Tag Archives: green

Coordinating toes & bath minerals

happyfrog moves on – Wrap-up of thanks and such

Cross-posted at: happyfrog Evolves from Small Amphibian to Mighty Mammal – Say hello to 3rd Whale

A busy year in the pond

Since launching happyfrog.ca just over a year ago, the small band of eco-minded renegades worked hard to help sustainability-focused businesses and organizations gain valuable exposure on the web, and in close conjunction with this effort, help green-minded consumers find these great biz’es and orgs.

Over this year, my colleagues and I attended all sorts of trade shows, conferences, meet-ups, presentations and camps to spread the message of sharing eco-smarts with your community. Indeed, we found great joy in seeing the positive impact we’ve made on green entrepreneurs and shoppers alike.

Evolution to a swimming mammal

Now, change is upon us. happyfrog has made friends with a pod of whales and announces happyfrog.ca has merged with 3rd Whale. This business merger means happyfrog.ca as we all know it will change significantly. Think of it as an evolution from a small amphibian to a giant mammal (and Darwin celebrates!).

The company will go forward as 3rd Whale with the aim of combining the happyfrog directory and social networking platform with 3rd Whale’s
mobile application (to be released for iPhone on in November, followed by Android and Blackberry versions) to markets down the West coast of North America, and to the world (and beyond! ;-).

Big Thanks

For happyfrog to grow as fast as it did was not easy but … we’ve had a constellation of collaborators helping build the vision.

Technical helpers:

Frog squadders

Thanks also go to all the business owners who came to our focus groups, purchased ads, claimed their listings, spoke on a podcast, and said “thanks for helping us succeed”!

Same for the groups who invited us to speak at events and share this small revolution including Globe’s EPIC SustainableLiving Expo who which whom we put on an epic (heh) social media experimentat Canada Place (creating tons of creative commons’ content to support growing businesses), Shared Vision magazine for having our back in print, and Deirdre Rowland for getting us in the news and on the tube.

And most especially … thanks to *you* for showing up, reading our thoughts, sharing your knowledge, posting reviews, giving us a link, using the widget, and making our collective environment a little greener, and a little more fun. It would be lonely around here if you weren’t here. Truly, Thank You.

More about 3rd Whale and happyfrog

happyfrog founder (and independent media veteran), Ron Williams points out, “We couldn’t hope for a better partner than 3rd Whale – besides being values aligned, the “whales” bring technical and business skills to the table which help reach a larger audience and make change on a truly global scale.”

So, what does this mean for you?

dave says thanks

You’ll see the site as you know it undergo a renovation and re-branding, you’ll see tens-of-thousands of new listings in new cities added (great for travelers too!), and you’ll see more tools coming out to help you share your eco-smarts with “pod mob” campaigns, mentoring programs, and reviews on-the-go with your smart phone.

Stay tuned for news about how your directory listings will change, blog posts will migrate and any changes to your account info – 3rd Whale will continue to respect both your privacy, and the time investment, you’ve put into happyfrog.ca.

I am truly grateful for your involvement in happyfrog.ca.

Your Greenly,

Dave Olson, Community Manager (emeritus)

B.C. Green Web Community Adds New Ways to Share

Attention BC-based eco-savvy folks, Vancouver-based web community start-up – happyfrog.ca – releases social networking features for green minded enthusiast to share tips and reviews of local businesses and organizations.

In the beginning, happyfrog.ca was created to help green-minded citizens find businesses and organizations which fit their values and displayed the results sorted by proximity to conserve transportation resources.

Then, happyfrog invited the public to add reviews to the thousands of listings, as well as engage in a community Q&A project to share tips and solve problems.

Now, all the frogs can “auto-magically” share their green favourites with the public with Myhappyfrog. Here’s the low-down …

Sharing your eco-smarts

Meet daveo

All registered happyfrog members now automatically have a Myhappyfrog page with a unique address to share with friends.

Once you login to your happyfrog page, you’ll see all the reviews, questions & answers, and blog posts you’ve submitted so far.

To see the new page, just click “Myhappyfrog” on the happyfrog navigation bar – Your personal address looks something like mine: http://happyfrog.ca/user/daveo

Meet the new tools!

Show off your favourites

see my happyfrogYou can add any listing as a “favourite” and share your preferred coffee shop, yoga studio, or market with the public – handy for you and useful for others. Add a badge to your blog or site to let people know about your happyfrog page with all your faves.

Meet new friends

See daveo's friends

Outreach to talented, interesting people seeking to exchange tips, share best practices, or get involved in new activities. Add your pals and see their blog posts and other content right on your happyfrog page.

Write a blog article

Have something to say? Step up and let it out on your happyfrog blog. You’ll have an instant audience, a unique address and RSS feed, and your best stuff will be promoted to the “Frogblog” for even more readers (and accolades).

Share your knowledge

daveo's blogs, reviews and answers

Your brilliantly written reviews, probing questions and wise answers are now grouped together on your personal page to show off your wisdom and show people your contributions for fame and fortune.

Haven’t written anything yet? Getting started is easy – you just need something to say!

Getting Started

Check out the Myhappyfrog help desk with annotated screenshots and step by step instructions to use each of the new tools.

What’s next?

Many “frogs” and listed businesses and groups already have a blog, and some bloggers only write about happyfrog relevant content on occasion, so we are crafting a way to import your feed and display on your Myhappyfrog page or directory listing page.

Also on the list is personal tagging to help finds frogs with similar interests. Stay tuned and of course, we love hearing your opinion.

Thanks for your help

We appreciate your help reporting bugs and oddities so we can make your experience even better. Drop happyfrog a note with your observations and thoughts.

Talking happyfrog and Greening Planet Earth – Evolution Radio, 2008

Nick Kempinski from Evolution Radio 107.9 (run by students at BCIT) interviews happyfrog.ca’s Community Manager Dave Olson for the Planet Earth show.

Topics include the ways happyfrog helps green businesses and organizations, ways to get involved in greening the planet, as well as Dave’s background as a traveler, writer and activist.

Hop into Dave Olson talking happyfrog on Planet Green show on Evolution Radio (3:02, 5MB, .mp3)

Going green together online – Happyfrog in North Shore News

oly coffee roasters in the sky grotto{Re-posted from North Shore News on Canada.com for educational and archival use.}

Going green together online – Happy Frog directory helps green businesses connect
by Rosalind Duane Special To North Shore News – Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dave Olson is declaring war on paper coffee cups.

“And this is coming from a guy who loves his coffee and hates remembering to take one of those travel mugs, hates remembering to rinse it out and hates remembering to clean it,” he says.

Olson notes that the switch is on to cloth shopping bags, and organic foods, but paper coffee cups and plastic water bottles still need to be done away with.

Five years ago, Olson, a North Vancouver resident, says he got funny looks when he used his own canvas bag for grocery shopping, but these days, options other than the ubiquitous and environmentally unfriendly plastic bags are popping up all over the place. Similarly, 10 years ago, it was difficult to find fair-trade, organic coffee, but that has also changed.

Along with consumers, businesses both big and small are also paying more attention to sustainable practices. It is getting easier (read cheaper) for companies to change their internal practices to include measures such as office recycling, and to offer incentives to employees to walk to work or carpool.

For the past 10 years, Olson has been working in online marketing and has noticed a definite shift in the way business is being done; even big-box stores are highlighting their “green” features.

“It shows that big companies are following the little companies, which is a real big paradigm shift really because 20 years ago, 10 years ago, that certainly wasn’t the case,” he says.

While working in the business world, Olson has also been taking pictures and writing blogs in support of his passion for the environment. About six months ago, he joined in the creation of an online green business directory called Happy Frog.

He says the opportunity to help develop what he calls a “green community” allowed him to put some structure around the grassroots journalism that he was doing.

“We’re really hosting the community conversation about these green and sustainability minded topics,” he says of the directory, which lists various environmental and sustainable-minded businesses from across the province. While the idea for Happy Frog started out as a directory, it has evolved to include reviews and tips from users, and piece by piece, more interactive elements have been added. Olson and his team have also gathered a group of non-professional writers and photographers to attend the upcoming Epic Sustainable Living Expo and report back to the site with photos, stories and podcasts. He says the website is the “social media partner” for the fair, and he wants to profile vendors that may not otherwise be featured in the mainstream media.

Olson notes that over the years as he has been attending and reporting on wellness fairs as a hobbyist, he has learned that by telling stories and letting people know each other’s points of view a lot of progress can be made.

Letting businesses in on the conversation is another aspect of the directory that Olson is excited about. Once listed in the directory, business owners can access their listing and add their own blog. Olson says beyond regular print ads, the online blogs allow business owners to be “authentic” and tell their story.

Each business chosen to be included on the website has to be B.C.-based and has to fit into one of the Happy Frog categories, which include Arts and Culture, Eco Travel, Food and Beverage, Fashion and Beauty and more. Olson and his team then look at what the company is selling and make sure that the company is at least making an effort toward sustainability practices.

“The other big requirement is that they are willing to say publicly, ‘We’re trying to get better. We’re trying to learn how to be sustainable,'” explains Olson.

He adds that the vendors listed may still have improvements to make, but just because the owners aren’t walking to work and wearing recycled burlap for clothes, the business can still be considered.

“We want to be inclusive and help people make those first couple of critical steps.”

Olson says although it’s easy to get cynical about the amount of change that still needs to occur, every little bit helps.

“The little changes beget bigger changes and really snowballs into all of a sudden you find yourself eating organic, shopping with bags, not taking that paper coffee cup, and if we reach a critical mass of people doing that all of a sudden real positive change happens. So it’s really a shift in thinking and habits that starts small and gets bigger,” he explains, adding that his hope for the website is to get people communicating in an authentic, honest manner about environmental issues.

For more information, visit the Happy Frog website at www.happyfrog.ca.

© North Shore News 2008

{NOTE: Re-posted from North Shore News on Canada.com for educational and archival use.}

{Note: Photo by DaveO added to article – did NOT appear in the NS news article}