bazinga! offers new avenues for connecting with your neighbours


bazinga!If you live in a condo or apartment building you may or may not know your neighbours. Often you make connections and realize that you may have more in common than you thought.

Enter bazinga! a Vancouver based company that aims offers an enhanced living package by leveraging those similar needs.

“Our platform connects people who share a building in a meaningful way in Vancouver says Joseph Nakhla, CEO of bazinga! This platform is riding on a lot trends happening now including social media and social network usage and the way people’s lives have become hyper local as a result of that.”

Consider this scenario. Say you need a babysitter and all your regular sitters are not available. You don’t know that your neighbour across the hall works at a daycare and could easily fill your babysitting need. Log in to bazinga! and bam you realize Susan is the perfect sitter you need.

Over 820 buildings have signed up for bazinga! as have some of Canada’s biggest developer names such as Bosa, Onni, Tridel, and Plaza.

bazinga! Online and as an App


bazinga! basically digitizes a building including all of its bylaws, document management, and other functions. Using the Loop which acts like a Facebook wall for a building, it allows residents to post an alert and tell their neighbours of things that are happening.

With bazinga! all information resides in one central place. Residents wanting to get bazinga! into their building must onboard the assets related to their building while new properties will already have it. Strata managers can act as an Administrator as can building residents.

bazinga! is not meant for strictly high income areas either. Lots of different income areas use it and it can be customized to specific building needs.

“Adoption and engagement rates are around 75 percent for a building on the platform. People average 6 and half minutes per session when using it. On mobile devices, people will login two times per day on average says Nakhla.”

When asked if bazinga! is for a younger demographic given their familiarity with technology, Nakhla says that is not the case at all. “We’re selling older and non connected generations on it too. This app can appeal to a range of people and income groups.”

Social Media for Businesses Workshop June 24th at Lynn Valley Library in North Vancouver

Twitter Logo
Vancouver Gadgets Founder Ben Abel

It’s 2014 and you still aren’t using social media for your business? Why use it? It’s pretty simple! Make money, connect with your customers and promote yourself.

The next workshop is at the Lynn Valley Library today. The workshop runs from 7:00 to 8:30pm. It is free but registration is required. To register or more information call 604-984-0286, ext. 8144.

Ben Abel founder of Vancouver Gadgets discusses tips and tricks on how to use social media to take that next step in your business.

Social Media for Businesses Workshop

Ben will look at platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as the role that websites and social media marketing play in developing successful social media and online strategies. This should help you gain you new customers and new business as well as help you connect with your current ones.

Check out for other technology tips.

23snaps: Sharing a family story using social media


Editor’s Note: My wife Lindsay Davidson wrote this article for our blog about using 23snaps.

Ben with his daughter Charlotte shortly after her birth

On March 18th, 2013 my daughter Charlotte was born. My husband Ben and I were elated and so in love, but it was a very stressful time. Due to pre eclampsia, she was delivered by C section at 31 weeks gestation. Charlotte weighed two pounds, eight ounces at birth and was 39 centimeters long. She needed respiratory aid, a central line into her belly button and an IV. She was admitted to the NICU where she spent over eight long weeks before coming home.

I first read about 23snaps in Canadian Living magazine while on bed rest in hospital. It appealed to me because Ben and I have family and friends across the globe and we would want to share regular updates of our little one once the baby arrived. I downloaded the app right away then promptly forgot about it when Charlotte arrived so suddenly.

About a week after Charlotte was born I was discharged and having to leave my fragile baby at the hospital at the end of the day was heart wrenching. It was then that I first turned to 23snaps as a way to share our sweet little one with the world she had been born into. Immediately the response we got were overwhelming, all our family felt really involved and to this day, my aunt in Scotland talks about the magic of the 23snaps app and how it helped her feel connected to us during the anxious time.

23snaps: What it did for Me

When you have a baby in critical care you are beyond exhausted and emotional. However, 23snaps was a light at the end of my long day at the hospital. I would choose a photo from the day to post and know that our loved ones were sharing in Charlotte’s journey and growth. To be honest it kept a few of our relatives quiet, in the sense that they weren’t calling or emailing all the time for updates because I was posted growth information and photos on 23snaps. That was a huge relief for us. We loved reading the comments posted. Often I would reread them while sitting near to Charlotte’s incubator during the day and smile.

In a sense 23snaps helped me feel in control of the hospital experience. When I recently looked back on the photos I picked to add to our timeline, I was surprised. I thought I had only chosen happy photos, but I realized there were some that had been taken on difficult days, such as when Charlotte had a setback and had to move from her hospital crib back into an incubator. I think being able to share the good and bad stories was therapeutic and healing for me.

Charlotte is now a healthy, happy one year old. We continue to use 23snaps, I think if we stopped there would be an outcry from our family! I know that someday, sooner than I am ready to admit, Charlotte will ask to see what I’m doing and I will show her the timeline of photos. We will look through every one and talk about how far she has come, how brave she was and how she inspires a lot of people around the world. And she will say, “wow”, as she does so well, about the concept of 23snaps.

23snaps is completely private and secure. No photos, videos or stories are shared publicly unless the author chooses. I wrote this expressly to share Charlotte’s story and how 23snaps helped our family.

Facebook to acquire WhatsApp for $19 billion in cash and stock


Wow. Facebook is spending a lot of money! $19 billion to be exact. When I heard this yesterday I couldn’t believe my ears. Is WhatsApp really worth this much? What I’m really wondering is how Facebook is going to get any kind of ROI out of this still potential purchase. Of course a purchase of this magnitude has to go through a lot of approval processes and legal footwork before it can be considered a done deal.

Currently WhatsApp allows the first year free then .99 cents per year afterwards. So doing some simple math means that 450 million users returns about $450 million per year. Now Facebook doesn’t have too many options to increase revenue here since if they raise the rates another open source solution will pop up and lure users with zero fees. Neither can Facebook advertise on the platform as the .99 cent fee is supposed to bypass that. I suppose Facebook could integrate the platform directly into its own, however many people would prefer to keep their text messages separate from Facebook’s prying eyes.

My other thought is that perhaps Facebook is buying Whatsapp simply to quash the competition. In other words, if eyes are on Whatsapp, they aren’t on Facebook right?

Facebook WhatsApp
Facebook to acquire WhatsApp. Image by Jay Kenobi.

UPDATE: according to some sources, namely CNN Money, Mark Zuckerberg (CEO Facebook)  predicts that Whatsapp is on target for a billion users, “Whatsapp is on the path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” So that being said, what Facebook does with the acquisition is the important question. If they simply leave it to forge its own path I think the ROI could be huge. However if Facebook integrates completely with it own platform I wouldn’t expect the ROI to be nearly as high, however eyes wouldn’t be on a competing product.

Facebook WhatsApp Press Release

Facebook announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire WhatsApp, a rapidly growing cross-platform mobile messaging company, for a total of approximately $16 billion, including $4 billion in cash and approximately $12 billion worth of Facebook shares.  The agreement also provides for an additional $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp’s founders and employees that will vest over four years subsequent to closing.

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WhatsApp has built a leading and rapidly growing real-time mobile messaging service, with:

  • Over 450 million people using the service each month;
  • 70% of those people active on a given day;
  • Messaging volume approaching the entire global telecom SMS volume; and
  • Continued strong growth, currently adding more than 1 million new registered users per day.

According to the vendors website, “WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends.”

“WhatsApp is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “I’ve known Jan for a long time and I’m excited to partner with him and his team to make the world more open and connected.”

Jan Koum, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, said, “WhatsApp’s extremely high user engagement and rapid growth are driven by the simple, powerful and instantaneous messaging capabilities we provide. We’re excited and honored to partner with Mark and Facebook as we continue to bring our product to more people around the world.”

Facebook fosters an environment where independent-minded entrepreneurs can build companies, set their own direction and focus on growth while also benefiting from Facebook’s expertise, resources and scale.  This approach is working well with Instagram, and WhatsApp will operate in this manner.  WhatsApp’s brand will be maintained; its headquarters will remain in Mountain View, CA; Jan Koum will join Facebook’s Board of Directors; and WhatsApp’s core messaging product and Facebook’s existing Messenger app will continue to operate as standalone applications.

Upon closing of the deal, all outstanding shares of WhatsApp capital stock and options to purchase WhatsApp capital stock will be cancelled in exchange for $4 billion in cash and 183,865,778 shares of Facebook Class A common stock (worth $12 billion based on the average closing price of the six trading days preceding February 18, 2014 of $65.2650 per share).  In addition, upon closing, Facebook will grant 45,966,444 restricted stock units to WhatsApp employees (worth $3 billion based on the average closing price of the six trading days preceding February 18, 2014 of $65.2650 per share).  As of February 17, 2014, Facebook had 2,551,654,996 Class A and B shares outstanding plus approximately 139 million dilutive securities primarily consisting of unvested RSUs.  The Class A common stock and RSUs issued to WhatsApp shareholders and employees upon closing will represent 7.9% of Facebook shares based on current shares and RSUs outstanding.

In the event of termination of the Merger Agreement under certain circumstances principally related to a failure to obtain required regulatory approvals, the Merger Agreement provides for Facebook to pay WhatsApp a fee of $1 billion in cash and to issue to WhatsApp a number of shares of Facebook’s Class A common stock equal to $1 billion based on the average closing price of the ten trading days preceding such termination date.

Facebook was advised by Allen & Company LLC and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; and WhatsApp was advised by Morgan Stanley and Fenwick & West, LLP.


About Facebook

Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

About WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a personal real-time messaging network allowing millions of people around the world to stay connected with their friends and family.

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Forward Looking Statements
This press release may be deemed to contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including the expected completion of the acquisition, the time frame in which this will occur, the expected benefits to Facebook and WhatsApp from completing the acquisition, and the expected financial performance of Facebook following completion of the acquisition. Statements regarding future events are based on the parties’ current expectations and are necessarily subject to associated risks related to, among other things, regulatory approval of the proposed acquisition or that other conditions to the closing of the deal may not be satisfied, the potential impact on the business of WhatsApp due to the announcement of the acquisition, the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstances that could give rise to the termination of the definitive agreement, and general economic conditions. Therefore, actual results may differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. For information regarding other related risks, see the “Risk Factors” section of Facebook’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for 2013. The forward-looking statements included herein are made only as of the date hereof, and neither party undertakes an obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements for any reason.

SOURCE Facebook

Texting and walking can be hazardous: 1 in 5 students crosses the street while distracted by #tech

safe kids worldwide

We all know that texting and walking can be hazardous to our health but did you know that 1 in 5 high schoolers crosses the street while engaged with a gadget or tech device? According to a new research report released today by Safe Kids Worldwide titled, “Teens and Distraction: An In-Depth Look at Teens’ Walking Behaviors,” surveyed more than 34,000 middle and high school students that cross the street in a school zone.

According to the research, 39 percent of the students who are crossing the street while distracted are typing on a cell phone and 39 percent are listening to headphones. The remaining students are talking on the phone (20 percent) or using another electronic device, such as a tablet or game (2 percent).

texting and walking
image courtesy of


The study was developed to explore findings from a 2012 Safe Kids report that found pedestrian injuries among 16-19 year olds increased 25 percent over the previous five years. Teens now account for half of all pedestrian deaths among children 19 and under.

“We suspected that the increase was due to distraction by mobile devices, but there was not much data to support that conclusion,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “To understand the scope of the problem, we activated our network to observe 34,000 students crossing in school zones. The findings were alarming.”

In addition to the observational survey, the study also describes findings from discussions with more than 2,400 students. Almost half of the students (49 percent) say they use a cell phone while walking to school. Four out of 10 say they listen to music while walking. Interestingly, while teens are at the greatest risk for pedestrian crashes, only 22 percent of students say it is kids their own age who are most likely to be hit by a car while walking.

The report includes public policy measures that would protect walkers, like investments by government in making roads around schools safer.

“Distraction is a big problem, both while driving and walking,” said Carr. “Parents, talk to your kids to make sure they are paying full attention when crossing the street. And we adults need to follow our own advice. If we put our devices down, our kids are more likely to do the same.”

Safe Kids Worldwide and FedEx are launching a national effort calling on parents and teens to join the Moment of Silence Campaign and stay safe while walking.

Moment of Silence Campaign

In 2012 Christina Morris-Ward was killed while crossing the street. She was wearing headphones and carrying a cell phone. While mobile devices are part of everyday life, we should remember that putting them down when crossing the street can be the difference between life and death.  In memory of Christina and all those who have been killed or injured while crossing the street, Safe Kids is launching the Moment of Silence campaign. It’s easy to participate: simply commit to putting your device down and paying attention when crossing the street. Watch the video and learn more about the Moment of Silence campaign at

Tips for Parents

  • From the first conversation you have with young children about crossing the street safely, talk about the dangers of distraction.
  • Talk to teens about putting down mobile devices while walking and remind them of the importance of looking up, listening and making eye contact when crossing the street.
  • Set a good example by putting devices down when you are driving or walking around cars.

Tips for Teens

  • Put devices down, look up, listen, and make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.
  • Remember to watch out for cars that are turning or backing up. Walk on sidewalks or paths and cross at street corners with traffic signals and crosswalks when possible.
  • Be aware of others who may be distracted—and speak up when you see someone who is distracted.
  • If you need to use a cell phone, stop on the sidewalk and find a safe area to talk.
  • If you are wearing headphones, pull them down before you cross the street or turn the volume off.
  • Driveways and parking lots can be especially dangerous because we are walking close to moving cars. Turn off devices in places where cars are going in unexpected directions, like backing out of a parking spot or turning out of a driveway.

Tips for Drivers

  • When driving, look both ways for bikers, walkers or runners who may not be immediately visible or may step into the street unexpectedly.
  • Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods and school zones.
  • Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.


Safe Kids Worldwide is a global network of organizations dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with practical and proven resources to protect kids from unintentional injuries, the number one cause of death to children in the United States. Throughout the world, almost one million children die of an injury each year, and every one of these tragedies is preventable. Safe Kids works with an extensive network of more than 600 coalitions in the United States and in 23 countries to reduce traffic injuries, drownings, falls, burns, poisonings and more. Since 1988, Safe Kids has helped reduce the U.S. childhood death rate from unintentional injury by 55 percent. Working together, we can do much more for kids everywhere. Join our effort at

SOURCE Safe Kids Worldwide

AVG Releases Women + Tech Survey: Face-to-Face or Facebook?

Image courtesy of Ambro
Image courtesy of Ambro
Image courtesy of Ambro

AVG released an interesting survey in May of 2013 on the extent to which women are using technology to manage their love lives.

In an increasingly digital world, today’s ultra connected women have never been more emotionally detached. So say the findings of the latest global study by AVG Technologies N.V. (NYSE: AVG), the provider of Internet and mobile security, privacy and optimization to 150 million active users, which charts the changing ways women are using technology to form and manage their relationships.

AVG Findings

The study, which questioned 4,000 women in Canada, the UK, US, France, Germany and Brazil, highlighted the increasing role mobile devices and social media channels play in the dating process, and suggested that online research has displaced in-person chemistry when it comes to partner evaluation. Nearly 35 per cent of women now use social media channels to check out dates ahead of time, prioritizing pictures followed by common friends and finally interests and comments.

Just as women are turning to technology to kick-start their relationships, so too have they become reliant upon it to end them. Figures indicated that more than 50 per cent of those questioned either have or would break up with a significant other on the phone and more than a quarter have or would do so via text message.

“We all recognize that face-to-face is usually better than Facebook when it comes to relationships, but when so many of us live such busy lives it’s not surprising technology is increasingly being used as a substitute for one-on-one, in-person contact,” said Judith Bitterli, Senior VP of Marketing for AVG Technologies. “What’s more surprising is the extent to which women, both old and young, are now relying on technology in matters of the heart. This study suggests we’re all taking more of a personalized approach, using our devices to both pre-emptively filter potential partners and then cut them loose when we’re ready to move on.”

Some Interesting Stats

When it came to the different age ranges, predictably it was 18-25 year olds who were the most likely to break up with a partner using their phone (61 per cent), by posting on Facebook (19 per cent) or via sending a text message (38 per cent). That said, the older generations were not far behind, with 45 per cent of 45-54 year olds also indicating that they would or have ended a relationship using their phone. The most dramatic differences, however, arose between nationalities.

Though women in the US are the most prolific users of social media channels to screen dates, Brazilian women emerged as the most cutthroat group in the dating stakes. According to the survey, not only would 58 per cent use a phone call for a break up, but 61 per cent had cancelled dates based on information they’d discovered on social media channels. Data showed that Brazilians are also the most likely to break off a relationship over Facebook (18 per cent, while only 5% of Canadian women said they would do this).

Conversely responses indicated that the French were more traditional in their approach and the least reliant upon technology for their relationships. Fewer than 25 per cent of French women questioned look at social media channels ahead of a date (34% of Canadians do), and they are also the least likely to secretly read their partners’ text or email messages (18 per cent, while 40% of Canadian women said they snoop). Again, Brazilian women topped this particular group, with more than 50 per cent of respondents admitting to some form of mobile snooping.

Interestingly, 81% of Canadian women said they were in a long-term relationship (the highest percentage from responding countries), even though 51% of them said they would rather give up sex for a week over their mobile device (France, Germany and Canada were the only countries above 50% in this category).

Further Methodology:

An online survey of 4,000 women was undertaken across the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany and Brazil. The survey was set up using Qualtrics and respondents were from Qualtrics’ online panel. Fieldwork took place in April 2013.

Facebook Rehab Bestseller “Forty Days Off Facebook” Hits #1 on Amazon

facebook rehab

If you’ve been thinking about disconnecting from the social media behemoth Facebook you should take a look at the Facebook rehab bestseller “Forty Days Off Facebook”.  This book recently hit #1 on Amazon and is a great resource for anyone wishing to distance themselves from what can become a connecting yet isolating technology. Ryan Beale chronicles his journey to Facebook recovery when his life hits the tipping point.

Thirteen days after his divorce was finalized, Beale suffered the tragic loss of his older brother to suicide.  Always looking toward his big brother to push him further than he would push himself, Beale was forced to confront his new reality. He resolved to look inward in order to regain control of the chaos that was engulfing his life. However, he, like many others, was stuck in a holding pattern. He continued to use social media to keep his mind occupied.

“For me, Facebook has always been a love/hate relationship,” Beale said. “Having an understanding of the technology, I see how relationships via social media can play into a very delicate part of the human psyche. Reality is, I was using Facebook as a coping mechanism from confronting my own anxiety.”

He decided to take the next 40 days away from the social media site, and what began as a therapeutic experiment turned into a life-changing experience—an experience that has now begun to rip the conversation wide open on how a fast-paced, social-technology engulfed landscape is harming our ability to connect with ourselves and one another.  “I am concerned for the next generation and for my

facebook rehab
Facebook rehab

future child. I am concerned that they are learning poor coping skills from us which will absolutely affect their ability to emotionally cope with life’s stresses,” says Beale.

“This was something I never expected when sitting to write this book, but certainly appreciate it,” Beale said. “The letters and touching responses from readers revealing how my struggle has opened their minds to living with more purpose has reinforced the reason that I decided to share my story. That’s such a reward to me.”

Now recovered from his personal turmoil, Beale is happily married to a young woman he met during his 40 days off. They are expecting their first child this week.

If you’re seriously considering a Facebook rehab program this is the book for you. It’s an easy read and one that will encourage you as you walk towards recovery. You can purchase the book from Amazon.

Gadgets Podcast Episode 11

northern voice

Vancouver Gadgets presents Gadgets Podcast Episode 11 recorded on June 18, 2013. Your host Ben Abel takes nvoicelogoyou through Northern Voice 2013 and our involvement as well as the speaker we listened to. This podcast is best listened to using iTunes. The file name is Week Eleven 130618

Gadgets Podcast Episode 11

We talk about the Northern Voice 2013 conference and the speakers that we enjoyed meeting with and listening to. We talk about Travis Smith and his presentation on how to Improve Comments on Your Blog, Darren Barefoot’s chat on Why We Live the Quantified Life, Kazia Mullin and Rebecca Coleman took us through Power Sleuthing Your Audience and Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder and the DIY Daily talked about how Everyone Just Wants To Have Their Links Clicked.

What can I expect each week?

Each week we’ll talk about the top consumer electronics, social media and business news from the last week with a Vancouver, British Columbia, Pacific Northwest and Canadian focus!

Vancouver Gadgets is a Canadian Technology Blog focused on consumer electronics, social media and business featuring bloggers Jay Kenobi and Ben Abel. Follow us on Twitter at @vancouvergadget

Northern Voice 2013 is looking for speakers!

northern voice

Vancouver Gadgets is once again on the Organizing Committee for the 2013 Northern Voice conference set to run June 14th and 15th 2013. We are looking for speaker submissions for this event. Information on how to submit and what the conference is about is below. We look forward to seeing you at this event!

Fill out the speaker submission form by April 12, 2013!

Do you love the web? Do you like to create and share? Or have a unique experience to offer? Then Northern Voice 2013 is the place for you. We are now looking for speakers for the 2013 conference. If you have a topic to speak about, a story to tell or want to develop and run a panel; we encourage you to send in your awesome submissions by April 12, 2013. Please limit your submission to one typed page (250 words) when you send your submission in or if you do so via email include links to online properties you may have. Email us at

What is Northern Voice?

Northern Voice has been in operation since 2005 and is home to bloggers, tweeters, creative storytellers and an assortment of cool geeks (and non-geeks) who come together once a year to celebrate the world of personal blogging and social media. The conference will take place on Friday June 14th and Saturday June 15th 2013 at the HR MacMillan Space Centre.

How Does it Work?

Over the course of two days, conference participants can network, attend workshops and re-connect with friends and colleagues about personal blogging and social media. You might hear participants and speakers discuss how their friends use Pinterest, gripe about their workplaces because they can’t social media in the office, or find out from a food blogger what the best social restaurants are in Vancouver.

If you have never been to Northern Voice before, many participants also submit talk ideas. If you’ve attended before but didn’t know you could become a speaker, well you can. If you have spoken in past years and want to do so again then you are welcome to submit a topic again.

How Do I Know What Topic to Pitch?

We want you to submit a topic that you’re passionate about. Have a look at the presentation topics from 2012 to get an idea of what Northern Voice is about. Don’t be worried if your presentation topic sounds completely different from something we’ve done before, or a different take on something old. We review all the topics and ones that are different and original often score points with our judges.

Please note, we can’t guarantee that just because you were chosen in previous years that you’d be a shoo-in for this year.

Past Speakers at Northern Voice

– Tim Bray (
– Robert Scoble (
– Stewart Butterfield (
– Matt Mullenweg (
– Gillian Shaw (
– Blaine Cook (
– Anil Dash (
– Nora Young (
– Mike Vardy (
– Yael Cohen (
– John Biehler (
– And inspiring people like you!

What Happens After I Submit a Topic?

We’ll be going through all of the presentations after the April 12th deadline and will start contacting those chosen later in April . If you are chosen, your conference registration fee will be covered by Northern Voice.

If you aren’t selected for a speaking spot or to be a member of a panel, but still want to be involved, consider volunteering with the conference for this year. Being a volunteer will give you the opportunity to see us in action and just may confirm why you might make a great speaker for a future event. Please email us at

A Note on Travel Bursaries

If you are from outside of the Greater Vancouver Area we’d love for you to come and be part of Northern Voice and to enable speakers to come from all over we have a limited number of travel bursaries. Those chosen will be offered travel bursaries where applicable. We will reimburse for up to 500$ dollars should you meet our requirements.

Not Interested In Speaking? Want To Volunteer?

If you may not be ready for the spotlight, how about helping out behind the scenes? We always need volunteers and it is a great way to experience the conference! Send an e-mail to and get in touch with the Volunteer Coordinator for 2013.

Vancouver Social Media Awards Set for March 28 2013


Vancouver’s first Social Media Awards will be held on SMAwardslogoMarch 28th 2013 at the Roundhouse Community Centre to recognize local talent in Vancouver’s social media community. The event will be hosted by The Social Media Network and presented by Vancity Buzz.

The Social Media Network

The Social Media Network was founded in 2011 as an intercollegiate club. Since then, it has grown to form a community-based organization for students and professionals all over the Lower Mainland. Its goal is to help students, and industry professionals, develop and hone their social media skills through monthly speaker sessions, workshops, and networking events.

Awards Information

The Top 7 nominees for each category include some star-studded companies and individuals. The Best Social Media Campaign Top 7 includes work from DDB Tribal Canada, Rethink Canada, and Vancity. In the Best Social Video Channel category, local sports teams collide as the Vancouver Canucks match up against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Must Follow category contains a diverse group of nominations including one of Vancouver’s top foodies Follow Me Foodie, local HR expert Jillian Walker, and Playboy Energy Drink Canada.

In the Student Award Categories, the Top 7 nominees include school organizations and individuals from UBC, SFU, and BCIT.

For more information on The Social Media Network, please visit

Nature of the Digital Divide

The ‘Digital Divide’ includes to the idea that differences in access to IT in turn have social consequences, in other words, anyone who has access to modern communication techniques, has improved social and economic development opportunities. The origin of the term “digital divide” is controversial. A date for the first mention of the term may be attempted by clarifying the mailing list of the “Digital Divide Network” set in about the year 1994. Further efforts to clarify the concept of this resource had to be broken off. In fact, the term Digital Gap was already used by Bill Clinton in the second half of the 1990s.

The nature of the Digital Divide and the question of when it is closed depends on the chosen definitions. Of these, there are almost as many authors as what often ends up in contradictions. Based on the theory of diffusion through social networks, a conceptual framework can be established, which measures the different definitions, etc.

All types of studies and projects for the digital divide can be classified into four categories according to these questions: WHO, with WHAT features, is linked with WHAT for a technology, and HOW. WHO may include individuals, communities, organizations, societies, regions, etc. With WHAT features includes income, education, geography, age, gender, type of ownership, size, profitability, industry, etc. With WHAT technology includes telephony, Internet, computers, digital TV, etc. HOW linked includes only access, use, active pedagogy and process integration, etc. This results in a matrix with four dimensions, while each dimension consists of several variables. Each additional variable increases exponentially, the combinatorial complexity of this four-dimensional matrix.

For example, with only three different types of study subjects (individuals, organizations, or countries), each with 4 different characteristics (age, wealth, geography, sector), 3 different levels of access (access, use, active pedagogy), and 6 types of technologies (landline telephone, mobile phone, computer, digital television, Internet, broadband, with a certain speed), there are already (3 × 4 × 3 × 6) = 216 different definitions of the digital divide. Each of these is equally justified and depends solely on the goal that the user follows the definition.
Given this broad spectrum of possible definitions, it is liable to not be valuable in practice for “the” definition of the digital divide. The desired definition depends on context, and especially on the desired impact and the desired end use of the technology. supposing the definition of the digital divide is in practice always normatively aligned on the desired effect: depending on the desired effect, WHO, with WHAT characteristics should be combined with WHAT technology which attracts the best HOW.

The term Digital Divide is applied both to the differences between population groups within a society, as well as in terms of the differences between industrialized countries and developing countries. The term Digital Divide is also a reference to the so-called knowledge gap.

The discussion of this term must be associated with the theory, increasingly represented since the 1990s, seen after heading to the general development of an Information or Knowledge Society, in which the possibility to access and control these technologies to a large extent will be dependent on the personal success of a person.


Written by Lawrence Reaves for UDig  providing effective hiring strategies and recruitment principles to place the best IT candidates in rewarding positions. We learn about potential employees as people beyond their technical skills. Call 1-800-259-8344 to see how we can help.

Featured image courtesy of by Sammy0716 on Flickr

Pinterest and Fancy: Image Bookmarking Gone Social

Pinterest and Fancy are two relative newcomers to the world of social media.  Both have yet to gather a following quite as large as Facebook or Twitter however, for businesses, they can provide a far more focussed platform than either of the best known social networks.  Pinterest and Fancy are both image book marking sites, which allow users to post images of their favourite stuff.  A cross between blogs, wish-lists and mood-boards, the sites allow users to create a visual record of the stuff they have, want or really, really want.  Pinterest allows users to create virtual post it boards for a range of products from room design to their favourite clothes.  Fancy is a very similar and both are excellent places to promote your business and here’s why.


There’s quite a startling gender divide between the two sites.  Pinterest has a female following of around 80 per cent, with Fancy weighing in at 60/40 split, with males being in the majority.  OK, so time for some gender stereotyping; Pinterest seems to be weighted towards design, be that home, fashion or lifestyle.  Fancy is also a design conscious site but there is a techie gadget focus that’s less apparent on Pinterest.  I’m blushingly aware that this statement panders to horrific gender stereotypes and suggest girls like pretty things and boys like techie things.  Basically both sites are pretty hot on design, however that is expressed.  So circumnavigating the gender issue, I’ll leave up to you to choose you’re demographic; ultimately if you produce or sell designer products you should be on one, the other, or both.

The Bottom Line

With approximately 10 million users and 3 million visiting every day, Pinterest leads the way in exposure.  Fancy trails behind on this one, with 250,000 users and 16,000 visits every day.  When it comes to exposure for your products, this needs to be balanced with the demographic and your target market.  If you produce welding equipment neither site is likely to attract much in the way of sales, unless it’s designer welding equipment.

Sales Techniques

Firstly, Pinterest has no inbuilt sales platform; given the number of users it’s tempting to think that one will surface eventually.  At the moment it works on a referral model.  Fancy does incorporate a sales function, which may make it seem more attractive to businesses but both sites are jam-packed full of users who are already looking to buy and that is what counts.

Sociable Marketing

There are blog sections on both sites, but both sites work on a wordless blog model.  It’s the images here that count and this is what you should focus on when creating your presence.  Don’t go for the hard sell; some commercial users happily promote other businesses as well as their own.  Pinterest and Fancy users are a pretty sophisticated bunch; they’re about style and look, and they can spot blatant commercialism from the other side of the world.  It’s a fine balance promoting your own products and others, so consider complimentary products and even think about working with companies that fit snugly with your product to create a vibrant attractive profile that will gain a following.  Like the big boys of the social networking site, both Pinterest and fancy are all about following.  Those with large followings gather the most interest.  Consider following, relevant users, whose profile fits your offering.  Building links in this way helps to grow your own group, which will lead ultimately to sales.


Author Bio

Carlo Pandian blogs about small business, covering everything from the best use of social media for small businesses to tutorials on QuickBooks online accounting software.  When he’s not online Simon enjoys getting out and about on his bike and enjoying great food.