Last week, on Friday and Saturday, June 15th-16th, we attended the Northern Voice 2012 conference for the first time: a two-day personal blogging and social media conference hosted at the W2 building in Vancouver, BC. In this blog post, we share some of our experience and thoughts including tips on what it was like being a part of this community for a weekend. This covers the first day on Friday.

Funky Northern Voice mascot

Technical Content: Canadian Copyrights and Free Speech & Legality of Linking

During the Canadian Copyright session by Martha Rans, we caught some interesting points. For example, there is a new bill coming through regarding Canadian Copyright laws: Bill C11, the changes are as of yet unknown, however, it is expected to expand copyright laws to include satire and parody among other things. One of the most tweeted comments was that the moment an idea is fixed (i.e. paint on a canvas, words written, site live, hosted and under a domain), it is covered under basic copyright laws without the need to register. If something is on the internet, it is not fair game to be used and is not automatically under public domain. Finally, most creators are not asking for monetary gain, on the other hand, creators would prefer being asked to converse with the people wanting to use their property. Another interesting fact is that copyright lasts the death of the creator plus 50 years. You have moral rights to your work in which these rights are “integrity,” meaning that your work cannot be distorted or changed, and with “paternity,” it means that you have the right to have your name credited on any of your work. One thing to be aware of is that infringement consists of a work being made to be substantially similar to another work. Judges look at these cases with the following in mind: same colours, shapes, and the meaning of the work. Following this session, one of the most interesting tidbit during the Free Speech & Legality of Linking by Jon Newton was that Wayne Crooke, member of the Green Party, attempted to have hyperlinking count as publishing an article, effectively banning hyperlinking in Canada. This case got to the Supreme Court but was then thankfully thrown out.

Creative Content: Improv and Blogging to Inspire

The Improv Me, Baby panel, included Nancy White, Alan Levine, and Rob Cottingham, kicked off with a lot energy as they all shouted instructions at us. Around the room upstairs in the W2, they had several signs with statements such as commit yourself, let go, or accept offers where the audience was instructed to stand by the one that scared them the most. Following that grouping, they led us into a vocal and non vocal exercise teaching us to work together and be creative. To my utmost surprised, I stood by Gillian Shaw, Vancouver Sun tech reporter, whom I had to the pleasure to meet last winter to talk about local non profits for youth education. Another creative exercise was the PechaFlickr where a group of volunteers all spoke for 20-seconds each on tugboats’ slides one-by-one. The randomness of the keyword made all the participants have to be creative on the spot – a brilliant idea to think quickly on your feet. The takeaway was for this community to continue practicing their blogging and social media skills, refine them and know that having a plan and a process is only part of the preparation when doing business or even blogging or social media, adding creativity into their work is essential to tapping into their imaginative thoughts to execute their plans.

The Blogging To Inspire panel, included Amber Strocel, Samantha Reynolds, Crystal Stranaghan, was full of great inspiring information through the panelists’ stories. One of the top regrets was not being authentic to yourself and on the flip side, an ongoing tip was to remain authentic. The theme of authenticity was heard throughout the entire conference and there was definitely a huge emphasis and reminder for bloggers to adhere to that trait. The women reminded everyone that nothing was perfect and to give your best shot each time especially as practicing is key in your growth of blogging, including dedication, discipline, courage, fun, passion and braveness; the list goes on. One of the most thought provoking comments was that anyone has a great story whether one knows it or not meaning that everyone has something to offer whether you’re a personal or business blog. In the end, blogging is about connecting.

Thought Provoking Content: Building Community through Passion, the Art of Crowdsourcing and Online Privacy

The afternoon sessions in the SFU Cinema were driven by passion, insights and wit and definitely created some of the biggest online buzz that day, starting with Yael Cohen on Using Personal Passion to Build Online Community which almost lit the room on fire. If you want to hear an authentic speaker, she is it. She kicked off by saying that youth especially Gen-Y was uniquely positioned to change the world. In her fight against cancer, she allows her own community to be vulnerable, and she goes on to bring up the importance of being authentic and raw. She’s asking for a change rather than money, and she clearly outlines that as an organization, you must go wherever your community is, and for her, it’s online. On a side note, you should note that if your client base isn’t online, then, you must re-assess your means of communication with your community. She shared some of the lessons that she’s learned along the way and her biggest and hardest lessons was to say “no, thank you.”

The next session by David Ng on Lessons Learnt in the Fine but Unpredictable Art of Crowdsourcing was very entertaining as well and every attendee seemed really engaged as laughter kept bursting through the entire hour. He described and shared several experiments and shared a list of tips. His list was very insightful and it is the following in order: just try it already, it’s okay to not take things too seriously, targeting a community is key, make the work easy, twee helps, influencers are handy, and finally, our personal favourite, do good. His talks were full of visuals, stats and stories that got everyone in the room tweeting interesting tidbits.

At the end of our day, we listened to Daniel Cowen on Did I really want you to know that? Privacy in the Social Media Age. He started off by sharing a story about one of his colleagues who crawled the internet to find out very specific information about a social media junkie in less than two hours. The list included things like her pet name, her mother’s maiden name, her address, her favourite restaurant and even her social security number — all things that a bank would ask for verification. He warned us how location based services while fun could be a potential threat to ourselves. If you’re using a geo-location app or you’re a heavy social media user, you must be very aware of your published content and also, how this could put you at risk depending on the situation. For example, a common tip was to not take pictures of your home and post them online as these are prime pieces of information for thieves to come rob your own house.

Special Offer for Northern Voice 2012 friends

How can we help you?

Now that we’ve shared a wealth of information with you, here’s the best part for all of our new Northern Voice 2012 friends including participants, speakers, organizers, volunteers and even the sponsors, if you’re looking to start a new blog, or maybe switch your domain(s), we’ll hook you up with a free hosting migration for up to one domain and we’ll even offer you up to 50% off on any hosting for up to a year. So, what are you waiting for? Let us help you get going on your blogging journey. It would be our pleasure to host you at Canadian Web Hosting. No pun intended. To take advantage of this offer, you can either leave a comment below or reach out to us through our social media channels like Twitter at @cawebhosting and/or via our Facebook page.

Finally, stay tuned for part two and in the meantime, remain authentic online because that will keep your content real and “winning” in the end.