what the new media audience thrives on. There were no ties to other online community gathering points. Facebook pages or groups and Twitter messages highlighting marketing and sales messages take advantage of multiple touch points available across the web.

The good news…

It was a professionally produced video so the audio and visuals were okay. The video was used else where in the organization so it’s a good example of re-purposing content thus maximizing the original investment.

The (potential) bad news…

Since I don’t have access to the numbers, subscribers, hits, longevity of subscription, direct connection to customer purchases, and all those other valuable metrics, the following is just speculation based on what I do see.

  • There is no next step in the call to action other than ‘come buy our products’.  Unless they perform a traditional customer survey via phone or mail, e.g. ‘how did you hear about our products?’, how would they know the outcome of the podcast and how it impacts customer actions?
  • Audience position in the sales funnel. Does it generate new customers (leads or prospects) or does it enhance the relationship with existing customers (‘here are other products and services we offer which you may be interested in’)? In the episodes I watched this was unclear.
  • Comparison with other sales, marketing and advertising tools. Will this podcast live or die based on it’s own numbers or will its impact be compared with other traditional methods. My fear is that it will fail and as a result this company will stop using new media and social media to market their goods and services. This would deny them a great opportunity to benefit from a new way to reach customers and grow their market share.


This turned out to be more of an essay than a blog post, but I  couldn’t resist the opportunity. Check out Seth Godin’s Meatball Sundae for a take on mixing old media (thinking) and new media (thinking) and how it can fail.

What would be my suggestions for this podcast?

  • Separate content into niche topics and smaller time segments. Three or four shows a week with each focusing on a specific product lineup. Less advertising and more value added information. Shorter times as well – five minutes max.
  • Build and populate a show notes or blog page with links to products featured.
  • Facebook anyone? A page or group is cheap – use it! Build a community by encouraging interaction and conversation.
  • Use Twitter to announce new shows when they’re published.
  • Publish video content on other sites such as YouTube. There are a lot of video hosting sites out there so make use of these multiple touch points.
  • Make use of company staff as spokespersons. Professional actors look and sound nice but real people talking about real things carry a lot of clout in social media communities.

There’s more but that’s a good start.

Talk with you later . . .


April 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

Government and new media – Facebook group

Thanks to Richard Harrington from RHED PIXEL for posting these links. Although this is a group from the U.S. some of their ideas and strategies can apply and be used here in Canada – federal, provincial and local. Check it out!

Richard’s blog post with the links

Facebook group – New Media for a New Government

If you’re a citizen, encourage your politicians and government to make use of social media. If you are an elected member of government, pay attention and start using these tools. If you’re a government employee, think seriously about how these tools can be used to connect with your local citizens.


April 12, 2009 at 5:36 pm Leave a comment

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