Category Archives: social media

Learning from Michael Strahan

Who is Michael Strahan? NFL fans know who he is. My sister knows who he is. He’s a retired pro football player who has transitioned into a very successful career as a TV personality. He’s the charming gap-tooth smiling man from Good Morning America.

So now you know who he is.

This week I’ve had the good fortune to find myself in New York City attending SMX East, IAB MIXX and Advertising Week. During Advertising Week, I attended a session featuring Joe Buck (an NFL/FOX Sports broadcaster), Strahan and others from both the NFL and FOX.

They were discussing media and advertising when, all of a sudden, Buck asked a question about how the NFL cares about the health of their players. It was an out of place question considering the event. The lady representing the NFL spoke about how much the NFL (and their fans) care about the players and the health of the players. The answer was more shocking than the question.

I have no doubt that the NFL has “feelings” about the health of the players. The NFL continues to grow in popularity and economic strength. And this all happens as stars retire (forced to by injuries or otherwise) and new stars are “created”. But to ignore the huge elephant in the room (concussions and the related issue of head trauma – if you’ve been sleeping under a rock) was disrespectful to past and current players.

So I tweeted this:

I did not expect anyone to respond. I even realized that @joebuck was not the Joe Buck. But I wanted the panel to know that I noticed.

But Michael Strahan saw. And he responded. And we had a little Twitter discussion:

Michael Stahan

I think we’ve agreed to disagree. Which is cool. But I do appreciate that he took the time to have this little conversation with me.

Some quick lessons:

  • Don’t hide. We know you’ve seen the tweet. Respond.
  • Be courteous. Strahan was not rude in his response. And neither was I. We were both professional.
  • Don’t be afraid to criticize but be prepared to have a conversation.
  • Don’t let your ego get in the way. Strahan is a very popular media personality in the US. I’m not an NFL fan living in Canada with no media clout at all.


Welcome! Episode #28: Georgia Sapounas

Georgia Sapounas is a former Canadian and World Champion figure skater and current Senior Manager of Digital Marketing for Team Canada (Canadian Olympic Committee).

In this episode we talk about her journey from a child wanting to be in the Olympics to being on the women’s team figure skating team at the Canadian and World Championships. We also chatted about her retiring from elite athletics and getting into digital and social media.

Today, Georgia heads up strategy and planning for Team Canada’s digital and social team.

Listen here:

Girth Radio
Google Play Music
You can also subscribe to the podcast via RSS Feed if you’re so inclined.

Internet Live Stats – Internet Usage & Social Media Statistics

Watch the Internet as it grows in real time and monitor social media usage: Internet users, websites, blog posts, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest users. Visualize the total number of emails, Google searches, YouTube videos, Tumblr posts, Instagram photos, in 1 second. Historical trends, statistics, infographics and live data visualization

Source: Internet Live Stats – Internet Usage & Social Media Statistics

Facebook F8 and BCON

Recently, two very important conferences have taken place. One was in Toronto: BCON. The other in San Francisco: Facebook F8. I attended BCON here in Toronto and followed the F8 conference via updates from Facebook.

I also happened to write about these two events.

I wrote about my 5 takeaways from BCON on the Active International blog. BCON is a conference focusing on how brands and publishers can continue to use and iterate on Branded Content.

Active’s blog also hosted a very short piece on some marketing highlights from Facebook’s F8 conference.

Lastly, I finally submitted another piece to I’ve been a regular contributor to itbusiness but recent work commitments have seen my contributions dwindle. Hopefully this will increase again over time.  I wrote about the 4 things that mattered at the Facebook F8 conference.

I hope you enjoy the articles!

Facebook Live

I’m a big fan of Periscope. And so is Facebook. So much so that the social media giant recently launched Facebook Live. What is it? Facebook Live is Facebook’s live streaming functionality. Which means we will all be seeing (and getting notifications) live video in our Facebook newsfeed very soon. Missed going to Opening Day? No need to worry. Just log in to Facebook (or Periscope or Twitter) and watch a Live feed of the game being streamed by one of your lucky friends.

Here’s how to use Facebook Live and start a broadcast:

Facebook Live

Don’t see the broadcast icon? Neither do I. Facebook Live is still not available to everyone. Stay tuned…

So I got a new job

Many of you may have already heard. But it’s now official (meaning the company has made an announcement): I have a new job.

I recently left Catalyst/Maxus (part of GroupM) where I was managing the paid social business for Nestle Canada to join iNvolved Media (part of Active International). At iNvolved my title is Director, Social Media Strategy. What this means is that I will be leading the efforts to grow the social media leadership and business for the agency.

I’m really excited about flexing these muscles in my new role.

You can read the official press release here.

Instant Articles: Facebook

If you haven’t heard about or seen Facebook’s Instant Articles you will be very soon. Especially if you’re in Canada.

Instant Articles have been around for a little while now. It basically allowed publishers to post Facebook exclusive content to the social media giant’s platform. By accessing the more than 1 billion active users, the publisher would, in essence be exposing their content to more available readers.

Earlier this month, Facebook opened Instant Articles up to all publishers. Currently, Canadian publishers on the Instant Articles platform include Chatelaine, Diply, The Huffington Post Canada, Journal de Montreal, Maclean’s, Sportsnet, The Canadian Press and TVA Nouvelles.

According to a Facebook blog post:

We built Instant Articles to solve a specific problem—slow loading times on the mobile web created a problematic experience for people reading news on their phones. This is a problem that impacts publishers of all sizes, especially those with audiences where low connectivity is an issue. With that in mind, our goal from the beginning was to open up Instant Articles to all publishers and we’re excited to be able to do that in a way that makes it fast and easy for all publishers to reach their audiences on Facebook.

Here’s what Instant Articles looks like (on my Android device specifically):

instant articles | facebook

See the “lightning blot” circled in red? That denotes an Instant Article. In this case, it’s from When a user clicks on the image in this unit they see:


For the user, it’s a much better experience than clicking through and reading the article on the Slate website. Once done, the reader would then close the mobile browser and re-open Facebook. With Instant Articles, the reader doesn’t have to leave Facebook.

For the publisher, they get more eyeballs on their content. And with more eyeballs comes the potential of increased revenues. However, this revenue is shared with Facebook.  And more eyeballs on their Facebook content doesn’t necessarily mean more eyeballs on their own websites/blogs. What does this mean for the future of publishers if they continue to rely heavily on Facebook for their revenues?

For Facebook, it make their platform more sticky. Facebook always wins.


Twitter animated GIF button is now live

A few days ago I noticed a new GIF button on my Android Twitter app. I thought nothing of it until I started using it. In sort: It’s amazing! It allows users to add animated GIFs (from Twitter’s GIF library) too any tweet (and DM). This will help regular users “spice” up their tweets and increase engagement. It will be interesting to see how brands hop on this new functionality.

twitter animate gif


The above shows where you can see the animated GIF button. Below you’ll see a tweet from earlier today using this new feature.

#TBT with Ryan Holmes of HootSuite

The following post was originally published on Girth Radio on December 31 2015.

This podcast was originally recorded in May 2011 as part of the XConnect series.

Ryan Holmes is the CEO and founder of Vancouver-based HootSuite. What started as a simple social media dashboard has now grown into a billion dollar company. Take a listen to one of the early interviews with this Canadian startup success story.