Northern Voice speakers are primarily from Vancouver and use Twitter

logo by basco5 If you visit the Twitter page for Northern Voice, the one line bio says “Canada’s social media and blogging conference” (isn’t the blogging bit redundant?). The website isn’t quite as direct, but the impression you’re left with is the same: it’s a Canada-wide event. A few days ago they announced the schedule for Saturday, the “conference” part. I took a look at it today and was struck by how many of the speakers are located in Vancouver! Here’s the list, with speaker names linked to their Twitter profiles where available:

Kris Krug – Vancouver
Lauren Wood – Vancouver
Nora Young – Toronto
Rob Cottingham – Vancouver
Stewart Butterfield – San Francisco
Steve Pratt – Vancouver
Nate Elliott – Vancouver
Tod Maffin – Vancouver
Isabella Mori – Vancouver
Airdrie Miller – Vancouver
Briana Tomkinson – Vancouver
Rebecca Bollwitt – Vancouver
Linda Bustos – Vancouver
Jenn Lowther – Vancouver
Nadia Nascimento – Vancouver
Monica Hamburg – Vancouver
Kim Adamson-Sharpe – ?
Hilary Genders – Vancouver
Tim Bray – Vancouver
Robert Scales – Vancouver
Susannah Gardner – Vancouver
Barbara Ganley – Vermont?
Laura Blankenship – Pennsylvania
Nancy White – Seattle
Darren Barefoot – Vancouver
Alfred Hermida – Vancouver
David Eaves – Vancouver
Alan Levine – Arizona
Dave Johnson – Vancouver
Kate Trgovac – Vancouver
Rosemary Rowe – Vancouver?
Dave Olson – Vancouver
Bev Davies – Vancouver
Irwin Oostindie – Vancouver

This list may be inaccurate or incomplete – the NV site lacks bios and abstracts, has one “TBA” slot, and doesn’t make it clear where everyone is from so I did the best I could to look it up. If you spot an error let me know and I’ll correct it.

Canada’s social media and blogging conference? More like Vancouver’s.

A few final remarks: I fully appreciate that this is a community event and that speakers’ expenses are not covered, so it makes sense to have more locals. I noted the Vancouver-specific nature of the conference last year. I submitted a speaking proposal and was turned down for Saturday, but will be leading a session on Friday (hopefully the schedule for that goes up soon).

10 thoughts on “Northern Voice speakers are primarily from Vancouver and use Twitter

  1. Yup, I think calling it “Canada’s” conference is indeed a bit of a stretch. It started as an idea (by Darren Barefoot) for a conference of bloggers from Vancouver and elsewhere in B.C., and I don’t think it’s a bad idea to keep calling it an event for this area. Not to discourage anyone from elsewhere from coming, but to clarify that’s likely what it has been and will be like.

  2. If you’re going to bill yourself as Canada’s social media conference then you should get some representation from elsewhere in the country.

    I would be particularly interested to hear from Quebec social media types. How is it different there compared to English Canada?

    That’s just one topic. Makes you wonder how relevant this conference will actually be to the rest of the country with such a narrow slice of the country’s social media people.

  3. I didn’t participate in speaker selection this year, so I can’t say for sure. But I’d bet that the vast majority of speaker submissions came from BC. The conference has never paid a speaker (nor does the conference’s focus attract a lot of corporate submissions), so it’s natural that the attendees and speakers would be local.

    Maybe it’s kind of a chicken and egg thing? Call it “Canada’s conference” and hopefully you get submissions from other parts of the country. Or call it “BC’s conference” and discourage non-locals from submitting.

    In any case, I’m sure the organizing committee would welcome your participation next year, if you wanted to throw your hat in the ring. You could be Mack Male, Prairie Outreach Coordinator.

    How do you think the conference should entice speakers and attendees from the rest of the country?

  4. Hey Darren, thanks for the comment. Totally makes sense to have more locals because the costs aren’t covered, and I mentioned that. I also think it might be a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, but only to a certain degree.

    The first thing that would help would be to include organizers (or at least input) from elsewhere. There has been a debrief session the last few years which has been good, but I think the outcomes are easily forgotten. I’d be interested in taking a more active role next year.

    I think the type of content also has an effect. If there were more “all across Canada” kinds of presentations/activities, I think it would entice people from outside BC even more.

    I need to give this more thought. I probably should have before making the post, to be honest!

  5. With no actual staff and changing ranks of busy organizers, I do think a lot of ‘organizational knowledge’ gets lost from year to year. The usual problems of a non-profit are amplified.

    The organizing committee would almost certainly welcome any help you wanted to lend. I’d wait until after this year’s event, and drop info@northernvoice.ca an email expressing your interest.

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