Social software, social media and social networks have given us the ability to seek out like-minded people and form online communities of interest. And we are doing this in ever increasing numbers.
But as good as online communities are, they have not dampened our desire for face to face meetings. In fact, online communities frequently whet the appetite for more face to face meetings. The evidence of this is everywhere. It’s in the turnout to spontaneously organized geek dinners, social media breakfasts and all types of other gatherings. It’s in the success of sites like meetup.com and upcoming.org that help people to organize face to face meetings. And for me, it’s in the success of the Third Tuesday social media meetups.
Since a group of bloggers and podcasters started the Third Tuesday meetups last year, the events have grown and grown. Today, Third Tuesday Ottawa has over 200 members and Third Tuesday Toronto has over 500 members. The Third Tuesday Facebook group we started in August has already attracted over 200 members. And this year, the Third Tuesday concept has been launched in Vancouver.
Of course, there are unavoidable costs – even for a free community event. We don’t pay our speakers. They all donate their time and expertise for the common good. However, there are still costs for sound systems and meeting space. And anyone who has organized something like this knows that the organizers can be left holding a big bill at the end of the event.
So, we’re just delighted that CNW Group will provide us with financial sponsorship. This is very important. We make every effort to keep our events simple. CNW sponsored our special pre-Mesh Third Tuesday last spring. And now they’ve indicated that they will help us with additional events this season. That’s a real weight off the organizers and makes it possible for us to concentrate on attracting top speakers.
And that’s where our second sponsor comes in. The Third Tuesday organizers have tapped their networks to attract a great roster of speakers, including Stephen Taylor, Michael Geist, Jon Husband, Paul Wells, Anthony Williams, and the Mesh conference organizers, Mathew Ingram, Mark Evans, Rob Hyndman, Stuart MacDonald and Michael McDerment. We’re starting off the season with three great speakers.
But it’s still a challenge to get top speakers from outside Canada. And that’s important to ensure that our horizons and perspective continues to broaden. This season, we’ll be helped in this by the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR). SNCR draws on the talents and expertise of it’s fellows to commission original research and articles regarding best practices, current developments and the evolution of social software and social media. SNCR has offered to help us gain access to leading speakers as they make their way through Canada.
These sponsorships will provide a solid foundation to enable us to continue to stage great Third Tuesday events. I want to recognize and thank both CNW Group and SNCR for their support. They will really help us to keep Canada’s social media meetup going.