2011 Year in review

I see many friends uploading their “Year in Review” posts and I’m finally sitting down to write it myself.

Looking back, 2011 was a busy year for me. I am not sure if it’s neccesarily a bad thing though. I’m just re-reading my posts from this year and reflecting.

Here are some of the big moments of 2011.

– Dove Singing in the Rain campaign.

In February, I flew in to Toronto with 13 other fabulous women to film a web commercial. The shoot was a lot of fun, but what I got out of this project was handful of really amazing friends. We live all over Canada, but we constantly connect and share through social media. The experience and the friendship is definiately something money cannot buy, and I am so grateful for them.

-Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

As I read my past posts, I could see March was a rough month. I wrote about running into my friend, and re-reading this post got me all tear up. They are still in Japan and she is getting treatments.

Then the 311 earthquake happened. I didn’t write anything about it on this blog, mainly because I didn’t know what to write. What can I write when your home country is hit by the biggest disaster since World War ll? I still remember the hopeless, devastated feeling I felt while watching all the TV footage. I was asked to talk on a national TV show and I barely got to speak as I was crying. It’s been 9 months and still 300,000 people are without homes.

Then amazing Victoria community all came together to put on Hope Love Japan fundraising event. The event was a huge success and we have raised over $14,000 CDN and have been donated to Canadian Red Cross.

-Trip to Japan in May

Because of the earthquake and Tsunami, my plan to visit Japan with my kids have been changed, and I ended up going by myself. I was there about two weeks, and thought this might be my first and last time to visit Japan without kids. (Turns out I am doing it again in February 2012)

I visited my family in Sasebo, Nagasaki, and then I also stayed in Tokyo for a week. Believe it or not, this was the first time I spent so much time in Tokyo, and I had an absolute blast. I met many online friends there – many from Tasukeai Japan team where I volunteer. I even got to meet Chief Cabinet Secretary, that was cool.

I met up with many online friends and we got to discuss social media. There is a huge gap between how social media is perceived and used in Japan and North America, and it was fascinating to learn that. This made me realize one day I would like to the work to connect them together.

-It’s all about social media

Last half of 2011 were filled with many social media events. I was a part of Social Media Camp again this year. Great to see Jayagain and meet Amber for the first time. See how much fun we had?

Also, Russel and I had a one year anniversary of Getting Engaged show. We are thankful for all your support and hoping to kick it up a notch in 2012.

In October, I was back in Toronto for Blissdom Canada. It was so wonderful to see all the online friends.

Then I also did BlogWorld LA in November. This is the year I finally started to see that I am part of this industry. I stopped to feel insecure about exactly what I’m contributing to the industry, just that I am part of it.  I met so many amazing people like Chris and Jacq, and they continue to inspire me on daily basis. For that I am very grateful.

-I fell in love

As you know I have been single since I separated from my ex-husband. I have dated here and there but I was almost just as happy to be by myself.

This all changed when I was in LA.

Did you hear about this guy’s ghostwriter story? I do remember catching it on Twitter(pretty sure it was Scott Stratten‘s RT). At that moment I had no idea who he was, but I read the story, thought it was funny, and went about my day.

In early October, my friend Dan hosted his usual High Noon Hump Day Lunch Tweetup. (He does this on Wednesdays.) I do remember I was on the fence about attending. Maybe I was feeling lazy. But I went anyway. Little did I know he was the guest for the tweetup and Dan had interviewed him over Skype. I tweeted about it and later he thanked me for it -and that’s how we met. I already had the plan to go to LA, so we met up- in fact, he picked me up at the airport when I landed in LA, and we have been together ever since.

The funny thing I learned about myself over this experience is, when you meet someone you have been waiting for your whole life as your dream man, you freak out. I came up with all kinds of excuses for not being with him. It’s the fear…fear of failure, fear of getting hurt again, fear of judgement, etc etc, that prevents me from being courageous and just go with the flow. Luckily, I came to senses and now I have never been this happy.


Finally, this is not a popularily contest, but I wanted to thank few people who has influenced me this year.

Jason Kolt

I met Jason over Twitter and we met up for coffee earlier in the year. I remember we closed down the coffee shop. He is sensitive, creative, funny and although we are both so busy and don’t get to see each other too much, I feel he gets me. I hope to spend more fabulous time with him in 2012.

Chris Guillebeau

I’ve read Chris‘ “The Art of Non-Conformity” few months ago, but this is the year I realized he’s the man I really want to learn from. I want to do what he does- work location independently and travel. I am hoping to attend World Domination Summit(WDS) in 2012 and learn and grow.

Mike Vardy

Mike is the productivity expert and writer based right here in Victoria, and I got to have some interesting chat with him later this year. I value his opinion and perspective greatly, as I know he and I share a very similar view of the industry. He is the one who recommended I attend WDS. I feel as though he is my senior coalleague.

Steve Hof

Steve owns Sauce Restaurant and Lounge in Victoria. He and I became friends around June and we always have the best conversations. He is passionate about his restaurant, social media and giving back to the community. I also want to thank him for pointing me into Crossfit. I started training in the fall, and as hard as hell it is, I am still doing it. It is a completely new workout program for me, but I think I actually enjoy it. So, thanks Steve.


Overall, 2011 was a busy, exciting, and also a tough year. But I don’t believe too much in looking back. I believe in looking forward. So, here’s my farewell to 2011 and I am excited to welcome the new year.


Social Media Camp 2011

Yelp's interactive scrabble board. One of the many cool booths at SMCV11

I was again involved with Social Media Camp(SMCV) 2011 as Speaker Coordinator. Last year was the first annual SMCV.

Last year, I organized “Lunch with the Social Media Rock Stars” component etc, but my role this year was focused solely on communicating with the speakers and our accommodation and transportation sponsors. I’d like to thank all the sponsors who were patient with my many last minute changes and requests.

I loved the job because I love connecting and getting to know all the people who were coming to SMCV. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of service since I have participated in several projects in the past, (and they have been extremely positive. Thanks Disney and Ogivly) and I have tried my best to provide SMCV speakers the same experience. Guess we’ll find out how we did very soon from the survey.

The morning of SMCV11, I could not get over how big it has been since the last year. It’s over 2 days, and we had 650 people attend this year. It was bit of an organized chaos, but I loved the excitement and seeing all the familiar faces. Of course, there is ALWAYS that last minute crisis and drama, but having involved in enough events like that, it’s almost expected. 🙂 Not a big deal.

I could not attend many of the sessions but met some fabulous people for the first time – I really do appreciate meeting new people and making the connections in real life. It’s the encounter like that that turns into something real and meaningful in the future. I was SO excited to see my friend Marty McPadden, who I met at BlogWorld last October. Marty and I met in Vegas, when we were both trying to go to a “secret” party at Luxor. It was so secret I couldn’t find my way to the party! In comes Marty and his friends to the rescue. We caught the same elevator to the suite, and the rest is history. He has been a great friend online for me since then, and he came to SMCV11 all the way from Connecticut! How cool is that!

Marty, me and Derek

Thank you Derek, Aaron, Russel and Janice who took great care of him here in Victoria. 🙂

It was great to see Jay Baer again too. He is such a “What you see is what you get” kind of guy – (it’s a complement in case you are wondering) and it meant a lot to me and Russel that we got to film an episode of Getting Engaged with him. (He is the only recurring guest on our show!)

Wonderful to meet the other keynote, Amber Naslund as well.  We kind of hit it off as we are both single moms, and had some awesome time at the after party.

Love this shot of Amber, Russel and me. Photo by Derek Ford

Oh, and did I mention I won “Most Likely to Become A Social Media Celebrity” West Coast Social Media Awards? Despite the fact I do a video show weekly I do not handle public attention very well, so I was mostly embarrassed at the award ceremony. Sorry I couldn’t make any witty speech. But I am very much humbled.

Actually, it meant more for me that late Derek K. Miller won the ‘Most Inspiring Social Media User” award….I did not know him very well, but I was deeply inspired by his his blog and I was so happy Raul was there to receive the award on his behalf. (By the way, Raul, I know you know this, but you are absolutely fabulous. You saved me couple times during the SMCV11 and I thank you dearly for it.)

I know there are a lot of constructive criticism about SMCV11 and I’m sure we will be tackling them soon to plan better SMCV12….Congratulations to founders/organizers Paul Holmes and Chris Burdge for the successful Social Media Camp and thank you so much for making me a part of it!

PS: Special edition of Getting Engaged….we asked SMCV11 Heavy Hitters – “How do you define Engagement?”

Social cause and social bullying

Last week, I did Communication Shutdown-to shut down Facebook and Twitter for 24 hours to raise money and awareness for Autism.
I first found out about this on Facebook, my FB friend Jay Baer had posted a status saying “I challenge you to join us in the 1st global facebook shutdown. Check out the site and get your badge for Monday”. I was curious, and went to see the site.
Here’s the excerpt from the website: “Social network users have become reliant and even addicted to platforms like Facebook and Twitter. And if they shutdown for 1 day, they will feel a sense of disconnection and a sense of frustration. By creating a little empathy, we hope to encourage a wider understanding and acceptance of people with autism – an understanding we recognize those in the autism community already have.”

I personally don’t know anybody who has autism-Main reason I did the shutdown was just because I am such a Twitter addict(everybody knows that!)-I KNEW it will be difficult, but I was willing to accept the challenge.

So I donated, got a badge, and posted on Twitter and FB that I will not be around on November 1st. MANY people asked me what the heck was going on, and I explained. Many people like the idea and they joined the shutdown themselves.

I spent November 1st by just working through email, reading, and playing with kids. It was actually amazing how much I got done, and it was a bit scary for me (for how much time I’m spending on social media) and for Twitter(watch out guys-I might not need you much).
Anyhow, the day has come and gone, the world didn’t end if I didn’t use Twitter, and I was back on Tuesday morning.

Then I saw on Facebook Scott has posted a status:

There were a lot of comments on his status, including me and Jay saying that we both had negative response, too. Looks like most of the negative comments were shutting down communication does not have any positive effect on the cause. Some said shutting down for just one day is not anywhere close to the real experience those people with autism have. It’s kind of like trying to live in a wheel chair for one day.
Those criticisms are valid, and I get that. But it certainly caused a lot of buzz and got a lot of people talking-which was the point- to raise awareness.

As social media grows, we see more and more movements like this-we are constantly asked to show your support for various cause.
Is this a good thing? I suppose so. But at the same time, some of us are starting to feel the pressure and stress from all the “social cause” requests. Like my friend Kelli said, there are so many causes to participate in, you can’t do it all. I totally agree with her.

This reminds me of what Malcolm Gladwell wrote few months ago, that Social media cannot move people in “real” situations. Changing an avatar is like “Liking” on Facebook-I personally love how Jay put it, it’s a digital bumper sticking. But that does not mean those people are not serious about the cause. I certainly was serious when I shut down.

What I have problem with is the people who blame those who do not participate. Or those who attack the one who support certain cause.
(There are some ridiculous boycotts out there too, but that will require a whole new blog post. There definitely is a fine line.)

I am so annoyed with all the “social bullying” around all the causes – Come on – are we, like, 12?
I have never forced anybody to join me on any cause, and I am totally OK if you don’t participate.

I saw an ad for HSBC at an airport the other day- “The world would be a dull place if everyone agreed on everything”.. It is so true.