launches "Got socks?" drive

If you’ve ever accidentally soaked your shoes in a puddle on a freezing day, you’ll appreciate how miserable the experience can be… and how desperate you can be to get to your home, school or workplace to change into a spare pair.

When you’re living on the streets, though, it’s more than just discomfort. Cold, wet feet can quickly become agonizing to walk on – adding a big barrier to finding a job, food or shelter for the night.

And I’m going to let Kate Dugas from take it from here:

A few months after its launch, ChangeEverything and the people that make up the community here, made a difference in the lives of some people living on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with successful drive for warm clothing during a particularly bitter cold snap. Since 2006 we have used to collect thousands and thousands of items of warmth for folks living in the DTES of Vancouver.

Cold wet feet are a huge reason people living on the street get sick and even die in the winter. Getting clean dry socks to local shelters is a great way to help alleviate this problem. So this year we are focusing on socks!

So start looking through your closets and drawers. We’ll take mis-matched socks that are clean and in good condition. But even better, we’ll take ones that you went out and bought especially for this purpose. Reply with a comment on this post if you have leads on enormous quantities of socks, or if you just have a few pairs or even one pair to give. Each pair will totally make a difference. It’s true. Believe it.

I am also working on having a Vancity “Got Socks” account opened. Watch this space.


PS -oh and please spread the word. tweet this. add it to your facebook. emai your friends about it, heck post it to your fridge! see if your kids want to take up a collection at school for socks. whatever you can think of, the wackier the better.

Just leave a comment on her blog post to tell Kate you have socks to donate. And click here to pass the word along on Twitter!

New BC Hydro app lets users harness conservation efforts to greening 2010 Winter Games

When BC Hydro asked us to help them develop a new social media project – building on the success of the Green Gifts Facebook app – our thoughts naturally turned to the 2010 Winter Games. BC Hydro is an Official Supporter; organizers are aiming to have their greenest Olympic Winter Games yet; BC Hydro’s ad campaign is built around the slogan “Save power. See the games.”… hmm…

The result is Power the Games, where you commit to reducing your electricity consumption by 10% over the next year, and pledge your efforts to help power the 2010 Winter Games event of your choice.

For a little added fun and conservation goodness, Power the Games offers daily challenges: little tasks that can add up to something big. Like snuggling under a blanket and turning the thermostat down two degrees. Or learning a little about how switching to energy-efficient lighting can cut your costs. Our hope is that this becomes a kind of green tasting menu, helping people to try out conservation-friendly behaviour that just might become healthy habits.

(And if you’re as impressed as we were by the app’s gorgeous design, then let the folks at Work at Play know – they built it for us, and they were, as always, an absolute delight to work with: professional, committed, dedicated and talented.)

Ultimately, this app aims to couple the excitement so many British Columbians feel about the upcoming games with their pride in our province’s environmental reputation… and their personal commitment to conservation.

(By the way, BC Hydro launched their new Facebook page at the same time as Power the Games – please do drop by!)

Join me at Twestival!

I’ll be performing a stand-up set at Vancouver Twestival, the Twitter-centric fundraising event taking place Saturday, Sept. 12 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm at Ceili’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. (Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not the gentleman featured in...

Alex and Rob to teach Introduction to Social Media at UBC

One of our favourite things about working in this field is the chance to pass on what we know, to see what happens when people start to grasp the potential of social media… and to see what they do when they run with it.

So I’m delighted to announce we’ll be teaching an introductory course in social media this September at the University of British Columbia. The course runs for three Wednesday evenings at UBC’s downtown Robson Square campus, from Sept. 9 to 23. Tuition is $375 plus GST.

Here are the details:

This introductory course provides an overview of social media: its history, theories and the principles behind online communication. Through hands-on demonstration of a variety of social media tools including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, RSS, wikis and social bookmarking, you discover how these tools are shaping modern communication and how to incorporate them into everyday business and personal communications. Topics also include upcoming trends as well as predictions for what’s next in social media.

For more info or to sign up, visit UBC’s registration page. We hope to see you there!

(By the way, the first night of the course happens on – get this – 09/09/09. Can you imagine a more auspicious date?)

SFU offers digital publishing workshop July 23-24 in Vancouver

Few industries have faced greater disruption from the digital revolution than publishing. From Craigslist‘s impact on newspapers’ classified ad revenue, to the rise of e-books and the dominance of, huge changes are underway. And this is probably only the beginning; social media’s influence has only just started to be felt.

So when the fine folks at Simon Fraser University‘s Summer Publishing Workshops dropped us a line asking us to spread the word about an upcoming workshop on digital publishing, featuring some leading lights in the field, we were happy to say yes.

Here’s the full scoop. The two-day workshop runs July 23-24 in Vancouver, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm each day. The fee is $CDN 275, but there’s funding available to defray those costs.

An iTunes playlist for the Vancouver Folk Festival – see you there!

Every summer, Social Signal gathers at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival. And this year’s lineup looks especially promising… but you don’t have to take our word for it.

We’ve (and by “we’ve”, I mean “Alex has”) assembled an iTunes playlist (or “iMix”): 34 songs by the artists who will be on the twilight and evening stages for this year’s festival, running July 17-19 at Jericho Beach. From the Weakerthans to the Paperboys to Mavis Staples, you can get a taste of what to expect – or, if you can’t make it, a taste of why you should come next year!

If you’re coming, be sure to drop by our tarp (look for the Social Signal flag fluttering nearby) when we hold our annual picnic during Saturday night’s performances. Say hi, meet the team… and enjoy the music!

iTunes playlist