Archive for the 'Toronto' Category

Nikki Fotheringham at Green Moxie in Toronto

in Activism, Blogging, Culture Blogger, farm blog and Toronto


Closed

Nikki Fotheringham blog, Green Moxie, content marketingNikki Fotheringham is Green Moxie, evironmental bloggerNikki Fotheringham is a friend of mine. I met her the day I almost hired her, and I reckon we’re still friends today because I didn’t. I took one look at her resume and knew she was too good for my action. It was on that day she intrigued me and caught my attention with her ideas about measuring personal impact; she confessed to me in our first meeting how she was affected by a personal obsession to calculate her impact on things, on people, and on the environment.

Green Moxie is a reminder that there is no Planet B. Nikki dedicates herself to the outward presentation of this blog to raise awareness about everyone’s impact on nature – individuals and communities can make a difference, and in turn can be affected by larger or smaller bodies with compelling ideas and examples of positive change.

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito,” African ProverbNikki Fotheringham explains Green Moxie to African VillagersNikki Fotherham grew up an independent headstrong daughter of a professional athlete in South Africa. She was a bookworm, but not a geek. She was a track and field star, a marathon runner that no boy could catch, and no parent could contain. She grew up in Johannesburg and studied Philosophy in university. A wonderful subject to behold and debate, she loved the program, but it was almost impossible to get a job upon graduation. Nikki’s first break was as a receptionist at a computer software company, and she hated that position. Instead of changing plans or perhaps quenching her fiery temperament, Nikki soon quit that job and made some radical changes to her career path; she writes “…as a true student of Philosophy, I decided it was the fabric of society that was at fault, so I gave it all up and moved to a hippie commune in the Drakensberg; a remote mountainous area in South Africa. The scenery was breathtaking and I reveled in my self-imposed asceticism. These were the days dreams are made from! With plenty of sunshine our little band of rag-tag gypsies sitting on the banks of the river that ran past the front of our rambling farm house, I really can’t remember how we managed to feed all five of us and a baby – we never really seemed to work. I bought the local video store…” Nikki Fotheringham

Green Moxie, Nikki Fotheringham in Venice Italy, blogger Nikki also typeset the local monthly newspaper which was antique but she loved the newspaper the most and so, when the commune disbanded after four fun years, she headed back to the big city of Durban where she took up a part-time position at the Natal Mercury – a local newspaper. It was her first foray into professional journalism and she was hooked. After gaining some recognition, Nikki discovered she was really employable and she soon got a full time position working at a home magazine called the HomeGuide. It was a great job and eventually she became the editor. After saving up her money, Nikki embarked on a world tour and she met her husband Ian while teaching English in Korea. She was 29 yrs old. Nikki Fotheringham the South Africa girl with Green Moxie blog in Mexico jungle Ian is from Canada and he’s is currently in his last year of a Sustainable Energy and Building Technology diploma at Humber College. He has Green Moxie. Eight years after they were married the couple worked all over the world in many different vocations – Korea, Taiwan, Kuwait, Oman and Frankfurt Germany. During that time she traveled through the United States, central and North America, all through Asia, to India and Nepal, the Middle East and, during one memorable year, drove the entire length of Africa. The environment has always been core to Nikki Fotheringham’s existence and those memories are the body of experiences she draws upon as upon today, as a much-sought-after environmental writer, and she works almost exclusively for a Jib Strategic content marketing company in Toronto who specializes in raising awareness for products designed for the green building industry. Her reward is seeing the new building products and services she extols become successful in the marketplace, and she takes great satisfaction in her own Green Moxie, her push to change the world one blog post at a time.

Post by Robert Campbell on Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013


Anum Khan and James Rubec, PB&J Mag in different parts of Canada

in Canadian pop culture, Culture Blogger, Fashion Blogger, humourist, NWT, Photography, Toronto and Web Designer


Closed

PB&J

Like the sandwich that is its namesake, this is a quick, tasty and unpretentious blog.  Its bulk – or the bread is in its commitment to quality content which chronicles local/world events and lifestyles in a down to earth tone. The protein – or peanut butter – is the hearty substance behind provocative articles like Three stories that prove racism is alive and well or A grave undertaking.  Last but not least, the flair – that’s the jam – of this online gem is in its entertainment and product reviews, recommendations and musings on the good old days, like When Tim Hortons took only cash.  Individually, the ingredients themselves are humble, but when they come together they create something that is nutritious, delicious and leaves you wanting more.

James Rubec and Anum KhanPB&J Mag is a lifestyle/ political/ social/ scientific/Canadiana blog that aims to “turn frowns upside down and get brains moving.” Founded by Anum Khan and James Rubec, both professional writers and marketers who have an aptitude for unique and buzz-worthy topics, PB&J is a general interest blog full of tips, recipes and useful information. The blog is uniquely Canadian: Anum, a coffee expert, lives in the heart of metropolitan Toronto, where she works as a social media marketer for Spark Internet Marketing Corporation in the biggest and busiest city in the country.  James, a photographer, lives several hundred kilometres below the Arctic Circle in Yellowknife, NWT, where he works in advertising for Kellett Communications Inc.

Anum loves cupcakes and James is into quilting; their interests and skills, which are alike and disparate simultaneously, fuse together to form a blog that is in turns funny, relevant and thought-provoking.

Yellowknife's Beer BargePB&J offers its readers insight into the diversity of Canadian geography and culture. For example, Toronto, often referred to as the New York of Canada, is a far cry from Yellowknife, which, situated so far up North, enjoys summer days where the sun never sets. “This isn’t the Yukon, the story isn’t about the Klondike gold rush that brought fools to stampede to their deaths for hope of riches,” James writes of the Northwest Territories. “It is a story of a community building something from nothing; on and under the hardest land in the world that was and is surrounded by untamed wilderness with winters that are maddeningly long and cold. If the story of the Yukon is about personal exploration and the great gamble that is life, then Yellowknife’s is about balanced risk and teamwork.” James’ posts about life in the NWT, such as Yellowknife’s Beer Barge, contrast between Anum’s coverage of events in the big city such as restaurant openings and Fashion Week. Writes James, “Cities have larger parties, with better beer served in bigger bottles, but they’ll never have an ounce of the unity that has been built in Yellowknife with gold, stone and heart.”

NHL lockout should be stopped by HarperIn addition to recipes from James and product review from Anum, you can count on PB& J to express opinions on politics in posts like NHL lockout should be stopped by Harper (“Why should the government stand by while important money for municipalities, charities and low-income workers is left idly sitting in the arguments of rich whining babies?”), Bruce Mau Design insults all of North America (“Canada has so much to do with Seth Rogen as the United States does with Michael Phelps. You can’t pin a nation on an individual as emblematic, you can only pin the nation on the individual as a factoid.”) and Republicans, Liberals and One Good Book (“I’m jealous of the power that voters actually have in America. I hope Americans feel lucky to be able to vote for their district attorneys, sheriffs and senators. Canadians are lucky if they have a chance to vote for someone once a year.”)

PB&J Mag offers both masculine and feminine perspective, urban and boonies, world news and Canadian content. Since both writers have a background in marketing, these two bloggers are great role models for people just starting out. There aren’t any gimmicks on PB&J; it’s good content on white bread to satisfy the soul.


Deb Lewis Blogs About Events in Toronto

in Blogging, Culture Blogger, event blogger, Ontario and Toronto

Deb Lewis of Toronto City Events, blog bannerDeb Lewis Toronto City Events blog sponsor charityDeborah Lewis runs an upscale event planning business in downtown Toronto. On average she designs, promotes and executes between thirty five and fifty of the city’s biggest and most memorable occasions each year, and she blogs about it and posts pictures on Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. Her blog gives readers the pertinent details and more – it shares a precious inside look at the makings of each happenstance.

DebLewis.ca is the home of an expert party planner and web savvy event promoter. This thirty something woman writes about parties, past present and future. The blog is rich with event summaries wherein she wraps up the best stories with photos and anecdotal accounts of Toronto roof food and music, and any outstanding memories. She writes about celebrity chefs and musicians, politicians, charities and of course the charismatic people that attend these events. She tweets her blog posts, and has an engaged Facebook following. Deb’s digital presence adds a lot of value to her events; the sponsors benefit from blog links, Facebook likes and social media ‘klout’.

Toronto City Events Logo As the founder and owner of Toronto City Events, Lewis shares her insights and her discoveries and successes using the web to promote events. When she speaks at gatherings, she can fill a room with people eager to hear her secrets.

Deborah started blogging four years ago because she was curious about this new trend and wanted a more candid less business vehicle to connect with people. She was enjoying reading other local blogs and felt it would be an interesting movement to experience writing her own. And of course she identified blogging as a key tool to complement her business communications.

Deb Lewis of Toronto City Events at Lenzr partyWhat are the results? Deb relates that immediately after starting her blog she found she was hearing more feedback from participants about the events. People were leaving comments and coming to Facebook to tag themselves in pictures. She also heard more stories and more opinions about hers and other people’s events which helped her develop better programming, but also helped increase her web and online marketing skills as she learned to respond to these queries and quips and compliments.

Deb’s most read posts are the ones that are most informative. She wrote a piece about the bars that stay open till 4am during the Toronto Film Festival that was retweeted constantly in September by the Toronto Twitterati and became a big hit with thousands of readers during TIFF and after.

Another popular post is The Beer Boutique in Liberty Village and that’s partly because the headline is phrased to resemble the search term that everyone types into Google when seeking this elusive location . It was also well shared on Facebook and Twitter around that locality. Some posts in Deb’s blog are made of what she calls ‘cultivated content’ and by that she means that her interns write the pieces from scripts that she finds or creates. Deb writes ‘…some stories I write 100%, where others I provide the framework and have the final edits and touches.’ Managing creative interns is difficult and this sentence hints at her process.

Deb Lewis with Camera at EventWhat’s in the future? More blog content and the domain will be expanding to include more rich media, more videos and podcasts. And the blog will be getting a face lift in 2012. But more substantially Deb wants to streamline the style of the posts to include more event tips and resources for people who are attending, and more content will be made available for folks who are “…interested in my area of expertise, and ideas for planning and promoting events. We’ve become a resource for what events are happening in Toronto and provide people with insights into how these events are created.”


Nora Camps, Business Storyteller in Toronto

in Blogging, Culture Blogger, farm blog, food blog, gardening, Ontario, Painter, Personal Blog, Toronto and visual arts

business storyteller, Nora Camps blog, Strategy and Design, web marketingbusiness storyteller, Nora Camps blog, Strategy and Design, web marketingNora Camps is a graphic designer, web marketing strategist and fine arts painter living and working in Toronto, Ontario. She is one of the two principals of Duo Strategy and Design, a cost effective business storytelling company with a green mandate; they’re bent on changing the world one project at a time. Nora’s blog is filled with insights into the business of being an artist and her struggle to make change and remedy societal malaise through art and interaction.

Duo Strategy and Design Blog is chock full of rare and precious wisdom from a professional artist that runs a marketing company for A list clients. She helps the greenest institutions in Canada demonstrate their innovations and environmentalism with amazing print publications and high concept websites. Her portfolio of business stories inspires other artists and imbues her own blog with status and authority.

Her diction and prose are easy to read, and her text is emotionfull; each blog post is a story. In just about every dispatch the reader can glimpse Nora’s humanity, especially when she writes about life in Toronto, or her escapes to the country. She writes, I love Toronto, grit and all. When I’m not in the city I can be found in the country and sometimes join Terry, in his Skybolt, to fly over the countryside.

Imagineering is a word created by Disney, but co-opted by Nora Camps. Her vision embraces any use of imaginative narrative to realize, create, or catalyze in real life the potentials we are imagining. It often involves complete stories, in any form. But it can also involve one or more story elements — metaphors, images, themes, perspectives, conflicts, problems, questions, goals, knowledge, possibilities, and imagined characters, situations, plots, events, resolutions, dialogue, etc.

Imagineers use these story elements consciously to inspire and guide people to reshape their consciousness, their lives, and their social and physical circumstances.

Nora has a unique storytelling process that she executes for corporations which I want to share here,

Step 1 – Buy-in, decide who will sit at the table. Listen and learn stories.

Step 2 – Draft the story

Step 3 – Diction – refine the language, syntax, tone and perspective.

Step 4 – Test the story tell the story, develop launch plan, creative brief, speaking notes, and syntax.

Step 5 – Map the story, grow the story, share the Final Brand Story as many ways as possible

Nora laughs at something opening night of Sarayu gallery exhibit, paintingsOn being a blogger, Nora writes, I have discovered that in order to move forward through life, as opposed to simply standing still, I must live consciously. Writing about my adventures of thought and deed seem to propel me forward and the connections have produced very cool new products, client projects and paintings.

Nora tells me that she gets a lot of feedback on her blog posts. People email her and ask questions because they are looking for experts on some subject. Some folks respond to blog posts in comments to say that her thoughts have helped them or encouraged them to write more, to blog, to journal, or to question something.Nora writes, To me, questioning why something is happening is important to growth. For business, zeroing in on their biggest obstacles produces the fastest wins – that is asking: This is our biggest problem – why is it happening? All my stories transcend life, business, and art.

A conversation is always better. business storytellingNora doesn’t get involved in online debates, or flame wars. She doesn’t even respond to comments that are filled with obvious negativity. She will publish all comments however, unless they are profane or spam, but she won’t get into bickering matches with her readers, She writes, Blogging must never be bashing. Sometimes a comment about local politics takes on a life of it’s own. Time is short. I do not wish to waste my time ruminating on the minutia. Online is not the place for a debate. A conversation is always better.

Probably the best thing that Nora ever did for society with her blog was Mugs With Frames – Portrait of a City. The project was done to demonstrate that the people of Toronto are friendly. She blogged about this ambitions first and asked for stories. “Thank you to everyone who shares their opinion with me.” Nora writes, “I treasure your opinions”.

Here is a brief look at Nora’s work as a fine arts painter,

Readers can follow Nora on Twitter @NoraCamps and they can see all her artwork on NoraCamps.com

Sarayu is a river in India

SARAYU is the name of a river in India. It is the name of a spirit, and sometimes it’s the name for wind that catches you by surprise. Women are comfort givers, they are life and energy givers and in their actions they channel the spirit of the creator. They are representative of the holy spirit, though not necessarily as chronicled in the scriptures, but more specifically they are all that is warm, loving, gentle, kind and refreshing – SARAYU is every woman in every circumstance all over the world

With an eye on the future, Nora hopes to make her blog more perfect by making it a little less cerebral, and even easier to read and digest. She takes a camera with her everywhere now, to best capture one-of-kind original pictures that are life’s fleeting moments. Nora wants her blog to be the entry point for people learning about her web storytelling company. In her words, “DUO does really cool projects – because of who we are and how we learn and live and synthesize. It’s a continuous circle. The blog is an important and obvious contributor to the process.”


Mark Goodfield, The Blunt Bean Counter

in Financial blog, niche blogs, Ontario, Scholar, Teacher and Toronto

The Blunt Bean Counter logo

Blunt Bean Counter, Mark Goodfield is a tax expert and author of a tax blog.

Mark Goodfield is a Canadian income tax expert who shares his insights and knowledge about the Income Tax Act, and that makes him rather unique. There are countless consumer blogs and political pundits and even a few good government blogs, but Mark is the first income tax expert blogger I’ve come across. More accurately, he’s a financial blogger who reports facts, statistics and strategies to help his readers pay the least amount of income tax to the taxman.

The Blunt Bean Counter focuses on income tax, business and investing topics and is meant for taxpayers no matter their income bracket, but in particular for high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs who own private corporations.

Mark Goodfield is a chartered accountant with over twenty five years of experience at four different firms.  He’s studied the science of taxation for a long time, and his unique perspective on investing and tax accounting transforms his posts into fascinating firsthand accounts of how tax affects people and business in Canada.
In his own bio on Blogger, Mark writes, I’m a sports fan, avid traveler, epicurean and accountant. I hope my blog can teach you a couple of things you didn’t know about building wealth and that you’ll indulge me as I wander into topics close to my heart / stomach.

It’s no coincidence the top book on his favourites lists is Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.  Much like Howard Roark, the protagonist who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision, Mark Goodfield chooses to express his creativity in what most folks would consider a tedious niche. His uncompromising principles and attention to detail are obvious right in his very first post.

Mark started his blog in September 2010 with a first post entitled, Let’s See Where This Goes.  He described his background and his choice of the word ‘blunt’.  He writes, I am an accountant, but not a classic bean counter. I have tried to move away from being a bean counter every step of the way. I quickly switched from counting beans to calculating tax and then I happily became managing partner and moved into quarterbacking our clients’ wealth management advisors. But I can’t hide from it, I am an accountant.

How Mark Became A Chartered Accountant

In his own biography, Mark relates how it happened that …one summer in the late 1970’s I worked for my father, an accountant, to make money for a trip to Europe. To my father’s consternation (he was asked to try out for the Cleveland Indians but became an accountant instead due to family circumstances) I continued along the path of becoming a Chartered Accountant.

Along the way Mark moved from accounting to income tax. He transitioned from a Big 4 firm (PWC) to a boutique firm, to a two person partnership, and finally to Cunningham LLP North York accountants as the managing partner, and in charge of their Wealth Management division.

Mark Goodfield is not a greedy guy, just the opposite – he’s super generous with his time, information and money. He’s a Big Brother, and has acted on the Investment Committee for the Reena Foundation, and has been involved in the Make A Wish Foundation on a committee level, and as a wish grantor alongside his wife.  Together they intend to grant more wishes in the years to come.

What is a Tax Blog?

Mark Goodfield, Tax Expert, The Blunt Bean Counter is a Tax BlogMark’s most popular blog post is his piece on the Canada Revenue Agency CRA Audit- Will I Be Selected?

The Blunt Bean Counter answers common questions like How Long Do I have To Keep My Income Tax Records?

And the little-known benefits of filing income tax returns for your children.

He delves into education in At Least My Kid Does Not Go To School In The States.

And discusses David Trahair’s Smoke and Mirrors in which this DIY investing author and well known speaker debunks myths about retirement savings.

In the post entitled Taxing the family unit, Harper almost got it right Mark Goodfield compares Canadian and US taxation models. Its here in this post where he writes the line, …This sighting of a T5013, was rarer than sighting the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Good metaphor.

And of course this income tax blogger wrote a dissertation on both government’s fiscal preparations, the 2011 Ontario non budget and Finance Minister Joe Flaherty’s Budget or what Mark calls the Federal 2011 Yawn.

The Psychology of Money

As a chartered accountant, Mark deals on a daily basis with the tracking of money, saving money and the spending of money; he thus has a unique perch to observe human nature in respect to these activities.

Some of Mark’s best blogs relate to the psychology of money. In fact Rob Carrick of the Globe in Mail in his online Reader column has recommended several of Mark’s blog posts dealing with the psychology of money including: The Kid in the Candy Store: Human Nature, RRSP’s, Free Cash and the Holy Grail, Investment Bravado, Little White Lies and Why Kiss and Tell Investing can get you shot and One Big Happy Family- Until We Discuss the Will.

Investing in Stocks

Resverlogix Corp, As a CA Mark cannot provide investment advice, however, he openly discusses his investing mishaps and provides information on websites of interest for investors.

Mark is especially blunt when it comes to talking about investing; no little white lies are allowed on this subject.

Keeping the market interesting justifies our interest in it and, by extension, validates our collective social financial activity and identity. Not only do we need to like to feel good about ourselves, we would rather hear sketchy hyperbole from borderline sources than bad news from an honest one.

Mark wrote a heartfelt piece in which he described his experiences as an investor in Resverlogix, A Cautionary Tale. This piece was picked up as an article by the prestigious US website Seeking Alpha.

The Blunt Bean Counter is a valuable resource for all taxpayers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and investors. On many levels, this blog chronicles how taxation affects life in Canada.
Bookmark and Share


Michael Nus, Holy Trinity of Happiness

in Personal Blog, Scholar, SEO, Start-Ups, Toronto and Web Designer

blog banner, Michael Nus

Michael Nus in a grey suitMichael Nus is a bearded blogger with a big heart. Known as the gentleman blogger, his informative posts are chock full of philosophical meaning, commentary about staying classy, and SEO and Social Media advice. More than anyone else, Michael includes his friends and colleagues in his posts. He references the work of his contemporaries when recounting a previous night’s event or writing about the digital space. Familiarly referred to as “Nus” he blogs his crew’s collective memories of happenings in Toronto while always preserving a Holy Trinity of Happiness in his own life.

MICHAEL NUS, Holy Trinity of Happiness is all about keeping life in balance between three fundamentally different but important components – Love, Sustenance, and Expression/Creativity. (Please click the diagram below, it expands.) Social media marketers, PR professionals, and web marketing consultants that live by their wits, and work all hours of the day, could benefit from this handy life balance reference guide. Make no mistake Michael’s blog is about friends, marketing and tech events and group moments, but occasionally, now and then he’ll discuss how to enjoy life, and reference the Trinity chart below.

Michael Nus - Holy Trinity of HappinessA digital strategist, PR innovator, and experienced SEO/Web marketer, Michael Nus has been involved in social media since it was called “web 2.0.” Alumnus of the Columbia University Institute for Tele-Information, Michael co-edited a book about digital and physical distribution at the enterprise level by one of the world’s top experts on the subject. He has taken his journalism and tech background into the blogging world and the social web.

Michael has always been involved in social media marketing, but in his own words he says, “…it wasn’t until I met Mark Evans and Casie Stewart that I considered making personal blogging a habit to sharpen my skills in social media, marketing, SEO, PR, and coding even further. The notion was that anything I made that was my own I would naturally treat with care, so why not make my own blog?” Before that, here in Canada, he also worked for the BC Ministry of Education doing policy and data analysis and working on making information available to stakeholders across the province on the government’s digital entities. Projects like these furthered his nuanced education in marketing and strategy and he learned to be a proficient communicator in this space.

Michael Nus on Yonge St says 'Im not usually this creepy'. Michael finally pulled the trigger on starting his own blog after a cancer scare. He was online a lot back then, writing blogs for clients, and he decided that he wanted to share his own experiences with people. His approach is not to just report to his readers, but to bring them along with him through his realizations on his journey. Also, Michael doesn’t patronize people in his writing. He wants people to feel welcome to share his experiences. He expects folks to read his blog then interact with him on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and converse through comments.

Not surprisingly, the film Almost Famous is his favourite movie. He used to interview major musicians and he loved to create a friendly bond with them as the Music Editor for the Young People’s Press and various other music and entertainment publications. The plot of Almost Famous rang true to his own experiences in that part of his life. His favourite journalists are Lester Bangs, and Alan Cross. Remember Michael used to interview musicians, which is probably why he relates to both of these writers. His favourite book is ‘Still Life with Woodpecker’ by Tom Robbins. His favourite author is Hunter S Thompson.


Michael Nus - on Yonge St

Michael Nus shopping for vegetables for foodie blogToday he lives his life right out in the open for everyone to see and comment on. He’s definitely worth following as @MichaelNus on Twitter. People are going to be writing about him a lot more this summer due to a bold mobile web innovation that he’s debuting with his partner Chris Booker in June at Microsoft’s “Code your Art Out” competition as his first major entrepreneurial venture.

An active practitioner of strategic thought and what it means to the digital space, Michael optimizes value for the client.

Michael is organized and methodical, patient in sharing learnings in mentorship relationships teaching others to see what he sees. Extremely engaged in the digital community, he is currently establishing a panel of experts to create a universal definition of what a digital strategist does, how they do it and what their accountabilities are.

Michael’s dedication to the digital community continually grows high-level strategic thinking at both the micro and macro level by developing and executing programming. He’s also a capable speaker and has presented at Make Web Not War, Schulich School of Business, USguys, Social Media Week and many more. Michael is considered one of Toronto’s top 150 Twitter influencers, was the official blogger for Stella Artois during the TIFF, and has been featured in Rannie Turingan’s (@Photojunkie) 140characters.ca collection.

Michael Nus, 140 Characters event photography by Rannie Turrigan

Michael Nus’s own mixed blood comes from a rather exotic cultural background. His mom was born to Italian parents and taught him the value of independence. His father was a humble Hungarian and he inspired Michael to be an entrepreneur and do great things with his life before passing away in 2005. He feels like he’s on the path to greatness now, and that journey started with his father.

Michael majored in political science with a minor in criminology at the University of Victoria, and was creating web content as early as 2000 when he worked as Online News Editor for Metroland News Group during his studies at Seneca College in their Computer Technology program. Back then it wasn’t called blogging, rather journalists would submit their pieces and their content was subject to the pen of editors like Michael before being published online and in print.

Michael Nus on bass guitarWhile at Metroland, Michael encouraged writers to alternate between hard news style reporting and first person “Gonzo” journalism with a healthy dose of feedback from readers. This was something of a foreshadow before blogging appeared on the scene to usher in a new age of journalism where readers are just as involved in the news as the writer. When he’s not blogging or helping clients and friends with their SEO or digital strategy, Michael likes to relive his days as a rock singer in a touring band by putting paper to pen. He’s a lyricist/songwriter, karaoke junkie and a closet chef. You can search his blog for his foody forays into the culinary arts for bachelors in his NusGourmet section.

Torontoites will sometimes catch glimpses of Michael around town whether it be appearing on stage (Joey DeVilla’s blog) playing the electric guitar alongside Raymi the Minx on drums and Sean Ward on keyboards and vocals or co-organizing events like Tweetgasm, Star Wars Day or Movember fundraisers. Last fall he worked with Sean Moffitt on successfully executing Movember’s Toronto’s digital fundraising campaign in which played a part in helping Prostate Cancer Canada raise $20M for their cause! He plans to do it again this year and looks forward to the fun.

Michael Nus on Queen St W with mirrored sunglasses“Michael writes that the best thing about his blog is that it gives him a reason to be somewhere, to be expressive and make great memories at special events or even when casually lounging with friends. The greatest reward, above all else, according to him,  is when a reader tells him how much a post inspired them to do something positive. It’s for that reason that he strives to write quality content for his readers without exception.

Relatively new to Toronto and this city’s populated event blogger scene, Michael was quick to make friends. His frequent blogging, playful and curious nature, entrepreneurial spirit, and respect for his peers and readers has earned many thousands of tweets, retweets, trackbacks and other digital accolades. He makes a point of honouring his commitments and keeping his word. He muses that, “if people can’t count on you, how can you count on yourself? If you only do what’s good for you, you wouldn’t know what’s good for you.”

Stay tuned for a relaunch of MichaelNus.com and for the unveiling of his startup in June!

Bookmark and Share


Erin Bury’s Random Musings in Toronto

in Blogging, Ontario, Start-Ups and Toronto

Erin Bury's Random Musings masthead

Erin Bury

Erin Bury is a twenty something year old blogger who writes with confidence and originality. Her blog posts are insightful and thought provoking. She stands out in an age of repeaters, because her writing is easy-to-read and uniquely informative. Less than two years after graduating from Carleton University in Journalism, and after interning at some mid sized tech firms, Erin became the Community Manager at Sprouter a social networking site for start-ups and entrepreneurs. In 2008 she became the voice of Sprouter, connecting fans and the world to the website. Today she has helped define what it means to be a Community Manager, and indeed she has become the quintessential example of this new vocation, perfectly harmonizing her personal identity and her firm’s business agenda.

Erin Bury’s Random Musings is the first and best place to learn about this young person’s life and what its like to be on the ground floor of an internet start-up.  She blogs about time saving software, VIP events and social gatherings, and PR and marketing in Canada. She has herself sprouted an amazing career, and now leads sessions at Podcamp Toronto, North by Northeast, Net Change Week and more. She’s frequently quoted in the press about Community Management and social media for small business, and her tweets and quotes have appeared in the New York Times, AOL Small Business, Forbes, CNN, MSN News, and on CBC.

Erin Bury is a tech writer at BlogTO and a columnist at Women’s Post, and she has written for other publications including VentureBeat. She’s one of the co-organizers of Twestival Toronto, and one of the founders of GenYTO .  She can be found on Twitter at @ErinBury and of course she has lot of followers. It just so happens that Erin was once retweeted by Oprah Winfrey.

Erin Bury retweeted by Oprah Winfrey

Erin Bury uses Tumblr, and her blog archives keep getting better with age. Unlike the other ‘minimalist’ bloggers that choose Tumblr, (for its ease and simplicity) Erin fills her domain with long copy posts full of original pictures and text. Her entries usually garner lots of comments because they’re chock full of great insights from a detail orientated author who’s not afraid to share her perspective on popular issues. Her valuable asides and comments make the material more interesting, and more valuable.

When asked why Erin chose to blog on Tumblr she writes,

“Sure, the simple blogging platform has its downsides – it’s notorious for going down and losing your posts. But I love how simple it is – I always describe it as a blogging platform that my mom could figure out in five minutes. It’s easy to share text posts, videos and photos, and there are tons of beautiful free themes to choose from. But the best part of Tumblr is the social aspect – you can follow other Tumblr blogs, and quickly reblog other people’s posts with your comments. If you’re just getting started with blogging I highly recommend it. “

An image search of Erin Bury yields many wonderful portraits from Sprouter related events.

Erin Bury, community manager at Sprouter

Sprouter Logo

Erin Bury loves her job and her life working with Sarah Prevette at Sprouter, because she gets to utilize her passion for technology, networking, community building and web 2.0 enterprises. Her role involves social media strategy, PR, customer service, writing and speaking, organizing and attending events. And at times she’s the office secretary, and then out in the public eye at night she becomes the media spokesperson for the company, discussing everything and anything Sprouter.com

Erin helps students get sprouted too…

This blogger has a penchant for helping students get started, and she even helps them land their first jobs in the industry. Erin amplifies the voice of students and represents them positively whenever she can.

In one of her many online biographies, Erin writes that when she’s not organizing events, writing, or working you can find her hanging out with friends, playing guitar, attempting to cook, reading, or watching her favourite TV shows which include, The Biggest Loser.  She also spends lots of quality time with her boyfriend, Kevin Oulds.

Kevin Oulds, Erin Bury Michael Nus describes Kevin Oulds and Erin Bury as the Ken and Barbie of Toronto’s social media scene.  He nailed it.

It was great to watch these two work together in October 2010, when @KevinOulds entered an online contest held by Sauza Tequila that was designed to promote their new Sauza Sin shot (tequila with cinnamon and orange) by pitting it against the classic lemon-and-salt Sauza shot, and getting entrants to represent either side.

Tequila Revolution - Kevin Oulds

Kevin won the prize, and some of the details emerge in a terrific blog post by Erin Bury on how to win a campaign style online voting contest where she writes about the experience of campaigning for votes on Facebook and Twitter. She describes the fine line between persuading and pestering, and she documents how the competition took over their lives. Erin admits she grew obsessed and gives several helpful tips to anyone else ‘campiagning’ for such a prize. Some of her wisdom includes going offline to family and friends, be creative with incentives for your supporters, and whenever possible try not to be too annoying.

Erin writes this about her ‘tweeting up’ Kevin’s campaign,

I had over 7,000 Twitter followers at the time, and if every one of them voted for him just once we’d have it in the bag. Well guess what – I learned the difference between a follower, aka someone who once clicked follow because your profile looked interesting, and a FOLLOWER, aka someone who pays attention to you and is willing to take a second out of their day to help you. There were so many amazing people on Twitter who took the time vote, but there were thousands more followers (and spambots) who didn’t. A big network does not equal a big impact on votes, which I learned the hard way (by the way, thanks to everyone who did vote!)

Last month, Erin wrote about how she was approached by Dentyne gum to be a Kissing Ambassador and, together with boyfriend Kevin Oulds, conduct a Valentines Day survey regarding Canadian attitudes toward kissing in public. They got on Canada Am, and it was pretty significant success; Dentyne sales probably rose nationally.

Bookmark and Share


Photo Finishes from Cobourg Ontario

in Canadian pop culture, niche blogs, Ontario, Photography, Scholar, Teacher, testing, Toronto, Tourism, visual arts and Web Designer

Picks of Canada, picks of images,

Jacques Surveyer is a writer, a web developer, and a very passionate photographer that lives and works in Cobourg Ontario. Years ago he studied photography at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto before getting an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) from the University of Western Ontario. With this background he found that blogging allowed him to ‘indulge his avocations’ while helping with his consulting business. Jacques is a skilled multimedia magician with a good head for business.

Photo Finishes / Picture That along with TheOpenSourcery.com are two very different tips and tutorials blogs that offer tactics and product reviews for graphics and multimedia processing people. These sites are core to Jacques portfolio as a developer, and they demonstrate to potential customers his expertise in many diverse programming and photo finishing subjects.

Jacques SurveyorOver time Jacques’ two original blogging websites have expanded into ten different blogs. He uses free blog web hosting sites to create multiple presences for specialized tasks. For example JavaScriptures is dedicated to some of the more interesting developments in JavaScript, as applied to lean manufacturing which is serious process to which he jokingly describes Java as the ‘gets-no-respect-like-Rodney_Dangerfield’ programming language.

About ten years ago Jacques Surveyer started blogging on a website platform that he made himself. He built his own blog from the ground up, and people did come, but more people came after he switched over to WordPress.

“WordPress with themes, plugins and a WYSIWYG editor was a vast improvement over my own homemade CMS.”

After six or more years, Jacques is still a WordPress devotee, even though he’s used Drupal and Joomla and has built projects for clients using both programming languages. But he’s quick to reason, “WordPress has stayed ahead of the curve with widgets, jQuery support, and automated updates of not just themes and plugins but also the blog engine itself”.  Jacques did all of society a favour when he weighed in on the classic debate, which is the best open source platform, Drupal, Joomla or WordPress? and in that post it becomes real clear that WordPress is this craftsman’s preferred software.

Jacques loves to take pictures and gradually his interest spread out into photography and travel destination review blogs. He created PixofDetroit, PixofToronto, and PixofCanada to host the photos and stories of his adventures abroad. Later he added commentary blogs like Takethe5th.com and Bookraft.com (his only active Drupal blog) so he could properly articulate his thoughts on government and society.

Then blogs started appearing all over the place. JavaScriptures and NearlyFreeWebsites are two examples which take advantage of nearly free blog software.  Consulting work and help for friends resulted in two gallery sites – ARTSurveyer.com and NeelsPlace.com which are efforts using Gallery blog software and Joomla respectively.

“As Free blog/CMS software has improved I have switched from doing custom websites over to using free blogs like Joomla and WordPress, Weebly and Wix for my nearly cost free blogging and broader web development work.”

Jacques Surveyer prevented from taking pictures of volleyball game on cobourg beach

Jacques’ popular PhotoFinishes blog dips into the political space too. Last summer the intrepid explorer wrote a terrific piece about how the officials at a beach volleyball tournament in Cobourg successfully prevented him from taking pictures of the participants in action, despite the fact that it was public space, with no photography ban signage posted, and no advertisements or precedents prohibiting photography are known.  According to Jacques in this article, the same thing happened at the Royal Winter Fair to his friend a year earlier.

When asked what he likes most about being a blogger, Jacques Surveyer admits that he covets traffic and feels rewarded when his sites grow popular. He recounts with satisfaction the time when his post on KeepanOpenEye debunked Steve Jobs contentions that Flash was slow and buggy, and received over 30,000 visits in one day – that was very gratifying. Also, the Fall Drizzle story on PixOfCanada which visualized the autumn colors in Ontario took in over 75,000 visits in the last months of 2010. To see a pictoral story getting that much attention was also very satisfying for this webmaster.

Jacques Surveyer, yellow leaf road, pixofcanada

Blogging has been good to Jacques, because he’s a new breed of storyteller, a free thinker with real knowledge to communicate.  When I asked him if he’d  do anything different a second tine, he noted that he wished he’d switched to open source or free blog software sooner, and he wished he had taken the time to improve his JavaScript skills earlier. “Skills in JavaScript and CSS make such a difference in the proper styling of a blog.”

This Cobourg Ontario blogger just loves being creative, inventory management and building platforms that push the envelope of the technology.  “The revenues are enough to pay the freight but not much more. But telling photo tales and being able to add my two cents on Toronto, or World scene is both fun and soothing to the spirit.”

Bookmark and Share


Keri the Canadian Explorer

in Blogging, Culture Blogger, Ontario, Photography and Toronto

KeriCDN is a talkative girl with lots of creative energy; exploring Canada is her raison d’etre.  At Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario, Keri studied business, history and linguistics, but her real life education started in February 2008, when she started blogging.

Keri The Canadian Explorer has culturally significant adventures everyday, and she shares her discoveries with a growing tribe of domestic and international followers. It’s interesting that she profiles all types of Canadians, not just the ‘great ones’.  She reports the facts and lets her audience decide if her subjects and settings are worthy of praise. For example, she’s quite proud of a recent video exploring the Canadian Navy.

Keri’s site contains no advertising.  She has refused to do sponsored posts and thinks Google AdSense looks tacky; she doesn’t want to appear avaricious for three cents a day.  The business training inside of her is however looking for benign sponsors; she would like to play a part in something larger, something sponsored by a proud and worthwhile Canadian enterprise.

To that end, she threw a blog party at the Reservoir Lounge last November.  It was a big success, and helped put her at the center of a local community of like minded individuals.  Since then she has banded together with some other famous web friends to create The Toronto Blog Girls which is a loose association of popular Toronto fashionistas and event bloggers that reside in Canada’s largest city.  All of these girls are attractive, intelligent and artistic, and together they’re a powerful press squad.

Check out Ryan Couldrey’s photo of Keri using automatic weapons.

Keri’s biggest fault might be that she’s too darn nice. In the video she did with Five Hockey Legends, she really shouldn’t have let security interrupt her filming, and it’s so typical of Canadians to apologize and be so concerned with procedures instead of just rolling tape and saying sorry later. To that point it would have been great if she’d turned and tried to leave with Red Kelly’s NHL Stanley Cup ring…  but she’s too nice.

Keri often profiles influential speakers and attends a lot of events on inspirational subjects. In most episodes the girl charms her way backstage or somehow corners presenters after appearances. Her well conceived queries combined with her compelling interview style more than compensate for the bad lighting and sound quality in these commando videos.  See Gary Vaynerchuk Loves Canada!

KeriCDN Quests for the 2010 Olympic Games

Keri’s short term dream is to attend and chronicle the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. As a true Canadian explorer and premium blogger, she believes it’s her manifest destiny to be at this international event, sharing the experience with the rest of the nation. This single cause has coloured her blog for months. She entered contests, wrote letters and collectively schemed right along with her readers to get herself over to the other side of the continent in February.  And then finally, it worked.

Keri had her hands on the torch in January 2010.  She photographed it, wrote about it, and was questioned about it on national television.  Before that, Keri charmed contest mavens with her Samsung mobile explorer video entry and issued repeated requests for votes. Her quest for Vancouver goes all the way back to September 2009 when she reviewed the Olympic apparel at The Bay, and fantasized about her wish list of events to cover.  Later that month while bike riding with her friend Jody, the Olympics Games are back on her brain. She interrupts her explanation of the difference between an Inukshuk and Inunnguaq and gets completely sidetracked by a point about the Nunavut flag being associated with next year’s Olympics.  Well all the obsessing finally paid off…

Keri has been contracted by Canoe.ca and Sun Media to cover the Winter Games as official press.

In addition to her blog, you can subscribe to KeriCDN videos on YouTube and follow her on Twitter  @KeriCDN.

Bookmark and Share


Contest Queen in Oshawa Ontario

in Mom Social, niche blogs, Ontario and Toronto


Closed

Carolyn Wilman is the Contest Queen, a successful professional contest consultant with over twenty years experience participating in, and promoting Canadian contests. She’s probably the most web savvy mom you’ll ever meet. Back in 2004 she became a full time stay-at-home ebusiness entrepreneur and was soon recognized at the forefront of the coupon & contest website niche. She’s now perhaps the most findable contest guru in Canada.

Carolyn writes From the Contest Queen You Can’t Win If You Don’t Enter – all things sweepstaking, contesting, lucky and fun which is pastiche of tips and tactics, news and events reporting, reviews and recommendations. This summer (09) Contest Queen wrote about Capital C web challenges, local festivals, online events and promotions.  She writes about really interesting things like how to use Twitter to help win contests, and why Canadian companies host contests? and she gives hard-to-find statistics and links to other experts.  Carolyn even attempts very subjective topics like how to attract good luck.

This woman is really likeable, and unusually knowledgable about many different things.  She once told me to watch the movie The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio so that I would better understand ‘contesters’ and what that term used to mean in the Golden Age of contests (when skill was required in every entry) in North America.

Forget the nostalgia, the Contest Queen is quick to talk to anyone about internet marketing.  When I called her on the telephone using the phone number on her website, she answered in person. And when I identified myself as the author of Canada Blog Friends she cried out with positive cheer, and told me that she has been putting out positive messages into the ethersphere, which includes the blogosphere and that I was destined to call, or at least email, to help her achieve her quest. So all this is predestined.

Winning contests changes people

Carolyn Wilman has been both a contest producer and participant, many times.  So she knows the rules inside and out and can help her clients visualize their creative promotions from their customer’s perspective.  She can answer the tough questions like, ‘Do these rules make sense? What pitfalls are we missing? What’s our exposure to liability?’ and of course the simple questions too like ‘Why not Quebec?’ and ‘What happens if someone under age 13 wins the prize?’, and ‘Do we really need a skill testing question?’ Wilman’s sage advice helps corporations avoid the types of mistakes that currently plague contests in Canada. Her website contains links to Contest Auditing, Contest Pre-testing and Contest Education and Strategies services allowing companies to ensure a contest is designed to meet their objectives, and the promotion is operating properly, within government regulations, before public release.

In addition to her consulting skills, I must add the Contest Queen is also a gifted marketer.  She has developed some powerful social media portals and can now spread messages to thousands of other potential contestants each week via her Contest Queen Blog, and also @ContestQueen on Twitter, her Facebook group and on her bi-monthly newsletter, The Winning EDGE.  Indeed her compelling stories had me clicking her links. Great opening hooks like “Would you like a pocket full of mad money? Would you like to cruise around town in a brand new set of wheels? Would you like to bask in the tropical sun?” make me eager to know more of her wisdom. Because of this blogger we all have more insight into the business landscape of Canadian contests and sweepstakes.

Bookmark and Share


Blog Directory for Ontario