A Love Letter to Podcamp Halifax

Dear Podcamp,

It has been so many Januaries now, that I’ve come to anticipate your glowing presence. Although I was unable to attend the 2018 iteration, I am hoping that my attendance and volunteering this year will more than compensate.

I have been attending Podcamp since its inception; each year another opportunity to build community virtually and face-to-face with so many bright and brilliant individuals working across the digital landscape.

The first year I attended Podcamp (and its first year being held in Halifax), I had lived in Nova Scotia for only two short months. I was working for Symphony Nova Scotia who had tasked me with “figuring out Twitter” and so I thought it a good opportunity to learn a little more about social media and marketing opportunities.

I didn’t know anyone, nor did I know the city. I sat awkwardly alone in the hallway of Alderney Landing during lunch — unsure about where to venture in search for food and too shy to introduce myself to anyone. But, I had been captivated and learned enough to feel compelled to return for a second year.

In year two, I invited someone I only knew through blogging and Twitter. This time she was the newcomer to town — having only moved to NS herself that summer. It was the first time I bridged the virtual-IRL divide and what a pay off that leap had for me. Not only do I still consider her a friend, but she introduced me to another with whom I’ve been able to connect in profoundly important, personal ways. My community was growing richer still.

Over the next few years I came to anticipate Podcamp with a vigour nearing that of Christmas morning. As I bounded from session to session, I unabashedly exclaimed “hey! I follow you on Twitter!” as a truly under-appreciated but highly-effective ice breaker.

On one occasion I saw a cluster of attendees from my workplace. There were individuals from a few different departments, including a faculty member or two and a couple of students. (I guess I missed the memo.) They were clearly there for business purposes. Admittedly, I did receive the requisite nod of recognition and a “hello” but there was no invitation to join the cohort.

I didn’t belong with them. I didn’t belong with them but it was okay because I did belong at Podcamp. Podcamp is for everyone.

Now when I attend Podcamp I recognize so many faces from online interactions and real-life friendships. Beyond that, I feel the kinship with even those whom I don’t recognize because I know we share a passion for something that is an integral part of Podcamp. It extends beyond a love for social media and online business and into a real bringing together those who seek to make connections and actively participate in Community.

I try to emulate this intangible magic in other aspects of my online work (like through hosting BlogJam for bloggers of Atlantic Canada), but know that you, Podcamp, are the impetus for it all. Through the noise of the new and shiny and promises of something “we’ve never had before,” we have you.

Thank you to the Podcamp Halifax organizers for their steadfast devotion to building this event. Your efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. I know that there’s someone attending who was in my shoes that first year. So, thank you for creating and nurturing a space for that person to belong.

See you soon, #PodcampHFX



Jammed: A Post-BlogJam Jumble #BlogJam2015

One week ago I was beside myself. I was wired with nervous energy and spending sleepless nights with my fingers crossed just hoping that BlogJam would all come together. I was lying in bed reviewing mental checklists: speaker cards, signs, badges, emails, volunteer names, registration list, lunch list, list list, list list list. It was anticipatory chaos.

The vibes that fueled my anxiety, thankfully, also kept me buzzing throughout the weekend; first tying up lose ends on Saturday and then carrying me through the event on Sunday. And, oh, my friends, what an event it was.

BlogJam-Colour-400x267You’ll have to forgive my absence from Halitrax over the last month, but, as you probably can tell, I was utterly consumed with the planning of BlogJam 2015. You might remember previous posts when BlogJam was still just a glimmer of an idea— just a twinkle in our eyes. Well, after almost a year of planning, that twinkle sparked into a full and enlightening day of, for, and all about blogging. It was, if you can excuse the lack of modesty, a complete f##king success.

Rather than spend time talking about the “what” and the “where” and all the standard event-planning logistics (which I encourage you to read here), I wanted to just write a note about what BlogJam meant to me. As I spent the week processing all that had conspired, I found myself having difficulty deciding what aspect I wanted to focus on once I finally came to blog about the event. Ultimately, though, I think I’d like to share more on my personal “why.”

If you’ve followed Halitrax for any length of time you’ll know that my primary reason for immersion in the weird and wonderful world of social media is to build community. (If you’d like to know more of my thoughts on community building, I suggest this post from last fall.) When I joined the BlogJam planning committee, it was with the hopes that I would continue to contribute, both to my own personal sense of community, but also to the thriving and ever-growing blogging community that already exists in our region.

Perhaps, in the most perceivable sense, the way in which BlogJam “contributed” was by helping to identify and showcase the key players in the blogging community. Much to my satisfaction, with a vision of inclusion, the “key players” were each and every individual with an interest in participating. Ultimately, this resulted in sheer enthusiasm and a willingness to share and engage, both prior to and during BlogJam itself, as well continuing indefinitely. Those who attended have embraced our invitation to share their post-Jam thoughts by linking their blog posts on our FB page or tagging @BlogJam on Twitter, or by using the #BlogJam2015 hastag. It’s been amazing to hear participant feedback through the unique voice and presentation of each contributor’s blog.

InstaJAMOn a very personal level, my own sense of immediate community has grown richer by working with the wonderful, skilled, and brilliant women who were also on the planning committee. Christine, Renée, and Kerra are incredibly supportive and empowering teammates and, more importantly, so much FUN.

Stay tuned for future posts (with the best of intentions) on how we worked to have BlogJam be inclusive and environmentally-responsible, and how it was even feminist (without people noticing!).

Please read what others had to say about BlogJam by following their shared posts here.

And if any of you missed it, mark your calendars for BlogJam 2016, coming at you next fall.


BlogJam is happening and YOU are invited!

You might recall a while back when I was testing the waters for a blog conference to take place here in Halifax.


goodnewseveryone-professor_zpsd9f36e14We are all set for you to join us at BlogJam 2015! Taking place Sunday, October 4th, 2015, in the heart of downtown Halifax at the Harbourfront Marriott Hotel, BlogJam will be an opportunity for bloggers from Atlantic Canada to engage with one another face-to-face and to share experiences and expertise related to blogging through meaningful dialogue.

BlogJam-Colour-400x267If you have any interest in blogs as a blogger, a blog-reader, or a blog-partner, then I encourage you to check our our website and register to attend.

BlogJam is going to be inclusive to anyone who wants to participate. This means that there will be no fee to attend, but rather we have a Coffee Karma suggested donation of $5 for those who register. The donation will be used to cover the costs of coffee and tea served during the breaks of the event. (I’ll talk more about our commitments to inclusion etc, in a future post.)

We have limited space for presenters and participants so I suggest that you secure your spot soon. If you have any questions about the event or would like to know more about being a presenter, feel free to comment on this post or click the “contact us” link on the BlogJam website.

I know I speak for my co-planners (Christine Larade, RH Downs, and social media guru, Kerra Aucoin) when I say that we are VERY excited to be hosting this event. Halifax (and Atlantic Canada) has such an amazingly rich and diverse pool of bloggers. It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to meet and share with one another at the event.

Stay tuned for future posts on our keynotes, program, how to get involved, and more!