Edmonton & Social Media in Merge Magazine

When I ran into Merge Magazine Managing Editor Sherree Elm after Pecha Kucha Night 7, she asked if I would be interested in contributing to the July issue of the local magazine. She really liked my presentation (which you can watch here), and was looking for something similar. I agreed to adapt my talk into a short article, which you can read here.

If we can increase our density, improve our storytelling, and develop our creative economy, I believe Edmonton can be the city that every other city wants to be like. Every Edmontonian has a role to play – find something you’re passionate about, and do it here. Never be afraid to say that you’re from Edmonton! If we take local action, I believe we can achieve global recognition.

In addition to my article there’s a short profile as well, written by Sarah Kmiech. She wrote:

Remember back in the day when people interested in computers and technology were considered introverted and socially shy? My how times have changed! With all the new social media available today, people are getting on their computers, meeting new people, sharing thoughts and ideas, and taking networking to a whole new level.

One person who has totally taken advantage of these media tools is Mack D. Male.

Sarah goes on to share how I got started with blogging and Twitter, and best of all, included my tips for getting involved yourself:

  1. Write about something you’re passionate about.
  2. Write relatively frequently. It doesn’t have to be every day, but there should be a regular schedule.
  3. Meet people in real life. People are more likely to read your blog or follow you on Twitter after they have met you in person.

Merge Magazine is available in the Media Classified Stands around the city, or you can read the July issue online here. Check it out! And don’t forget to follow @mergemagca on Twitter!

Local Action, Global Recognition at PKN7

I was one of the presenters at yesterday’s Pecha Kucha Night 7 here in Edmonton. I’ve been thinking about pitching a topic for a while, but for whatever reason never submitted anything. This time around, however, I felt compelled to at least apply to speak. As Jeff said in his post, I sort of became the face of the disappointment over Pecha Kucha 6. I’ve been to every Pecha Kucha Night we’ve had in Edmonton, and I’ve blogged about each one. I have been both critical and positive about past events and speakers, but I’ve tried to be fair. In any case, I figured if I was going to dish it out I had to be willing to take it as well.

Pecha Kucha Night 7

I approached my talk at PKN7 the way I think it should be done. The topic had to be something I was passionate about (it’s almost always immediately obvious when a speaker is not passionate about their topic) and had already given some thought to. I worked hard to find images that represented my ideas, and I consciously stuck to Creative Commons licensed photos (see below). I created an outline for my talk, and then researched each idea to ensure I could back up what I was saying. Then I practiced – a few times on my own to get the timing right, and then a few times for Sharon, and once for my parents over Skype. I wanted to practice enough that I could pull it off, but not so many times that I’d be thrown off track when something inevitably changed during the actual talk.

Here’s the video of me presenting last night. I guess I went a few seconds longer than I should have. During my presentation I ended up saying slightly different things than I had practiced. Notably, I threw in the “feel free to cheer for your favorite” line which worked great for audience participation, but also meant my timing wasn’t quite as tight as I had practiced.

Here are my slides with the audio overlaid on top:

I received some great feedback on my talk, which was great to hear! I’m definitely harder on myself than others are, and if I could do it again I’d try to improve a few things. I think I looked down too much, and my excuse for that is that all I could see was the first row or two of people. I guess six minutes and forty seconds wasn’t enough time to adjust. I also would have tried to slow the pace down a little. Overall though, I am happy with it!

Here are the images I used (minus the two slides that just contained logos). You can click on each one to get the original.

Edmonton SkylineBendy RoadEpcor Tower
Edmonton Skyline
TEDxEdmontonEdmonton Skyline

Local Action, Global Recognition

The premise of my talk was that Edmonton can be recognized on the world stage if we focus on making Edmonton a better place for Edmontonians. I think there’s three key things we need in order to achieve the recognition that we seek:

  1. Density
  2. Storytelling
  3. Creative Economy

If we can succeed at all three, I think there’s no question that we’ll become recognized around the world. Other cities will strive to be more like Edmonton.

With more time, I’d have expanded on the “how” in all of this, but last night I simply encouraged the audience to find something they’re passionate about and to do it here in Edmonton.

I would welcome any thoughts or comments on this – thanks!

Pecha Kucha Night: Edmonton #7

Edmonton’s seventh Pecha Kucha Night took place this evening at the Citadel Theatre in the wonderful Maclab Theatre. There were probably a little over 400 people in attendance, the vast majority of whom had never been to PKN before. I think I may as well just get right to it: PKN7 was a huge improvement over PKN6, and reaffirms to me that this event can be great!

All of the presenters brought their A-game tonight. In order of appearance, and with their topic titles:

  1. Gregg Oldring, Designing a Business
  2. Darryl Plunkie, Phobias
  3. Daniel Tse, Accessibility Technology
  4. Zoe Todd, Edmonton as an Aboriginal City
  5. Alistair Henning, Photographs Create Our Collective Visual Idea of Place
  6. Don Iveson, Brick by Brick: Lego & Urban Design
  7. Tamara Stecyk, Expressions of Hunger Online Photo & Poetry Contest
  8. Mack Male, Local Action Global Recognition
  9. Jason Openo, Leadership Edmonton
  10. Tad and Arlen, Improv!

It actually wasn’t Arlen (he couldn’t make it), but I can’t remember the name of his replacement. You can follow all of the presenters with Twitter accounts here.

After the debacle that was PKN6, it was refreshing to see 9 presentations with very little self-promotion. There were also very few umms, ahhs, and awkward pauses. I thought all of the talks were true to the spirit of Pecha Kucha – to share ideas that are inspiring or interesting or perhaps controversial, and that spark a conversation.

Pecha Kucha Night 7

Without a doubt my favorite talk of the evening was Don Iveson’s (and I think most everyone in the audience would agree with me on that). He used Lego to share some ideas about urban planning and the kind of built form that he would like to see in Edmonton. It was smart, funny, and well-presented, as expected from Don! A close second for me was Daniel Tse’s talk on accessibility technology. He did such a good job of relating it to the audience, and so many of the people I talked to tonight were excited to learn more and to get involved. He also tweeted during his talk using an automated thing he had setup before the event – such a great idea! I agree with John that Tamara’s talk was the most emotional – her passion really shone through. I think Zoe’s talk made me want to learn more about her topic the most. As for my talk, I thought it went quite well, and I received lots of positive feedback on it. More on that in my next post.

Some other thoughts on the evening:

  • Our hosts, Ryan Stark and Brian Murray, did a great job of welcoming everyone and keeping the evening flowing smoothly.
  • There wasn’t an official theme this evening, but the theme of “Edmonton” seemed to emerge. Either that or iPads (there were a lot of them in the audience, and Alistair used one on stage).
  • We trended to #1 in Canada on Twitter, this time for positive reasons!
  • Hosting the after-party at the same place as the event was smart. You lose less people that way.
  • The venue was great. I love that the stage was kind of in the audience, much more intimate than some of the venues we’ve had in the past (Myer Horowitz for instance).
  • I thought the start time of the event could have been a little tighter…it seemed to take a while to get going, and to restart after the break. No doubt because of all the great conversations that were happening!
  • The final presentation, the improv, was probably a safe bet (smart on the part of the organizers) but it worked really well and was quite funny.
  • Props to Stephanie Chan and Gabe Wong for the awesome PKN7 posters and graphic design.

Pecha Kucha Night 7 was organized by Edmonton Next Gen, and was sponsored by the City of Edmonton and Capital Power. The next event, PKN8, is scheduled for September 23 at the brand new Interdisciplinary Sciences Centre at the University of Alberta. Stay tuned to @EdmNextGen on Twitter, or sign up for their excellent weekly email newsletter.

Thanks to Edmonton Next Gen for a great event, to all of the volunteers for making it happen, and to my fellow presenters for delivering the goods!

UPDATE: Here’s a fun video montage of PKN7 made by Raffaella.