Michelle Sullivan Communications

Social Networks : Modern day Knights of Columbus (or Loyal Orders of Water Buffaloes)

I spent part of a glorious Sunday afternoon this weekend sitting in an unusual place (for me) : a pew at the Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts church in the Laurentians. Curiosity had led me there. While I’d sat through countless Sunday masses as a child, this was the first time I would witness the ordination of a priest.

The whole process was very fraternal (emphasis mine). The novice, the Bishop and dozens of priests were led into the packed church by a plumed and caped group of older men I knew to be Knights of Columbus. While I’d never seen these men in full regalia, I knew immediately by their demeanor and costume who they were. For the uninitiated, the Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organisation. Akin to Fred Flintstone’s Loyal Order of  Water Buffaloes, if you will.

As I cursed myself for not having a fully charged iPhone with me for live tweeting and TwitPics, I sat back and reflected on the community I was observing before me. My mind eventually – inevitably – turned to social networking. Yes, I see everything (not really, but anyway), even the ordination of a priest, through a web 2.0 lens. I call it 2.0/2.0 vision.

I was watching a tribe in action. Two communities of men (the Knights, the priests) – mostly of an older generation – sharing similar values, a similar belief system and a relationship which is mutually beneficial. It’s not a stretch to imagine that members of the Sainte-Agathe chapter of the Knights of Columbus help one another and even refer business to one another. This is what we do when we’re part of a group of like-minded people. We refer people to those we know and we help other members of our tribe when we can.

Business groups are the same. On Facebook a few minutes ago, my cousin Dermot, an Irish photographer,  shared a Sunday Times article in which he’s featured. In the interview, he credits part of his business development success to Business Network International (BNI), an organisation that brings business owners from different disciplines together into a single group whose members refer their personal and professional contacts to one another.

Social networks, like LinkedIn, step in to provide a virtual way to cultivate and maintain business links. Today, I received a note from a colleague from a dozen or more years ago who is now a real estate agent looking for business.  Would I know anyone in the market for a house? I might decide to go out on the limb for him for any of a number of reasons — because I like him, because I see an opportunity for myself, or just because I’m nice. I’m not likely to do it, however,  if I don’t perceive him to be a member of my tribe.

No matter what form our business networking takes, the glue that holds it all together is the concept of tribe.

As we build our LinkedIn profiles, join Facebook discussion groups or join a hashtag-ed discussion on Twitter, we’d all be wise not to lose sight of the fact that human relationships remain at the cornerstone of it all.

Open File – journalism, wide open

This new journalism project by Wilf Dinnick has piqued my interest (piqued being a giant understatement). Definitely one to add to your Google Reader:

Welcome to the beginnings of OpenFile.ca, a new voice for local news.

We are warming up, getting ready to unveil our website in just two weeks. We promise to provide smart, original, insightful stories about the places and topics that matter most to the people of Toronto.

For me, OpenFile represents a fresh chapter in my journalism career, which began more than 20 years ago in this city. As a video journalist at CBC Television, I was the night reporter, handling breaking local news – going live here, whipping over there for an interview.

After working in all of Canada’s national network newsrooms, I became the Middle Eastern correspondent for ABC News, then an international correspondent for CNN. I reported from Africa, Asia, North America and all over the Middle East. I covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tsunamis and civil conflicts. These were big stories, but they taught me that all news starts as local news.

Over the past few years I’ve watched the news business change dramatically. Big media companies have struggled to figure out how to adapt to the way people are getting their news in the digital age. My biggest fear was that real journalism, stories that affect you and your community, would get lost as traditional news outlets scrambled to come up with a quick fix that would lure back their dwindling audiences.

We are not trying to replace daily newspapers or newscasts. We do not have the answer to all the questions that are keeping journalists like us awake at night. But we believe that journalism cannot evolve without input from you, the reader, so we’re trying something different. At OpenFile, readers can collaborate with our reporters and editors, creating a place for great storytelling to flourish.

When I returned to Canada last year, I got together a group of journalists and clever web thinkers and developers whom I admired. We spent months huddled over our kitchen tables, scribbling on Post-it notes, arguing and eating a lot of takeout before agreeing on this approach.

We asked some smart venture capital people to help develop a business plan. We did the « finance dance » for about five months and raised some money. We moved into an old factory in Toronto’s west end, and here we are.

We’ll start by doing one thing – local news – and doing it well. The internet is full of aggregators powered by search engines that spit out the same story over and over. We’re not like that. We’ll assign real reporters to cover the developments that affect your communities and neighbourhoods.

Toronto is our start.

This will be your site! Think of it as a work in progress, because we want to know how you feel about what we’re doing.

Founding Editor and CEO


Webinaire Les Affaires PME inter-entreprises: j’y participerai

Le 12 mai prochain, j’aurai le plaisir d’animer le panel Les Affaires PME inter-entreprises : Optimisez votre développement des affaires sur le web avec Simon Hénault et Stéphanie Kennan. L’activité débute à 12h30.

Nous traiterons les sujets suivants :

– comment bâtir une stratégie de marketing efficace
– pourquoi donnez au suivant vous permet de recevoir au tournant
– pourquoi tous les médias sociaux ne sont pas tous nés égaux
– comment profiter du triple avantage de LinkedIn
– les 8 facteurs de succès du marketing social
– votre «to-do list» à mettre en application dès demain

Une discussion qui s’annonce très intéressante. Plus de 125 personnes, dont bon nombre de présidents de PME et autres gestionnaires d’entreprises ont déjà confirmé leur présence.

Inscrivez vous en ligne.

Tourisme 2.0: Sorel-Tracy propose ‘La meilleure job d’été au monde’

Après Tourisme Montréal et Tourisme Mauricie, voilà que Sorel-Tracy se lance dans l’aventure de la promotion touristique à la saveur 2.0 avec l’appui du journaliste techno Dominic Arpin.

Inspirée par l’initiative Best Job in the World de Queensland en Australie, la campagne La meilleure job d’été au monde invite les internautes à s’inscrire à un concours pour devenir le reporteur-blogueur qui fera connaître la région par la vaste proportion de touristes qui magasinent maintenant leurs vacances en ligne. L’heureux élu se méritera la jolie somme de 40 000$ et se verra équipé d’un Macbook Pro, d’une Canon T2i, d’une caméra vidéo et d’un iPhone.

Pour participer au concours, les internautes doivent produire une capsule vidéo et la diffuser sur YouTube. Le nombre de vues et de votes figurent parmi les critères de sélection.

Trois finalistes se déplaceront vers Sorel-Tracy et produiront une série de vidéos pendant leur séjour. Une véritable audition qui me rappelle la Course Destination-Monde.

Sorel-Tracy n’est peut-être pas aussi sexy que Queensland, mais cette campagne? Oh que oui.

Je suivrai avec grand intérêt.