Tag Archives: calgary

The #yycflood and the unsung hero who kept @calgarypolice Twitter feed going

Its been a few weeks since the floods in southern Alberta hit so unexpectedly and caused so much damage. There has been alot of coverage of the recovery efforts and all the incredible people that have contributed to these efforts. This post is going to focus on the role of Twitter and how important it was to the thousands of people in Calgary and surrounding areas including on a very personal level how critical it was for me considering I was in Halifax the day that this event was happening. Lastly – I want to highlight a very important moment with respect to Twitter and an unsung hero who was critical in ensuring that news and information kept going out to Calgarians.

On June 20 I was in Halifax. I had the pleasure of speaking to our Atlantic Canada sales team. Throughout the day I was receiving updates from my wife with respect to weather warnings. By the end of the business day in Halifax the updates started to sound more critical with flood notices being issued and updates of more and more damage to the west of Calgary. By the time I had finished dinner with some of my YPG colleagues the updates where getting pretty serious with a number of communities in Calgary being evacuated and my neighbourhood was definitely on notice. (As an aside – check out Ristorante a Mano in Halifax, incredible restaurant).

By the time I got back to hotel all hell it seemed was breaking loose in Calgary. I immediately jumped onto Twitter and started to follow the #yycflood twitter stream. It was pretty evident from some of the early pictures that where being posted on Twitter that this flood was nothing compared to what happened in 2005. This is when I started to make the necessary changes to the travel plans to get back to Calgary as soon as possible, coordinating with my parents who live in downtown Calgary and helping to remotely make arrangements to ensure that everybody had a safe place to stay for the night in case of evacuations.

One of the early primary sources of official information was from the @calgarypolice twitter feed. They where doing an incredible job helping to faciliate information between the @cityofcalgary twitter feed and the general public by answering specific questions. Here is an example:

Screenshot of communication between Calgary police and residents regarding the #yycflood flood

Screenshot of communication between Calgary police and residents regarding the #yycflood flood

As the flood worsened and the volume of updates/responses to citizens increased, the twitter account for the @CalgaryPolice got shut down at around 7pm pst time. Considering the volume of tweets all of sudden from this account it would make sense that Twitter’s security system would halt this account. I know a lot of people got emotional when this happened (how could twitter shut this account down considering what is happening) but to be fair to them they monitor account activity and not context. The key at that moment was to get the @CalgaryPolice account back up and running to provide these critical updates to Calgarians.

Below is a collection of images with time stamps on communications to get this twitter feed up and running again. As you will see below, one of the unsung hero’s of the early moments of the Calgary Flood was Sylvain Carle, platform relations manager for Twitter. He was instrumental in making sure that the @calgarypolice twitter feed was back up and running in under 40 mins from the time it was blocked. After the reactivation of the account the @calgarypolice provided hundreds up dates on the 20th and 21st and answered hundreds of tweets of concerned residents.

Text message string between my wife and I regarding the Calgary Police Twitter Feed

Text message string between my wife and I regarding the Calgary Police Twitter Feed

Direct twitter message with Sylvain Carle - Twitter

Direct twitter message with Sylvain Carle – Twitter – to help in reactivating the @CalgaryPolice feed

String between Sylvain Carle, CST Jeremy Shaw and other Twitter users including myself

String between Sylvain Carle, CST Jeremy Shaw and other Twitter users including myself

Account Re-Activated thanks from the Calgary Police (although they thanked the wrong account)

Account Re-Activated thanks from the Calgary Police (although they thanked the wrong account)

For me personally, twitter has always been a primary source of news information. However, until you go through an event where real-time communication becomes your life-line you don’t really appreciate how important Twitter’s platform is. When I think of the events of that night I am so impressed at how technology played an instrumental role in potentially saving life’s and calming the general public.

Lastly, I would like to once again say thank you to Sylvain again for jumping into action. His efforts where critical in ensuring that communication continued to flow from the right sources and no doubt in my mind helped hundreds of Calgarians indirectly through his actions. Thanks Sylvain (@froginthevalley).

P.S. – For another good read on Social Media’s role in the Calgary Flood, check out the blog post by Danielle Montgomery called Calgarians fight disaster with social media on the Edmonton Journal.

Coming to Calgary (my home town) – Deal of the Day by RedFlagDeals.com

I had a great chat with Cara Sealock, the deal buyer manager in Calgary. She was telling me about how exciting it was to speak to local SMBs regarding the deal of the day concept and the reception so far within the Calgary market. If you have not already, sign up to receive offers at DealoftheDay.ca.

Deal of the Day in Calgary

Of course, Groupon and LivingSocial are currently the two most popular sites operating in Calgary, with a host of other guys, however, RedFlagDeals.com is looking to establish itself as it has in Toronto and Montreal. Since Groupon’s launch in Calgary on August 8, they have saved Calgarians over $1.3M and LivingSocial’s since September 16, they have saved Calgarians over $4.6M off retail price – that’s a lot of savings.

For business owners, check out this video that pretty much explains the benefits of participating in deal of the day. If you are interested in participating in Calgary, contact Cara Sealock at 403 204 5746.

Are Canadians Checking In?

There is no doubt about it, if you follow the online local space that Check-In is “In” for 2010. A recent article on Mashable, “Foursquare’s Growth Not Slowing Down: 725,000 Users, 22 Million Checkins” definitely proves the point for this 1-year old startup organization.

In February I did a post on my FourSquare experience that you can read on my initial experiences and the impact on local.

A couple of days, one of my work colleagues, Mohamed Kahlain, follow him on Twitter, sent me the link to CheckIn Mania, a mashup that features checkins from FourSquare, GoWalla and Britekite. This was originally posted on Mashable.

In a nutshell what CheckIn Mania does is allows you to enter any city, click on the map and select a business. Once you select a business you can see who is the mayor of that place + how many checkins to that business and any tips. You also have the ability to select the “Search by Map” which is a neat feature that allows you to move the map and the locations update as opposed to updating the locations by click.

Here is the screenshot with one of my favorite restaurants (of which I am in the Mayor in Calgary) called Spicy Hut.

Check In Mania for Calgary and Spicy Hut

It is no secret that any of the location based services listed above have the highest penetration in major US markets like San Francisco and New York, but what about Canada?

Are Canadians checking in?

So I decided to spot check some businesses in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal to see how active Canadian’s are. I decided to focus on Restaurants. My selection criteria for which restaurants and spas to choose was as following, In Google I did a local search and selected business #3 in their 7-pack. In YellowPages.ca, I selected the #8 business and in Yelp.ca I selected business #6. This would give me a random sample of businesses. I also limited this to FourSquare as this is the most popular check-in service.

Here are my findings.

Vancouver Restaurants:
C Restaurant (selected from Google) – 9 checkins
Tojo’s Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 33 checkins
Top Of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant (selected from Yellowpages.ca) – 17 checkins

Calgary Restaurants
Calgary Marriott Hotel (selected from Google) – 21 checkins
Capo Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 5 checkins
Karma Fine Indian Cuisine (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 2 checkins

Toronto Restaurants
Bistro 990 Restaurant (selected from Google, this is actually listing #4) – 11 checkins
Pomegranate Restaurant (selected from Yelp) – 8 checkins
The Real Jerk (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 34 checkins

Montreal Restaurants
Restaurant Toqué (selected from Google) – 5 checkins
Santos (selected from Yelp, actually #8) – 40 checkins
Arahova Souvlaki (selected from YellowPages.ca) – 15 checksin

The only thing that surprised me about the above results is Toronto. I would have expected to Toronto to come in closer to Montreal in terms of checkins because of population concentration and smartphone penetration. However, this might be a result of the fact that Toronto does not have the density of Montreal (land mass to population size), which might also explain why Vancouver is more comparative to Montreal. Calgary actually holds it own, relative to its population size and the fact that Calgary.

Although comparatively to the US, Canada is not at the 1/10 rule (see some US results below), it is pretty clear to me that Canadians in the large urban markets have started to embrace checkin. This group, like in the US, are the ones at the start of the product curve and the big question going forward is whether checkin services will hit mass adoption.

How does this compare to the top US cities. Here are the results for San Francisco and New York using the same process as above. I used YellowPages.com as the 3rd source.

San Francisco Restaurants
Zuni Cafe (selected from Google) – 459 checkins
R & G Lounge (selected from Yelp) – 296 checkins
Cote Sud (selected from YellowPages.com) – 6 checkins

New York Restaurants
Spring Street Natural Restaurant (selected from Google) – 495 checkins
La Sirene (selected from Yelp) – 52 checksin
Serendipity 3 (selected from YellowPages.com) – 236 checkins

Most Popular Calgary Shopping Mall Websites in Comscore

In doing some research work this afternoon using ComScore Media Metrix, I noticed the Cross Iron Mills mall in the results. This got me thinking; which Calgary Shopping Mall website is actually the most popular?

Here are the results:

Most Popular Calgary Shopping Mall Websites

This is only a 2009 view, but what was interesting is that Cross Iron Mills was getting some incredible web traffic from the time it registered in September and peaking in October and from a web perspective has established itself as Calgary’s leading shopping mall.

In September, Cross Iron Mills had more web traffic than both Market Mall and the Chinook Centre had combined. In October, same thing, Cross Iron Mills dominated the landscape but notice the spike in traffic to the Market Mall website.

Was this a result of the fact that Cross Iron Mills was the first shopping mall to open in 25-years or the fact that they were investing heavily in all forms of traditional media advertising. I suspect a combination of both.

Now if you are from Calgary you are probably asking yourself about the other malls, SouthCentre, Deerfoot and Sunridge. These malls do not have their own websites, instead they resolve to Shopping.ca – so if I included the numbers for shopping.ca it would have skewed the pure results.

What I can tell you is that the shopping.ca network of mall sites, which includes all the Cambridge Ivanhoe properties in Canada has only 311K visitors registered in October with the best month of the year in being May at 455K. Considering in October that Cross Iron had 82K or 26.37% of the traffic of shopping.ca (with all the properties), it is safe to say Cross Iron is still the king in terms of traffic in Calgary.

The other malls in Calgary that have independent websites are not registered in ComScore, hence they were not included.

Links related to this post:

Market Mall – write a review at darbysieben.com
Chinook Centre – write a review at darbysieben.com

Get driving directions at YellowPages.ca for Market Mall or Chinook Centre.

Interested in a Marketing Role with Canada’s Leading Online Commercial Directory; YellowPages.ca?

Over the past two months I had have the pleasure of meeting a lot of new marketing candidates who have joined Yellow Pages Group Canada. The range of experience and quality of people is absolutely. This past week, I had the pleasure of meeting Martin Aubut who is a clear leader in social media, check out his linked profile.

Since I joined YPG in 2006 (as an employee, been working with the organization since 2001), I sometimes have to remind myself how incredibly lucky I am to be surrounded by high quality people. It is true that at the heart of any great company is people and YPG is not short of talent, which is probably one reason why YPG has been recognized as one of Canada’s Leading Employers.

Canada's Leading Employees

I am currently looking to hire 2 Senior Managers of Business Development for YellowPages.ca, Canada’s Leading Online Commercial Directory. I need one located in Montreal and one located in either Calgary, Vancouver or Toronto. If you are interested, please check out Yellow Pages Group HR Page and search for Job #1802 if interested in Montreal or #1836 if interested in Calgary/Vancouver or #1954 if interested in Toronto.

Here is a snapshot of some other interesting performance marketing roles.

The Performance Marketing Training Specialist will be part of a team of experts (Performance Marketing Delivery Team) mandated to provide dedicated support to sales representatives in achieving their targets of print and online products, with particular emphasis on Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media. Check out the YPG HR Page and if you are interested in Calgary, search for posting #1811 and if you are interested in Burnaby search for posting #1795

Check out all the positions that are currently being recruited for.

If you have any questions about working with YPG, please feel free to post a comment.