The Yeggies will recognize and celebrate online content creators in Edmonton

the yeggiesToday was a very exciting day for Edmonton’s vibrant social media scene! Adam Rozenhart of The Unknown Studio (among other things) officially announced the Edmonton New Media Awards, a.k.a. “The Yeggies”:

Edmonton has a particularly strong social media community. It’s quite remarkable, and I think pretty unique. I know other Canadian cities have enthusiastic social media users and communities as well, but — and I’ll admit to complete and total bias here — there’s just something different about Edmonton’s community.

You know what’s missing from Edmonton’s winning formula? True, unabashed recognition.

That’s where the new awards come in!

The Edmonton New Media Awards, or the Yeggies, is an annual awards show created to recognize and celebrate outstanding social media content creators in the capital region. It’s an awards show to highlight some of the amazing talent we have here in Edmonton — from people who code websites themselves, to those who write, speak, draw, all on their own time. Yeggies recipients inspire, evoke, inform, educate and entertain us, and they do it because they have a passion for it.

I’m really thrilled that this is really going to happen – there are so many creative people in our city making interesting things online. I am fortunate enough to be on the organizing committee, so I can tell you that coming up with the categories wasn’t easy. I’m sure we’ll hear lots of great feedback on how to improve, but I’m very happy with the award categories we decided upon for the first annual awards:

  • Best in Edmonton
  • Best in Political or Current Affairs
  • Best in Sports
  • Best in Food
  • Best in Arts and Culture
  • Best in Humour
  • Best in Fashion & Style
  • Best Twitter Persona
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

Yes, this means that a sports blog could be up against a sports podcast, for example. Blogs and podcasts are two different animals, but once you go down the path of having separate awards for each service or network you quickly realize it never ends. There is a special category for Twitter, but to me that’s a recognition of the outsized impact Twitter has had on the entire scene here in Edmonton.

Want to nominate someone? You have until the end of January!

Details for the awards show are still being worked out but it is currently slated to take place in the spring. If you’d like to get involved, we’re looking for both volunteers and sponsors.

Finally, I want to thank Adam for driving this forward. I think The Yeggies are going to be a big success, and I just hope I can play a role in helping him realize his vision for the project. Take a few seconds and thank Adam for once again giving meaning to the “Make Something Edmonton” idea.

2012 Alberta Election: Social Media Highlights

I don’t think there’s any doubt that social media played a significant role in this year’s provincial election. From witty tweets to conversation-shifting blog posts and everything in between, there’s no shortage of social media highlights to look back on. In an effort to capture how social media impacted the election, I have been tracking some of the most popular and memorable blog posts, photos, tweets, videos, and links.

Very early on, Danielle Smith’s campaign bus was the talk of Twitter for its unfortunate wheel placement. It attracted so much attention that even Jay Leno joked about it! The Wildrose quickly fixed the bus, sharing a new photo on Facebook that was liked nearly 800 times with more than 220 comments.

danielle-smith-bus-628

Social media proved to be an effective tool for the mainstream media to share their stuff throughout the election. For example, CBC’s Vote Compass was shared more than 5300 times on Facebook and more than 870 times on Twitter. Over 115,000 responses were completed.

On March 30, PC staffer Amanda Wilkie (@wikwikkie) posted a tweet questioning Danielle Smith’s lack of children. There was an immediate backlash which forced Wilkie to apologize and delete the tweet. Smith released a statement explaining that she and her husband had tried to have kids with the aid of fertility treatments, and Alison Redford released a statement announcing that Wilkie had resigned. The two leaders spoke on the phone and vowed to move on.

Smith’s tweet was retweeted more than 100 times.

On April Fools Day, the Wildrose issued a news release saying that if elected, the party would pursue a merger with Saskatchewan to form a new province known as Saskberta. It was shared on Facebook more than 2100 times and on Twitter more than 360 times. The Wildrose tweet itself was retweeted more than 140 times:

Candidates first felt the power of blogs on April 2, when Kathleen Smith (@KikkiPlanet) posted her widely-read piece entitled Pruned Bush: Confessions of a Wilted Rose. An impassioned and well-written post, it racked up more than 1400 likes on Facebook, more than 330 tweets, and 136 comments. More than that, it brought “Conscience Rights” into the spotlight.

Kathleen’s post even attracted an angry response from a Wildrose supporter. Paula Simons has a good recap of the whole story, so check it out.

Just two days later, Dave Cournoyer (@davecournoyer) posted an even more popular blog post. His entry titled thorny candidates could be the wildrose party’s biggest liability attracted more than 4700 likes on Facebook, more than 600 tweets, and 150 comments. Though we didn’t know it at the time, Dave’s post would be cited countless times over the next few weeks as Wildrose candidates made gaffe after gaffe. Even his follow-up post on April 16 attracted more than 600 likes, more than 70 tweets, and 75 comments.

The next day on April 5, Dave Cournoyer noticed that a Twitter account named @PremierDanielle had been created and was being followed by @ElectDanielle, Smith’s official account. While it only came to light during the election, it was actually created back on October 12, 2010.

I didn’t think there’d be many audio clips to note during the election, but on April 7 the Alberta Party launched its official campaign song, composed by JUNO winners Cindy Church and Sylvia Tyson. The page was shared on Facebook more than 100 times and on Twitter more than 40 times. The song itself, hosted on SoundCloud, has been played more than 3500 times.

It didn’t take long after Danielle Smith announced a $300 dividend for all Albertans for Sean Healy to launch Dani Dollars, a website that let users pledge their cash “to Wildrose Relief”. It was shared more than 280 times on Facebook, more than 130 times on Twitter, and attracted more than 170 pledges for a grand total of $51,600.

The leaders debate took place on April 12, and while it ended up being fairly boring (aside from Raj Sherman’s unintentionally comedic outbursts) there were a couple of highlights. One was Alberta Party leader Glenn Taylor’s live blog, which was followed by more than 1700 people. It was shared more than 480 times on Facebook and more than 300 times on Twitter.

The debate also resulted in one of the most memorable tweets of the election, retweeted more than 340 times:

Edmonton Journal videographer Ryan Jackson posted a really unique video on April 13. By stitching together four different videos, Jackson made it appear as if you were sitting in a coffee shop with four of the party leaders. The video was shared more than 140 times on Facebook and more than 50 times on Twitter.

On April 14, a new Twitter account known as @Adamwyork posted a tweet about Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger. It linked to an old blog post that Hunsperger had written that contained the shocking statement that gays and lesbians would “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell.” You can see a screen capture of the post here. It wasn’t until April 26 that the person behind the tweet was identified. Turns out it was Blake Robert, better known online as @BRinYEG. Paula Simons’ post about the outing has already been shared more than 275 times on Facebook and more than 144 times on Twitter.

Though the original tweet was only retweeted 13 times, the impact it had on the election cannot be overstated.

On April 16, the domain name INeverThoughtIdVotePC.com was registered. A couple of days later, the website launched featuring a short video that asked Albertans to vote strategically against the Wildrose. The website has been shared on Facebook more than 3700 times and the video itself has been seen more than 88,000 times.

On April 17, Vicky Frederick posted a Wildrose-edition of the “Downfall / Hitler Reacts” video meme. The video, titled Inside the Wildrose War Room, has been seen nearly 12,000 times.

It was a busy day on April 17. That was also the day that Wildrose candidate Ron Leech made controversial statements about having an advantage as a Caucasian. The Journal captured a copy of the radio interview here. The tweet from CTV Edmonton breaking the news was retweeted more than 250 times:

That same day, the Wildrose posted its “Momentum” ad on YouTube. With more than 112,000 views, it’s the most popular election-related video.

On April 20, Paula Simons wrote a blog post titled The Price of Free Speech. She discussed Danielle Smith’s stubborn refusal to reprimand candidates like Hunsperger and Leech. The post was shared on Facebook more than 1500 times and on Twitter more than 180 times.

In the final weekend of the campaign, photos of this graffiti wall here in Edmonton started circulating on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere online:

I don’t know how many times it was shared, but I saw it all over the place.

After all of the negativity of the election, I was quite happy to see Ryan Jackson’s next election video on April 23. A “whimsical parody video”, it featured the “strange new species” popping up on lawns across Alberta known was the election sign.

He posted a behind-the-scenes on the video just yesterday.

As the polls opened on April 23, many people tweeted that they had voted while others encouraged Albertans to get out and vote. With more than 200 retweets, Kathleen Smith’s call-to-action was probably the most visible of the day:

On election night itself there were many memorable tweets, but Todd Babiak’s post about how the public opinion polls were so wrong was one of the most retweeted with 195 retweets:

As far as I can tell, the most retweeted tweet of the entire election came at 9:27pm on election night, after it became clear that the Wildrose would form the official opposition. Calgary’s Nick Heer posted this tweet:

It has been retweeted more than 650 times!

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to imagine what the election would have looked like without social media! Through tweets, photos, videos, blog posts, and more, Albertans had no shortage of ways to share their thoughts on the candidates and the campaigns. And because of the nature of social media, those thoughts often spread extremely quickly and were frequently picked up by the mainstream media. Whether you’re a Twitter or Facebook user yourself or not, there’s no question that social media helped make the 2012 provincial election one of the most exciting in Alberta’s history.

Did you have a social media highlight that I missed? Let me know in the comments! For more on the role that Twitter played during the election, be sure to check out AlbertaTweets. Looking for election results and statistics? Check out my #abvote Results Dashboard!

We need to preserve our local, digital, cultural artifacts

As Edmonton continues its climb toward global status, I think it’s important that we consider the digital cultural artifacts that we create along the way. It’s rare that something big happens in Edmonton (or anywhere in the world for that matter) without a website or other online presence of some kind being created. That online presence is important in the weeks and months leading up to an event, but it’s just as important after the fact too. We need to start considering that from the beginning.

Think about big events that Edmonton has hosted in recent years. The 2001 World Championships in Athletics should come to mind. If you do a search for Edmonton 2001, you’ll find:

And linked from the official IAAF website and many other pages that show up in the results, is the the Edmonton 2001 website, at http://www.2001.edmonton.com/. The problem is, that site no longer exists.

What would happen if the IAAF took down the page they are hosting? It doesn’t have to happen on purpose, it could be an unfortunate side effect of a redesign, server relocation, etc. The article at Wikipedia is pretty sparse, containing mainly result information. And the mention on the EEDC site is insignificant. It’s almost as if the event didn’t happen.

Additionally, I’d argue that none of the links that still exist tell the story of Edmonton 2001. The effort that went into it, the many volunteers and organizations that made it happen, the effect it had on the city, etc. I think it’s important that we capture that information, and that we do so online, where it is easily accessible by all.

Another more recent example would be the ICLEI World Congress, held in June 2009. The City of Edmonton has a brief page devoted to the event, but most of the information exists at the ICLEI site. That’s fine, but again we’re relying on someone else for the information, and we’re missing an opportunity to tell our story. The advantage that the ICLEI had over Edmonton 2001 is that many bloggers wrote about the event and many photographers posted photos, and their content will likely continue to exist for quite some time. The new Transforming Edmonton blog will help too, I think.

The idea of digital preservation applies to smaller-scale events too. Try to find an online presence for the 2005 K-Days (now Capital EX), the year the event’s attendance record was set. Or try to find out about the 2008 Fringe festival.

I recognize that there’s costs associated with preserving our online cultural artifacts. Someone has to pay for them, and someone has to maintain them. And if we go that extra step and treat some online presences as legacy projects with updates and other information to tell our story, there’s obviously costs associated with that too. I think the costs would be quite minimal, however, and definitely worth it.

Perhaps this is something for the Edmonton Heritage Council to tackle? Or the Edmonton Historical Board? Or maybe just you and me. Either way, we need to start taking digital preservation more seriously.

Online advertising in Canada is booming

Post ImageThe numbers are in, and it appears that 2006 was an incredibly impressive year for online advertising in the great north. Forget about all the action happening south of the border, Canada is where it’s at! From 901am:

The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB) announced that 2006 Canadian Online Advertising Revenues surged to an unprecedented $1.01 billion dollars for the year. The 2006 actuals represent a 26% increase over the $801 million originally estimated by the IAB for 2006; and an 80% increase over the 2005 actuals of $562 million.

Projections for 2007 look really positive too. Mark Evans says:

Still, if you do some back-of-the-napkin calculations, the Canadian market is still only two-thirds that of the U.S. market if you use the traditional 10:1 ratio formula.

I assume by the “10:1 ratio formula” he is normalizing the two markets for comparison purposes. So it’s not as big as the US, but it’s getting damn close.

Read: 901am