Category Archives: Community Projects

various endeavours like: True North Media House: Olympic social accreditation, Clayoquot Sound blockades, various lists, bestofs, award, tourism blurbs, un-conferences and geek camps + TEDx live blogging/tweeting

Opinion: IOC, sponsors have hijacked social media via Vancouver Sun

NOTE: Former VANOC communications chief Graeme Menzies shared his opinions about IOC’s constantly changing policy of controlling social media content (both from athletes and citizens) on behalf of rights holders and sponsors and, (often) against wishes and rights of locals.

Article shared below for posterity along with comment for your perusal. Comment written/posted just after the opening of Rio 2016 Olympics.

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Opinion: IOC, sponsors have hijacked social media | Vancouver Sun by Graeme Menzies, June 30, 2016

As the 2016 Summer Olympic Games rapidly approach, sports fans across the globe will use social media to observe and participate.

As the 2016 Summer Olympic Games rapidly approach, sports fans in Rio and across the globe will use social media to observe and participate in the experience.  It promises to be, in the words of brand marketing executive Brian Yamada the “largest social media event ever.”

He’s half right. What it’s really going to be is the most branded social media event ever.

Maybe also the most profitable for media moguls.

Perhaps it was inevitable, but I’m nevertheless disappointed that the IOC and all its corporate and media sponsors have hijacked social media for their own purposes.

It certainly didn’t start off this way.

Back in the months leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics — what would eventually become the world’s first social media Games — people had the idea that social media was “the people’s media.” Part of the thrill and promise of social media at that time was that anyone could publish without approval of editors, gatekeepers, or censors.

Everyone could be a reporter. Everyone could express an opinion.

The whole notion of “official media accreditation” was challenged. Some social media activists rejected the officially-sanctioned rules and roles of media participation in Olympic events, and created the True North Media House — a voluntary, self-accrediting cohort of non-tradition citizen-reporters. There was also the W2 Culture + Media House, an alternative media centre located in the Downtown Eastside, which aimed to create a place where both traditional and non-traditional media could merge and meet for mutual gain.

Social media at this time offered a potent, exciting, new way for people outside the IOC family to engage in the Games and to share their views and experiences with each other and the world.

There was a sense that power, and a voice, had been returned to the people. And there was a dream that the sport event audience could become more than traditional observers and consumers of organizational and corporate narratives … that the audience could in fact be co-creators of the event and help define the media narrative.

Oh how innocent we all were.

Things have not unfolded as we hoped they would. The IOC has moved from passive social media observer to dominant social media player. In 2009 they were content to watch the local organizing committee launch the first official social channels. Today local organizing committees take a back seat to the Olympic giant: the @Rio2016 Twitter handle has a mere 295K Followers compared to @Olympics 3.5M

Unsatisfied with dominance over mere organizing committees, the IOC also engages global brand marketing agency VML to actively promote the Olympic movement and help with their social media strategy.

The IOC’s controlling hand extends to persons not on their payroll: during the period of the Games, and especially while on official venues, all athletes and accredited persons must adhere to the IOC’s social media guidelines. Live-streaming applications like Periscope are prohibited inside Olympic venues.

Mainstream media corporations are also getting in on the action, eager to turn sports fans into revenue streams. Comcast has made a deal with Snapchat to broadcast highlights from the Rio Olympics on the NBC Rio Olympic channel on the Snapchat Discover platform. The media giant is also talking with Facebook and Twitter about similar deals. Reports say Comcast has already scored a billion dollars in national advertising sales for the Rio Olympic Games.

Its all big business now. The citizen-reporter, the alternative media centres, are no more.

Sadly, the opportunity for regular sports fans to meaningfully shape the event narrative is weaker now than it was six years ago. We didn’t know it at the time, but that was as open, unfettered, and non-commercial as an Olympic social media experience was ever going to get.

Graeme Menzies is an international youth marketing professional, and frequent writer on sports and cultural topics.

Source: Opinion: IOC, sponsors have hijacked social media | Vancouver Sun

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Comment from Dave Olson:

Since Graeme published this article, I’ve wanted to write a appropriate response but, realized that the story of “Olympics and the social media” is almost gone.

It also occurs to me that it doesn’t matter to the IOC who are in the business of hamstringing cities into debt under the guise of utopian amateurism and sport.

Indeed, Vancouver will go down not only as the high point of participatory journalism but maybe as the “last reasonable Olympics” (despite the endless snide comments from foreign media who derided the games as not quite glamorous enough for their fickle tastes).

Each Games is preceded with a barrage of negative news pointing at the organizational foibles and these stories often overshadow the social justice and civil rights issues which locals pound the drum about eager for a voice at the table. Then, inevitably, everyone rolls their eyes at the cost and complaints, until the Games begin and then, through an odd sense of quasi-patriotism (jingoism) and excitement of seeing the youthful athletes making maximum efforts, the negative stories recede after the events end.

The media decamp before the Paralympics begin, the clean up crews deconstruct the endless white tents, and the agencies/countries hosting the hospitality houses count their impact. Then, the various levels of governments figure out the wreckage and the long term impact to the region.

While Olympics are catalyst to create infrastructure (which often should be built anyhow), the social justice issues which were raised before fade as quickly as the black SUVs disappear.

The stories of crippling debt from Montreal to Athens, and the excess and hubris of Beijing and Sochi, leave a sour taste in the most ardent sports fans’ mouth. And now Brasil is next in line to suffer the indignity and abject loss which is part and parcel to an event which is really only bid upon by cities with enough money that the fallout doesn’t matter.

Some folks put forth that the Olympics should rotate around 6 venues or build a special venue to be used each time, but these miss the point… the Olympics are a 2 week+ TV commercial for the host city, and a windfall of contracts for specialized companies to build and organize the events, and another 4 years of junkets for the IOC and their elite sponsors in thuggery. Its just not fun for the regulars.

Keep in mind, from Nagano onwards, i’ve actively contributed content (pod, blogs, snaps etc) to the commentary and dialogue, and did so from a point of view which accepted the Olympics at face value and as “inevitable, so let’s make sure the unknown stories are told” point of view. My efforts included wrangling the True North Media House campaign which resulted in social content produced by hundreds of amateurs on their own to a quantity and variety which eclipsed anything VANOC, IOC or the various protest groups managed. We did the whole campaign for about $15 ($50 if you include beer).

Now, i’m just worn out of seeing cities buy into the scheme and the athletes used as tools for profits of endless parade of acronyms of various sports associations and authorities that, despite legions of bureaucrats, still cannot provide a clean, fair games. Seeing athletes in one sport struggle for any support while across the way, millionaires line up in the “spirit of sport” … just makes no sense how it makes no sense.

Digressions aside, back to the original point about social media: IOC has changed positions and enforcement each Games… both in terms of what athletes and teams can post, but also what spectators, and even regular people living in the host city, can share without evoking the wrath of lawyers. As a result, the story is not complete (the TV networks sure don’t tell it) and the issues which were critical before the Games, vanish afterwards.

The IOC is adding “youth-ish” sports to the games to remain relevant for future generations but they again, miss the point and the zeitgeist of youth and the way communication occurs in contemporary context. But i also realize the TV rights fees and sponsors money keeps increasing which is the IOC’s real game – the sports are just a product to market.

Thanks anyway IOC, but i’m not interested anymore. Go amateur athletes (!) go far somewhere where you are treated fairly and compete on a level playing field which is clearly not the Olympics forte (or purpose).

NOTE: I first met Mr. Menzies (the author of the article) when he was obliged to reply to my offer (on behalf of Alternative/Independent media makers) of assistance, coupled with insistence in being included in an event which impacted our city and tax bills.

More: 

  1. True North Media House Olympics and Social Media
  2. Partial archive of the Olympic and media-related communiques
  3. More video content http://ow.ly/WET4302ZV1f
  4. Mr. Menzies’s dossier: http://ow.ly/arRy302ZV2G

≈boldkick≈ on Twitter: “We think of @uncleweed as the Internet whisperer. #BoldMove

“Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion” from boldkick

My pal and long time collaborator at Hootsuite, Chris Trottier and his new crew at “boldkick” – a new social architecture bureau, wrote this little tribute post about me following a talk at Victoria, BC, Canada’s Social Media Camp where i discussed how the “Internet has a Short Memory”. I am truly touched by he and Cindy’s kind words – i am very fond of them as well.

Excerpt pasted below for the record along with a link to the original post.

Raised on a diet of hockey, punk rock, and fanzines, Dave “Uncle Weed” Olson has been writing about his experiences for almost as long as the Internet existed.

A master storyteller, Dave Olson thrives in building communities. His work revolves around being an all-around creative. He is a writer, a podcaster, singer, a multi-hyphenate superstar. Looking at his own website, it’s both surprising and inspiring to see one person who has done so much.

It all leads to one thing, doesn’t it? Passion.

It’s been such an overused word, but it always rings true to the people who have it. Dave’s lifeblood is community, something that we at Boldkick strongly resonate with. Did we mention he’s from Vancouver, too?

As a traveller, Dave Olson has had a handful of experiences with different people with different backgrounds. In a quick interview at Toque and Canoe about his suitcase, Dave Olson shares about his souvenirs in his travels.

“I keep little ephemeral paper objects. Ticket stubs. Crappy postcards. I’ll take an empty scrap book and make it real time on the trip. Then you return home and BAM, the whole trip is documented and you can share it with your friends. I was on a train in the rain in Spain (ha ha) and had my scrap book with me and I ended up partying with all of these great folks. Great way to bridge those cultural gaps. I also like to bring back coins. Little things. I like tiny things.”

Source: Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion – boldkick

Can’t Buy Me Love: A Renegade Marketing Pro’s Tips via Trippeo

My Hootsuite alum comrade pal Adarsh Pallian has yet another start-up biz — this one is a travel-expense related company called Trippeo. He published this article (with assistance from the charming Katie Fritz) in which explores some of my marketing-fu. Shared below for the record with gratitude and appreciation.

Introduced thusly via Twitter:

@pallian pays homage to @uncleweed, master of marketing and good vibes. Get some tips from his recent @Medium post! bit.ly/1URc2VU

Dave O at SXSW 09 – photo by KK

Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression

One of Vancouver’s tech-scene’s radicals used to tout the “cheap and cheerful” effect. Instead of relying on the filet mignon to impart success and influence, renegade marketer Dave Olson preferred to take his clients to underground shows and then chat business over a bowl of ramen. The man knows what he’s doing: after coming on as Director of Marketing for Hootsuite in 2010, he helped grow the user-base to 8 million, and was integral to the development of the quirky, lovable brand.

Of course, in those early days, Hootsuite wasn’t exactly rolling in the cash. Dave and his team needed to find ways to make an impression… while pinching those expensable pennies. These are a few of my favorite cheap-n-cheerful moments from the Master:

Host a dinner party

Personal AND cost-effective. One of the most memorable moments of Hootsuite’s inaugural SXSW trip was the barbeque that they hosted. Austin, of course, is pretty intense about their barbeque, so the conversation was built in. The event was inexpensive, easy to coordinate, and most importantly, an authentic place to chat with potential clients and investors.

Mobilize volunteers

Dave loved to bring enthusiastic people together around a cause, be it a Hootsuite “Hoot-Up,” a day of renegade marketing school, or a community of podcasters. Volunteers have been indispensable to Hootsuite’s success: they have translated websites, thrown parties, shared tips and tactics, and pointed out bugs. In return, Dave and his team acted as references and champions for these volunteers, helping them gain experience and land professional roles.

Say thank you, in person

One thing Dave liked to encourage was “going analogue”. He knew that facetime was the ultimate impression – no number of Mentions, Likes, or Upvotes can replicate a genuine “thanks.” Can’t be there in person? Dave was a big proponent of the quick video that included his team waving and saying thank you! A little goes a long way.

Want more stories from DaveO? He’s logged a great many of his talks on Youtube. You can find his channel right here.

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Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression — Medium.

Tracking the Olympic Protests and Activism

National Media coverage including:

Stop the War on the Poor, says DTES Protestors

Downtown Eastside residents angry at police crackdown

24 Hours

March 15, 2009

Downtown Eastside residents protest police ‘street sweeps’

The Canadian Press

March 15, 2009

Police cracking down on poor: Activists

Metro Vancouver News

March 16, 2009

 

Police accused of harassing the poor with nuisance tickets

The Province News

March 15, 2009

 

Downtown Eastside residents fear they’ll be jailed during Games

Some people can’t afford to pay fines given during ticketing sweep for civil disorder

Vancouver Sun

February 16, 2009

 

Police crackdown not welcome

24 HOURS News

February 16, 2009

 

Downtown Eastside residents say tickets unfair

CTV News

February 15, 2009

 

“Downtown Eastside crackdown misguided, groups say”

Police increase tickets, street checks

Globe & Mail

February 12, 2009

‘Street sweeps’ protested

Downtown Eastside groups oppose ticketing campaign

The Province Newspaper

February 16, 2009

Poverty Olympics Organizing Committee

The Vancouver Poverty Olympics are brought to you by a group of concerned citizens and community groups who oppose the 2010 Winter Games because public dollars could be more justly spent on ending poverty and homelessness.

Contact us: info@povertyolympics.ca

http://povertyolympics.ca/

. . . . .

Raise the Rates

DTES Neighbourhood House

Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP)

BC PWA

Streams of Justice

VANDU

News articles:

Poverty Olympics 2009

Local’s Tip: a Transit-Accessible Hike in North Vancouver via Explore BC

Sept. 03, 2014, Leah Poulton wrote an article about transit-accessible hikes around Vancouver and name-checked a few of my faves. So, i chimed in with some annotations which are shared below to augment the original article.

May I offer a few tips from someone who has marauded through these trails in various patterns over many years?

First, by starting the trip in Deep Cove and ending up in Lynn Valley, it makes for a little bit of a shorter trip getting home if you live in Vancouver. But either way I advise a stop at The End of the Line Café.

This location has housed a general store of some kind since the old logging days and now is filled with a ridiculous assortment of imported candies (esp. England and The Netherlands), plus a variety of chutneys to make your picnic lunch extra special, neat toys (balsa wood airplanes and sock monkeys) and decent coffee… and my favourite: trail pucks. Tell them Uncle Weed sent you. You won’t be disappointed whether you start or finish there it’s right by the trailhead.

Next, as a young Scout growing up in Surrey, we hiked along the Baden Powell trail in various parts a few times when it was still more primitive (or i recall it that way) and the houses weren’t built up so close to the trail. I remember camping along the Baden Powell trail – which seems like it would be verbotten now.

I remember one particular night sitting around the campfire at about 12 years old with the other scouts from Whalley when a mountain lion came and sat right in our camp fire circle with us. You could see his/her muscles, sinews, teeth and quickly realized there was nothing you could do except chillout and make no sudden movements. Fortunately my fellow Khaki Scouts didn’t freak out as we watched this creature, larger than any of us, including our wide-eyed volunteer scout leader. I don’t know if s/he stayed for 10 seconds or 20 minutes but it’s moment I’ll never forget.

Finally, one more transit tip. If you decide to go from Deep Cove to Lynn Valley (this was my preferred method because my house was right by the Lynn Canyon end of the trailhead and had a sauna for warming up after and autumn or winter hike) and you’re eager to get home, you can take the 210 bus.

Catch it just around the corner from the aforementioned End of the Line Café, and it’ll roll ya to the very houseline to the top of Mountain Highway, then all the way down through Lynn Valley Centre, to Phibbs Exchange, across Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and then express service through East Van (stops at Renfrew, Commercial, Nanaimo & couple more) finally ending up at Burrard Skytrain station.

Certainly not as scenic as the “three dollar harbour cruise” Sea Bus, but if you are in a hurry, and especially if you live in East Van, this can be a winner.

Great article Leah! I’m hoping your next one is a brewery tour of the North Shore with 3 stops (at least) now pouring.

The section of the Baden Powell Trail between Lynn Canyon and Deep Cove in North Vancouver is a great transit-accessible hike in Vancouver. One of the things I really love about Vancouver is that it’s completely possible to live or visit here without having access to a vehicle.

Source: Local’s Tip: a Transit-Accessible Hike in North Vancouver – Explore BC

Free Indian Feast in Vancouver for Chariot Day via Inside Vancouver Blog

My pal Remy Scalza is a freelance writer specializing in travel and tech and published widely.  He wrote a blurb about one of my favourite activities in Vancouver, or anywhere, eating tasty food with Hare Krishnas. I’ve feasted with these oft-bald devotees in Tokyo, London, Miami, Vancouver and Spanish Fork Utah among others.

Anyhow, he used a few of my photos (there’s also a video of various Hare Krishna bands playing) to invite folks out to their free feast. Hungry? Free Indian Feast (for 20,000 people) in Vancouver for Chariot Day | Inside Vancouver Blog

Respectfully shared below (in excerpt) for posterity.

by REMY SCALZA , August 6, 2014

Photo credit: Uncle Weed | Flickr

Now in its 41st year, the Chariot Fest – also known as the Jagannath Rath Yatra – is a Hindu celebration that involves transporting massive deities on chariots. According to the authorities at Wikipedia: “The rath (chariot) is carrying Lord Jaggannath and due to its massive size and weight and sometimes seemingly unstoppable nature, has led to the English word juggernaut … ”

Similar festivals take place in hundreds of cities around the world, often organized by the Hare Krishna movement. If past parades are any indication, this year’s will be attended by a mix of free spirits and free thinkers, as well as followers from India, who dance and clap in the streets as the chariots are towed to Stanley Park.

Photo credit: Uncle Weed | Flickr

Source: Hungry? Free Indian Feast (for 20,000 people) in Vancouver for Chariot Day | Inside Vancouver Blog

Postcards for Nepal – Help Nepal and i’ll send you a postcard

+++ Postcards for Nepal +++

Help ‪#‎Nepal‬ (again) Today + Tell the World = I’ll send you an art postcard.

One. Do something to help Nepal relief between today and May 25

Two. Tell about your actions in comments

Three. I’ll send you a handmade postcard to say “right on”

Keep spreading awareness and help how you can through skills, money, or sending happiness. But don’t forget Nepal. Ideas to help are welcome.

Also: 

++ It’s bad business not to donate to Nepal – via @wapost http://owl.li/Nping

Nepalese earthquake survivors line up during a food distribution in Kathmandu, Nepal,

The loss of life from the recent earthquakes in Nepal is approaching the scale of the earthquake that devastated Japan in 2011, where more than 20,000 perished. Major companies can and should be at the forefront of disaster relief there, but so far they have been slow to respond.

In relative terms, Nepal has been hit very hard. Japan lost one inhabitant for every 10,000 residents; Nepal, has lost one for every 3,000. The cost to Japan came to about 6 percent of its GDP; the cost to Nepal may be close to 50 percent of its GDP.

Yet Nepal has received far less business aid. In the aftermath of the Japanese disaster, firms around the world rushed in with cash and goods, providing more than half of the total international aid for Japan’s relief. But the corporate flow into Nepal has been barely a trickle. During the first several days after the earthquake, business aid arrived at a rate of $5,000 an hour. Compare that to Japan’s earthquake, when it was $150,000 per hour.

The disparity reflects an uncomfortable truth: Corporate contributions tend to go to countries that are already the most, rather than the least, prepared to dig themselves out. When the World Economic Forum rated countries by their readiness to come back from great shocks, Japan ranked near the top, Nepal near the bottom.

It makes sense that corporations act to cushion their own economic shocks from natural disasters by directing relief to countries where they have the greatest stake. Tracking international relief by the 2,000 largest multinational enterprises, we find that their donations closely followed their country operations.

The far greater business assistance to Chile than Haiti, after both countries experienced massive earthquakes at about the same time, had much to do with the fact that 37 percent of these firms operated in Chile but only 8 percent in Haiti. Companies like Wal-Mart, American Airlines, and the mining company Anglo American already had a strong presence in Chile and donated millions of dollars to its relief.
Now we see this same disparity in Nepal. Just 15 companies – fewer than 1 percent of the world’s 2,000 largest multinational firms – operated in Nepal when the first earthquake hit. So it is unfortunately no surprise that little business assistance has been flowing into Nepal, even though the country’s needs have never been greater. By one estimate, of the $550 million in outside aid to Nepal to date, corporations have contributed just $28 million.

The limited business assistance to Nepal reflects the limited company footprint there at the moment, but that absence will likely constitute a big strategic mistake for the future.

Though still one of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal and its 28 million residents will one day become an attractive market for many multinational enterprises. Today’s distressed residents of Nepal will long recollect the corporate brands that stepped forward in their moment of peril. Though business giving may seem un-strategic at the moment, that’s not only an uncompassionate way to think, it’s tactically shortsighted.

The U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck gave out Streptomycin for free to post-war Japan when it was ravaged by tuberculosis. Today, Merck has become one of the leading U.S. drug companies doing business in Japan.

During the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, American companies like medical and dental supplier Henry Schein and aluminum maker Alcoa came forward with materials and staffing. The immediate return on their investments will likely be nil, but that commitment will be long recalled in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Business giving when it seems least strategic in the moment will be the most strategic for the long term. With Nepal already devastated by the first earthquake and new aftershocks adding to the disaster, now is both an important time and a smart time for companies to step up the flow.

Out Of My Comfort Zone ~ Marie Hui

Out Of My Comfort Zone ~ Marie Hui

Arts and Crafts: Liberated Literature Project Overview

A briefing about a project called “Liberated Literature” to spread books from my personal library to readers around the world for their personal enjoyment & fulfillment.

All the books are proper literature and will include a library-like card instructing the bearer to Read it, Sign it, Share it. #davestory