The Generator Project

The Generator Project Weekend

May 5th, 2017

No Comments

This weekend, folks at The Generator Project are once again encouraging us to take time for face to face engagement in our community.

The Generator Project was inspired by the blackout of August 14, 2003, on the Eastern seaboard of North America. Over 500 generating units shut down that afternoon and it resulted in the power being shut off to over 55 million people in Canada and the United States anywhere from 2-7 days.

I can recall driving back towards Toronto and stopping Barrie to visit a chiropractor that I had visited during my years at Molson. He had wonderfully bright windows in his office, but the power was out. He proceeded, like so many others, to just keep working through what was assumed to be a minor power outage.

As I continued down the 400, I was not aware of the outage, given that it was still daylight, until I pulled into the roadside stop for a bathroom break and power was off there as well.

People were talking about the outage and that it was widespread.

Checking in with Kathy and the kids, it was apparent that this was a massive outage. Rather than facing the mire of traffic at rush hour, I diverted to see the in-laws in the countryside. We lit up the bar-b-q, waiting for power to return.

As dusk settled in I headed home with an eery approach to the Toronto skyline in darkness. This was a serious situation!

Back in the neighbourhood, friends and families gathered on front porches and lawns to converse about what was transpiring.

I decided I’d have to bbq my walleye catch, from earlier in the day, after a morning of fishing near North Bay. The neighbours were thankful for that.

Hundreds of thousands of moments like this took place in August of 2003.

When was the last time that you turned everything off and took the time to just collect with neighbours and friends to chat about life?

The Generator Project is all about bringing together family and friends for social interaction. There need not be any other reason than to come together in your community.

So…have you planned a Generator Weekend event within your community yet? Check it out, engaged, converse, relax and revel in the joy of connecting face to face in dialogue with family and friends. Check them out on Twitter @GenProjectOrg.

I hope you are inspired by the Generator Project. I know I am. Cheers ! @FergDevins

Consider Blogging

February 12th, 2017

No Comments

A @ChrisBrogan Nudge

In Chris Brogan’s weekly newsletter February 12th , I was reminded of the wonderful early days of exploring social media in 2007. It prompted me to suggest that you consider blogging. 2007 was a time when blogs were exploding. If you couldn’t get traditional media to tell your story; you could develop your own media and shout your story out as loud as you wanted. Well, that said; you could create and post it – the level of sound and noise was up to you. In fact you had to follow through with your integrated and well-defined communications plan.

You Are In Control

They were the best of times. Brands were “early adopting” and exploring social channels. Marketing practices and long-standing media planning was put to the challenge. A community was unfolding and growing as people sought out social networks as channels for communication.

Chris’ Sunday newsletter wasn’t so much about challenging readers to write blogs, but it was a nudge to embrace what we have in our command. I see his nudge as a challenge to stand in a place of action, rather than contemplation. How many times have you seen a post and let it pass? Have you ever read a blog and considered commenting, but didn’t? Now more than ever, it is time to engage.

Channels are Open – Start Communicating

We have more social networks and media channels at our fingertips today than ever before. Many traditional media outlets have opened up their journalists and reporters to comment and debate. Unfortunately, some members of the public have been hiding behind trollish profiles and crass comments, compromising this dialogue in some areas. Respect is key, in creating meaningful dialogue. Mutual respect and appreciating and valuing that there are differing opinions, is critical to meaningful engagement.

Tell Your Story

What opportunity are you missing by letting others tell stories about you, your brand, your cause, your business or your community? Why let someone else lead that conversation?  You can embrace the opportunity to jump into the dialogue and bring your voice to the discussion, or sit in the stands and watch the play go back and forth. There’s more fun in the heat of the action, isn’t there?

Choose a Channel

For me, I like to be in the conversation. You need not be a techno expert to get into social media and generate a conversation. There are so many platforms options to consider blogging. Platforms today are built for any and all levels of comfort with technology. Gosh, if you can type or use a key board – you can create media for yourself, your brand, your cause, your business or enterprise. If you’ve got a solid idea or concept then write, click, drag and drop – you’re ready to roll. Personally, I’m active across many different social channels – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Obviously, this “blog” is also part of my footprint. I use a few tools to keep it all singing together. These include but are not limited to EClincher, Promo Republic, Commun.it, Buffer and Co-Schedule. I utilize CisionPoint, for media outreach, and Constant Contact for CRM. Canva is wonderful for developing photo assets. Filmora is terrific for video editing and pulling together quick video clips. Lots of resources to discover once you start exploring.

Naturally, it is not just about posting the story and they will come. It will take some planning and targeting of an audience. These channels are also wide open and easy to access and use.

Happy to Assist

If I’ve sparked something here for you let’s chat further. If you’ve got a story but don’t know where to start, connect with me and I’d be glad to talk about your business or peronal brand or cause purpose and where you might begin.

Truly, the first step is really up to you. If you don’t consider blogging, at least consider what network might help you get in a conversation with your community.

Let’s get that story out there now. @FergDevins 

PS – If you’d like some terrific ongoing coaching from a couple of guys that “get it”, check out @ChrisBrogan and @RobHatch and all that they’ve got going on at Owner Media Group.

Queen's Alumni

Queen’s Alumni Volunteer Summit

February 7th, 2017

No Comments

Queen’s Spirit

Ah – the spirit of Queen’s University. The strength of continuing the spirit of the tricolour is founded in the successful recruitment and engagement of alumni volunteers over 175 years. I have the pleasure of continuing to support my class of Arts and Science 1984 as a coordinator for our reunions. I was honoured to have served as Queen’s Alumni President in 1995-96. Although there has been much change on campus over multiple decades, the spirit, bond and community of Queen’s and it’s school spirit persists.

Volunteer Summit April 7-8

The Alumni Association introduced the notion of a “volunteer summit” a couple of years ago.

The Queen’s Alumni Volunteer Summit takes place April 7-8 at the Donald Gordon Centre near west campus in Kingston Ontario.

The weekend is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to gather, share ideas, re-connect and get tooled up for their branches and class reunions. The event involves a cross section of alumni through the decades. Branch representatives from around the world congregate to discover opportunities to better connect with fellow alumni.

The summit includes presentations and workshops led by the Queen’s University Alumni executive, staff, subject matter experts and guest faculty. During the weekend, the Alumni Awards gala takes place to honour those and their service to the Queen’s community.

Be Sure to Attend

If you are involved in your class reunions, branch activities or curious about how you might like to re-connect with the Queen’s community as a volunteer, be sure to seek further information and consider attending the volunteer summit. Yes, there will be an Oil Thigh…smiles. @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

This post was published on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 at 10:32 am and is filed under Uncategorised.

Love My Blog

Tips for the New Blogger

December 18th, 2016

No Comments

A Blog ?

The Holidays offer a time to relax, consider new pursuits, adjust your plan for the new year or perhaps just try something you’ve never thought of attempting before. In that regard one might consider writing a blog.

Blog Support

Sarah Smith had reached out to me about this great article and infographic that she has produced for the “new blogger”. I thought that is was certainly a great infographic capturing terrific tips for the blogger just starting out in the wonderful world of the blogosphere. Thanks to Sarah. I hope that bloggers find it useful. Cheers to the season.

Do you want to become a blogger? You might think that blogging is easy, just like what other people may have told you.  You just have to go to the Internet the entire day and write about ideas that you have in your mind. Well, the truth is, starting a blog is not as simple as it seems.

When you start writing your first blog, you will certainly realize that it is harder than what you thought it would be. You will encounter different issues that you must learn to overcome. Even the ones who have been blogging for a long time also experience some challenges or difficulties along their way.

Do not feel bad if you make some mistakes. Mistakes will not end your world. It is fine as long as you take them as a chance to learn and step up. You can also learn from other bloggers’ mistakes in the past to avoid committing such similar mistakes.

Blogging is fun and convenient for some people, so we want to help you make it a bit easier to start with. We have prepared this amazing infographic that contains a list of generally known mistakes a beginner blogger usually makes.

See the image below and gain information from the list. You can also follow the team on Twitter at Start Blog.

 Be aware of these common mistakes in blogging so you can avoid them when you start to create your own blog. Our website http://www.startbloggingonline.com can provide you with more helpful and simple blogging tips that you can also share with your friends.

beginning blogger mistakes to avoid

 

I Walk for Bladder Cancer

May 4th, 2016

No Comments

We all have our causes, our not for profits, our charities, our volunteer involvements and our community engagement initiatives. One of my priorities is Bladder Cancer Canada. In early 2014 I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. Thanks to an attentive general practitioner, whom I had seen for years, and a wiseacupuncturistt, whom I had also seen for years – I was referred to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Urology. I had two high grade non-muscle invasive tumours removed from my Bladder in March of 2014. Bladder Cancer is known to have a high incidence of recurrence, thus I have maintained regular three month check ups and a series of “BCG Treatments” since surgery.

I am a survivor of Bladder Cancer. I was also well informed and supported along my journey by the fine work of the Bladder Cancer Canada organization. They had strong and accessible resources, and people who had gone through this before me. For patients, that peer support and understanding ear and person to turn to is a wonderful opportunity to seize.

As a patient facing Bladder Cancer, and I’m sure any cancer or disease – one can feel quite alone in the battle. Bladder Cancer Canada certainly helped eliminate any risk of feeling alone through their tremendous support network.

In September of 2014 I organized a walk for Bladder Cancer Canada in Kenora, where we have our summer home. I joined the board of Bladder Cancer Canada in the spring of 2015, staged the second walk in Kenora in September of 2015 and then accepted the challenge of becoming National Walk Lead for Bladder Cancer’s September 2016 effort.

I walk because I know that the funds that I raise with you will make a difference. It will make a difference in supporting patients and caregivers. It will make a difference in raising awareness to help others get help early. It will make a difference by generating funds to channel for bladder cancer research.

I walk because bladder cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer amongst men, twelfth amongst women but funded below twentieth in research funding.

I am walking because I know that my efforts, with you – will make a difference.

Please join with me in supporting the Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Walk in 2016. You can register, volunteer and or donate at bccwalk.ca .

Thanks !  @FergDevins

PHOTO CREDIT – Clark Devins Photography

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Each and every year, across Canada, Scout Troops gather as a community resource to provide us with our much needed core Christmas decoration – the Christmas Tree. Thus a big shout of thanks to those moms and dads, neighbours, uncles, aunts, grandparents and volunteers in the Canadian Scouting Community for this wonderful service provided by our youth across Canada. Thanks for helping to bring joy into our homes at this festive time of year. @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

This aside post was published on Sunday, December 13th, 2015 at 10:18 am and is filed under Uncategorised.

Social Media Conversations – Which ones for You?

December 2nd, 2015

No Comments

I call myself a “Chief Conversationalist” working with clients in developing their strategically tactical conversations. Social Media conversations are diverse. Based on my career past, these social media conversations could be in any one of the areas of government relations, public relations, word of mouth, social media, employee communications or community outreach. Regardless of the context, I always stop and ask “What Conversation do you want or need to be in?”

Strategically Tactical

At first blush, “strategically tactical” might seem as opposing fronts. They actually hang harmoniously, as you plan your communications plan. You will want to be on strategy for your business or entity. You will also want to be tactically oriented towards delivering something back to your business or entity. Thus on strategy for your business or intent and tactically on target for delivering a results. Strategy relates to your message, as well as the channels you choose to reach your audience. Tactically pertains to deployment.

What Conversation

It is very easy to get lost in social media. You could spend all day checking things out on line, seeing what’s hot, what’s not. You might be following the stream of social media conversations that are emerging via your twitter account, your newsfeed on twitter or the posts that are flowing through from your LinkedIN connections. STOP – the most strategic conversation is the conversation that you want to be in for your business or entity. What is important to you business or goals? Once you have that figured out, you can determine what conversation(s) you might decide to join. This fundamental question, related to what conversation you are in, is a critical first step. If you are in the business of tourism – you will want to ensure that you are in conversations related to tourism and all things related. You may get more focused if you are a tour boat operator, hence conversations related to tour boats. Choose leaders in your subject area and check out their conversations.

Get into the Conversation

Many folks lurk about and see what social media conversations are unfolding. They take this on as research into areas of interest. My point here is to take the leap of faith and get into the conversation. Whatever your business or interest, I guarantee that you will find conversations taking place. By getting in, participating, engaging, sharing, opining – you will get into the conversation and build important credibility for you and your perspective. There is nothing gained by staying on the sideline with an open ear without actively engaging – unless of course your strategic intent is simply to be monitoring a conversation for insights.

Finding The Social Media Conversations to Join

Pick a social channel and search. It is not unlike picking a subject, a topic or an interest and searching in Google. Pick a social channel and search in the search bar to see what conversation of interest is unfolding. In just about any social network the #’s (hashtags) will take you to particular references of that word and conversation. In LinkedIN you might seek various groups to discover conversations of interest. In LinkedIN if you search a particular subject, it will likely pop up individuals who have used that word in their profile.  You are likely to find some interesting individuals of like minded interests.

If you subscribe or search any traditional media or on line publications, you will most likely find comments following an article allowing you to jump in those social media conversations. Another approach might be search blogs related to a specific topic or area of interest on google.

Avoid Political Ping Pong

In my opinion there is little to gain by engaging in political ping pong. Ping pong I say ?? Yes…ping pong. Have you ever experienced the situation where you or others share an opinion and the counter opinions start flowing. This can be enriching, if it is truly open perspective dialogue. If someone is actually open to anothers’ perspective, and you are as well – it may end up in wonderful an arena of collaborative thinking. However, if you are just batting one opinion vs an opposing opinion back and forth, I’d suggest that you’ve entered a game of political ping pong. Perhaps this is entertaining for bystanders. From where I sit there is little to gain for you, unless you want to show that you can shout loudly about  your entrenched position. This would be similar to engaging with “trolls” who just have an mission to discredit or oppose everything you stand for. I am often amazed by folks that get trapped into twitter debates at #onpoli or #cdnpoli on twitter. Wonderful game but little gain.

Where to Begin

Begin by choosing your conversation of interest.

Search areas of interest via google or in your social networks.

Listen intently for conversation or topics of interest.

Take a shot at jumping into the conversation.

After all…this is social media. Conversations you find will likely be quite rewarding and there will likely be doors that will open to many opportunities to explore with those with whom you engage.

What Conversation are You In ? I’d love to chat further with you if need help getting started or evaluating where to begin. Feel free to comment or reach out to me at any time. Cheers !

FERG @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

 

Confront Confrontation

October 2nd, 2015

No Comments

Arising Confrontation

Have you been nagged by a follower? 

Has someone posted something that you disagree with?

Is there a comment posted in a journalist’s article that is just not factually correct?

Has someone spread something in social networks that is just not true?

Opportunities for Confronting Confrontation

Ok…this happens each and every day – particularly given the wide open gates of social media when everyone can express themselves where and when they choose. Personal opinion once expressed over dinner, at a bar or during a coffee break are now literally surfacing in “posts” all across the social networks.

This new reality does not mean that people have license to spread untruths. The reality is that these posts are surfacing everywhere. Being aware of this is an opening to ensure that there is lively debate, that the truth gets told, and that those who are not stating facts can be scrutinized and reigned in.

I’m not referring to differing perspectives and debate…let those colourful conversations continue. I am referring to posts by people that are just opinion and in many cases are not fact based or true. I am also referring to the angry customer that posts some scathing remark about a  brand or service, and is left unchecked.

Why should someone making a negative statement about you, your brand or your cause go unchecked ?

Get into the Conversation

In these situations I highly recommend that you confront the confrontation. What have you got to lose?  What you have to lose is that, if you do not confront the confrontation or “mistruths”, these perceptions and opinions become the new reality and the misperceived truth…replacing fact. Remember the old cliche that perception is reality. Who’s leading the perception ? The non factualy story tellers or the defenders of truth?

Don’t be shy. In a world of social media the truth should stand out above and beyond all emotional opinion because it is fact based and not just a stance that someone with an opposing view decides to place in social media. Get into the conversation.

In my experience I have found that in most instances when you confront the confrontation you are most likely to see a negative comment move towards neutral – a neutral comment become more favourable – and a positive comment become even more positive.

Let’s also remember that “social media” is stronger when there is actually dialogue and conversation. It’s not just a broadcast network, it offers dialogue.

I have had many new opportunities for dialogue to arise when I have stepped into the conversation where I have taken a position to confront the confrontation.

Give it a try and let me know how you make out.

Cheers !  FERG @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

#BladderCancer

Bladder Cancer Canada Walk Kenora

August 11th, 2015

One Response

This might come across as a bit of a strange blog post for the Devins Network. Some might wonder why I’m writing about a cause on my business blog. Honestly, my business is all about community and generating and supporting conversations of possibility within that community.

Survivor Story

I am survivor of #BladderCancer. I was diagnosed in early 2014 with two non-invasive tumours. The terrific team at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto conducted the surgery and the treatment and follow up checks that have ensued since March 2014. My latest check up was an “all clear”…music to my ears…smiles. The “possibility” is that #BladderCancer can be detected early and fought back. There are many survivor stories post #bladdercancer detection.

#BladderCancer

Bladder Cancer is the 4th most prevalent cancer amongst men and 12th amongst women. That makes it the 5th most prevalent cancer in Canada. However – funding is below 20th.

www.bladdercancercanada.org

Bladder Cancer Canada is devoted to raising awareness – which will help early detection and better chances of survival, patient and caregiver support – to help those with questions, anxiety and meeting the unknowns, and funding research to gain new insights and new opportunity to continue to battle against bladder cancer.

In my commitment and determination to help fight bladder cancer I have joined the Bladder Cancer Canada board of directors and I am “walk lead” for the second year of the walk to be held in Kenora Ontario.

Kenora Walk for Bladder Cancer

Last year through the Kenora walk we raised over $50,000. This year I’ve set the bar even higher at $75,000.

Take Action !

I am hopeful that friends, family, acquaintance, business associates, past patients, survivors, health care workers and the general public interested in helping this fight will join us September 27th. You can truly help make a difference through a donation, or by spreading the word about #BladderCancer or joining a walk in  your community in September. Jump on board for the Kenora Bladder Cancer Awareness Walk.

Thanks for helping make a difference in the fight against #Bladder Cancer.

Cheers !

@FergDevins

#FathersDay

June 21st, 2015

No Comments

Being a father. Appreciating all that is Fathers Day.

Joy of seeing our new borns grow through the years of pre-school, primary education, secondary education, post seconday pursuits and transforming into being young adults.

Pride in seeing the accomplishments of our children as they grow, learn, struggle, achieve, fail, win, explore and gain their independence over the years.

Love for children in good times and in bad…when there is nothing that they can do that won’t have you there for them in their time of need.

Support for them in times of need, when seeking opportunities, when discovering themselves, when learning how to manage their lives, their affairs, their relationships, their careers.

As a father one can also better appreciate what it was like for our dad, his dad and his dad and how they were all their for the next generation of sons and daughters.

A toast to all dad’s on this #FathersDay.

@FergDevins