Rocking Social Media West Coast Style at Social Media Camp 2011

Many people have always joked about Victoria, BC and its residents being comprised of mostly college students and retired people; no one would expect Victoria to be one of the most social media savvy communities in Canada.  Techies, marketing professionals, and rising social media stars, are starting to unite- reshaping the identity of this tourist destination as the next social tech powerhouse.

This is not only noticeable from the sheer volume of small to mid-size technology companies blooming as vibrantly as the cherry blossoms that line its British-style streets, but by the number of inspiring events that connect this community in a collaborative rather than competitive way.  Victoria is also attracting some of North America’s leading Social Media Rock Stars who are excited to share insight and ideas with the social community in Victoria.

One such event is Social Media Camp, which was founded in 2010 by Chris Burdge, President of bWEST Interactive and Paul Holmes, President of IdeaZone.ca. The first Social Media Camp sold out with nearly 500 participants, and the second Social Media Camp scheduled for Friday, June 3rd & Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at the Victoria Conference Centre will host between 600-800 guests.

While located in Victoria BC, “this is not just a Vancouver Island thing, it’s a west coast thing. Victoria is not only home to a hospitable and strong community of social media and marketing professionals but is also a beautiful place to come and visit. This year we have seen many registrants from places as far as New York, Chicago, Boston,” says Chris Burdge. Perhaps this could be the start of a South by South West (SXSW) style conference north of the border?!

The camp will feature some of the best social media thinkers and doers from across North America, including keynote speakers, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund authors of the newly released The Now Revolution. This will be Jay Baer’s second stop in Victoria, BC in the past year – he too feels the energy of this community (you can read about his first visit here).

“I am on a 25 city book tour, and of all the places I’ve been, Victoria has the densest and most passionate social media community. Is it the weather? Is it the post-colonial British influence? Is it island fever? I frankly have no idea. But you can’t swing a curling broom without hitting a major league social media devotee in Victoria. It’s a thrilling and beautiful circumstance, like Atlantis for the Twitterati, ” boasts Baer.

Social Media Camp  is not just a conference of speaker panels – Burdge and Holmes want to embrace the interaction, community, and engagement that “social” promises us through several exciting programs that include:

  • Speakers, Panels and Workshops : While many of the panels will teach beginners through to seasoned professionals new tips and tricks on how to use Social media to market your business or service, some of the most interesting demonstrate how new social tools can be used in traditional professions. These include panels on Religion and spirituality, law enforcement, and politics.
  • The inaugural Western Canada Social Media Awards: Dubbed “The Westies,” this new addition to the camp has already attracted a large response not only on the West Coast of Canada, but Burdge tells us nominations are coming in from Seattle and Portland too: “Over 120 nominations have been received so far for 7 unique categories.” Deadlines for nominations must be submitted until Friday May 13th.  Winners of “The Westies” will be announced at the Networking Dinner on June 3rd. Check out the categories, current nominees and the nomination form here.
  •  The Genius Bar: Modeled after the Apple store, a room will be dedicated to tutorials and learning. Geniuses with different areas of expertise will by standing by to help answer your questions in areas such as: Twitter, Hootsuite, iphone, social media strategy, WordPress and more.  Come to camp prepared to receive training and get the help you need in a unique one-on-one environment.

Tickets are selling fast, and this event will no doubt be a sell-out so here is a list of must-do’s between now and the event:

  1. get your ticket
  2. pack your geekiest technology shirt
  3. shine up your gadget of choice and start working out your texting thumbs
  4. write a list of awesome questions to ask at the Genius Bar
  5. start following the official hash-tag #smcv11 on Twitter
  6. Read this awesome blog post written by Chris Burdge
  7. Get ready to rock Social Media Camp alongside Techvibes by following @techvibesVIC and @nicolesorochan on Twitter for live event coverage