On February 24. 2002 I was in my brother’s Vancouver living room watching Canada manhandle the USA to their first gold medal hockey win in decades. As the team gathered for a photo on the ice, my brother and I squeezed in alongside.
It doesn’t matter where I was in February 2006, because I wasn’t watching Canada play for a gold medal at the Torino Olympics.
On February 28, 2010 I was at the Rusty Cage on Heritage Drive in Calgary with my pal Roger watching Canada and USA in the gold medal hockey game of the Olympics. Chances are you were too, as more than 80% of the country tuned in to watch the tilt.
The Super Bowl and The Oscars and Seinfeld may have more viewers, but when it comes to market penetration, there’s nothing on the planet that will make 80% of a country’s population stop like gold medal hockey does in Canada.
Rusty Cage, Calgary – February 1, 2010
Here’s a glimpse of what it felt like to be Canadian on February 28, 2010
“Follow us on twitter,” is quickly becoming the most overused phrase in mainstream media.
Those new to the party (I’m looking at you, CBC‘s Scott Oake) are over enthusiastic about it’s importance in the role of the population. The first question to Vancouver Canucks GMMike Gillis on HNIC‘s After Hours was about “the last tweet you wrote.” Gillis couldn’t remember. Gillis didn’t care. Neither did the audience.
If we were following him on Twitter, we knew the last tweet because we read it. If we’re not following him on Twitter, we don’t find him interesting enough to follow, or don’t understand Twitter enough to engage in the conversation.
Much of mainstream media caught up in the new social media world are overusing the content they mine from the site. They have yet to realize that Twitter is the back channel, not the main stage. It’s where everyone goes to chat and engage, and communicate, but when it starts to dominate the conversation in the foreground it becomes too much.
Twitter is still out of the reach of much of the mainstream. They know the word, they’ve heard about it, but they’re not active in the site. While there are 200M users on Twitter, most of the accounts are opened and never used. Twitter is the playground of the youth, the hipsters and the influencers – not the mainstream.
I was at a conference this week and sat next to one of the VPs of our company. High school graduation was brought up by the speaker. ” I graduated in 1989,” said our VP. My shoulders slumped, my head dropped. I graduated in 1987.
I chose to leave BCIT after one year to get started on the air. After more than 20 years as a radio announcer (17 of them at one station), you can easily say my career has been a success. My mom was upset when I dropped out to get the ball rolling on my career. She wanted me to go to school and finish the education and get a base.
Still, as I march into my 40s and people I went to school with are taking jobs in the head offices of national companies and VPs are a year younger than me, I have to wonder what would have happened if I had gone through with school.
There was never really a fork in my road where I had to choose between management and labourer – I was just always really good at being on the air and so the path of worker over manager was never really mine to make. I’ve had aspirations to move beyond the microphone, but didn’t want to take the risk to leave a good thing to switch career paths.
Still, I look at the peers of my age and I wonder.
I have a self taught Masters in Social Media and Marketing. I listen to podcasts, read blogs and try to spot trends for the future of media. I understand the radio industry with the savvy of a veteran in the trenches for more than 2 decades. Still, I don’t have that “office” training.
I wonder how I would have fared if I had chased a path behind a desk instead of a path behind the microphone.
Five Hometown Activities With Your Kids
There’s only so much reading, crafts and Legos a preschooler can handle before they go batty. The lure is always there to just flip on a TV and let them drift into a peaceful zombie state with DJ Lance Rock and The Wonderpets as afternoon sitters, but there are, however, great and simple escapes in your hometown that will cost little to free and offer hours of enjoyment for the kids – and you!
A Twitter Guide For Dads
Chances are you’ve heard of Twitter. That micro blogging service of 140 characters or less that has media outlets, celebrities and athletes around the world encouraging you to “follow them.” Many dismiss Twitter as just a laundry list of what people are having for lunch – much like Facebook status updates. But just as there are Facebook accounts that offer much more substantial amounts of information, there are Tweeps (twitter people) worth following for great conversation, insight and ideas.
When it was built in 1981, Edmonton’s West Edmonton Mall was the largest mall in the world, a blazing beacon of the excess of the 80s. So popular was this mecca of merchandise, that travel packages were created from Vancouver and the prairies for people to fly in on shopping trips – much like you would go to Las Vegas or Phoenix or LA.
That was in the 80s.
Today, 30 years later, Edmonton’s West Edmonton Mall is old. Very old. It’s looks like a dreary bunker from the outside. The most impressive side of the mall, is the west side, that’s where the movie theatres and hotel are located, but it’s the very old east side that visitors first see when they pull in off the Whitemud. It’s a depressing low brown facade with an ancient Zellers logo glowing in the night.
Inside, the mall is no better. A victim of it’s 1980s design, the concourse is narrow, the ceilings are low and there are adornments of brass and glass begging for the ghost of Krystal Carrington to come and save them.
No longer is it the world’s biggest, now it’s just 5th. A walk from end to end which used to seem daunting, now feels like a warm up for a lap around Calgary’s sprawling Cross Iron Mills.
I’m thinking Edmonton might make for a great 36 hour escape with the family for a weekend away that has the feel of being much further south. The Palace Casino is attached to the mall, The FantasyLand Hotel offers theme rooms that sample from the strip, Galaxyland offers rides and roller coasters. Toss in the wave pool, the seal shows, skating rinks, movie theatres and underwater adventures and you can have a weekend at the mall and pretend you’re in Vegas for the weekend – until you step outside.
When snow is on the ground 10 months of the year, you’d better learn to love winter pretty quickly. There are more than 100 outdoor rinks in Calgary that see active use from November through to April and there are dozens of tobogganing hills lining the river valley throughout the city.
No matter how you spell the sliding sport: tobagganning, tobaganing, toboganing, or just “boganning,” as Zacharie says, grabbing a slippery slab of plastic and pointing it down a hill is a great way to experience the thrill of winter in the yyc.
The best hill to toboggan in all of Calgary, is easy to spot. Just drive down Crowchild Trail or on the Trans Canada Highway and you’ll see it off to the side of the road packed with daredevils ripping down the hill like wannabe Olympic lugers.
St Andrews Heights is a community in the Northwest of the city, just a block from Foothills Hospital, McMahon Stadium and at the intersection of University Dr and 16th Ave NW. Drive by in the summer and you see that this hill was built for winter fun. It’s long, fast and has a huge collection area at the bottom protected by a fence to keep the super sliders out of the busy road.
Park in the St Andrews Heights Community Hall lot and then get ready for the heavy hike to the top. The hill is so big, you may even spot some junior snowboarders practicing their turns before hitting a bigger slope.
Another fave of ours (that doesnt have as long of a hike back up, but still has awesome speed) is in the schoolyard of John Costello Catholic School in Strathcona.
Where is your favourite tobogganing hill in Calgary?
Dad. Broadcaster. Writer. Media Disruptor. Team Diabetes Champion. Double Guinness World Record Holder.