Carrie Baker of High Road Communications was the first speaker at Third Tuesday, held today at the Shore Club in downtown Vancouver. She explained how her firm recently used social media to promote Microsoft’s “Gears of War” prior to its release. Using Xbox Live, they invited gamers to an event held at a decrepit church in Toronto (reflecting the atmosphere of the game itself), which quickly sold out. But more importantly, they also made key discoveries about marketing to online communities, such as the fact that Xbox Live users (and presumably other online communities) like the mix of online and offline events. They also found the standard rules of media relations aren’t the same as working with online media, which require more interaction. But in this case, they also found that people talked about the event itself and the game for six months after the game’s release, along with blogging and posting photos.