Let me remember forever here some of the things I experienced at Word11, a unique blog convention held at Bathurst and Bloor in Toronto on August 27th 2011. It was 24hrs packed full of rare knowledge and information. I made some new friends and said hello to some old ones. But of course I couldn’t last 24 hrs. Personally, I don’t think I could stay awake for 24hrs if my life depended on it. And fortunately, it doesn’t. I went home at 10pm.
WORD11 Opening Ceremonies were at 9am on the top floor of the CSI, the Center for Social Innovation on Bathurst just south of Lennox (one street south of Bloor) which made it a very handy location for people commuting to the event by TTC. The green trees outside the wide open windows made the space very cheerful, bright and sunny and everyone was in a good mood. MyCityLives, Swapsity and StickerYou were all represented here.
At 9:30 am the show began – minus one speaker. Jim Pagiamtzis took over a session entitled How To Get Your Blog on TV and showed attendees some of the tricks he uses to get followers and provoke comments on his Jim Pagiamtzis blog which is about making wealth and finding happiness and being all that you can be using new technology; he writes a social media best-practices blog.
How to create an online community? Karim Kanji came to tell us that “…it’s not about the tools but the people.” Most recently, he helped found and is now a director at Third Ocean (http://thirdocean.com) which collaborates with big and small companies and helps them utilize online, digital and social tools to strengthen their business. Karim is also the co-founder of XConnectTO, which explores the impact of new media and technology on industry. You can follow Karim on Twitter @karimkanji
I spoke to the same audience minutes later – the crowd was was a unique blend of amateurs and experts. Annoyed with the layout of the room, I rearranged it to accommodate more people. Unfortunately I forgot to give my camera to someone in the back to get pictures, but I talked for forty minutes about Story Funnels to Buckstops and why multi-platform storytelling is standard Lenzr Ideology and one of the operating principles behind the Page One Program. This is how we distribute messages.
If someone has pictures of me talking at this event I’d love to see them and post one here.
Several of the bloggers got together afterwards and shared their hopes and dreams and ideas with each other over some pints at Victory Pub – which was an official sponsor of the event. The guy with the grey hat drinking the Steam Whistle is A.J. Morris who is living his dream as a Headway WordPress Themes designer / promoter. Headway is a premier WordPress theme and A.J. is a wealth of great information about past, present and future trends in web design. There were a few moments at that table, on that patio, in which we all debated not going back to the official show. The beer was tasting great and the ideas were flowing.
But the show must go on! Here’s John Kenyon, all smiles as he set up his tent for the Word11 night time sessions – his desk was a hotbed of activity when it became known that his company was donating two free Caribbean Cruises on a reputable cruise ship line for the best posts mentioning Absolute Tent and Event Services, and Its My Potty luxury portable toilets.
Here’s the official offer straight from John Kenyon,
Blog about your experience at WORD11 and you’ll have a chance to win one of two, 4 night/5 day Caribbean cruises for you and a guest.
The cruises are provided by Absolute Tent & Event Services and It’s My Potty and are valued at more than $1,200. They include all meals (yes, room service is covered!) and also feature Las Vegas-style entertainment.
To be eligible for this amazing giveaway, write a blog post about your experience at Word11, what you liked or didn’t like but be sure to include a link one or both of our generous sponsors, Absolute Tent & Event Services or It’s My Potty. If you attended the evening component you would have seen their support equipment everywhere.
Even if you missed the evening sessions be sure to give us your spin on the event and you just might be heading to the Caribbean this winter.
An expert panel will look at blog posts until September 10, which means you’ll have two weeks after WORD11 to get your blog entry posted.
In case you’re wondering, I cannot enter this challenge. I’m probably on the panel. John and Paul Kenyon‘s generosity reminds us that Absolute Tent and Events Services is Toronto’s best choice for party rentals and supplies.
Let’s not forget The Grasscutters‘ portable solar generator / equipment trailer, custom designed and built by Dan Shephard at Solarline Power. This unit ran the lights and powered the nighttime portion of the event. Here’s a terrible picture of me with Jim Pagiamtzis who looks even goofier.
TM Mahdi was the executor of the event and he never lost his cool, that I saw… Although its true his best laid plans went awry when folks were sent outside before it was properly set-up… TM had planned the presentations inside CSI to the minute, and he needed them to last the full duration to give him time to make ready all of the outdoor activities. It didn’t happen. More and more poeple came and joined my party at the Victory Pub. But TM persevered with his prep confident he’d regain his participants, and I brought everyone back at 8:30pm just as the sun was going down and the projectors carried images of the first evening presentations. At this point I was getting tired and really just wanted to go home, but I had to stay to watch Rob Cairns and then Dan Imbrogno share their secrets and ‘ Intermediate Plugin Development Techniques’, and I’m glad I stayed. They are both very knowledgeable speakers with well thought out presentations.
The night activities were more technical than the day time blog marketing and mobile celebrations. Rob Cairns’ WordPress Tips was fascinating and even more intriguing was when he was interrupted by a strange man who came onstage and needed to get his eBike out from behind the projector. This resident woke up to find this outdoor assembly beyond his living room window, shining a projector on his exterior home. Worse of course was that his ebike was center stage in Rob Cairn’s show! It was a moment to remember and so was everything Rob shared about Sexy Bookmarks and Back-Up Buddy.
It was a heck of a symposium. Word11 was about bloggers of all stripes sharing knowledge and inspiring each other.