Wednesday, March 3, 2010


February 4th I attended an event called 1LoveLearning as part of Toronto's Social Media Week. The event took place at York University's Keele Campus and I was offered the opportunity to write an article for York's newspaper, The Excalibur. Although the event took place a month ago, the article was released today because of delays due to Reading Week.

The panel itself was pretty cool and it was interesting to hear members of the audience, which included my friend and Excalibur Fashion & Style correspondent Phil, Toronto rapper Aspektz, and two aspiring female journalists who are also graduates of the Remix Project. And in true social media fashion, Tyrone UStreamed the whole thing so everyone on his Twitter page could watch. Here's the article as it appears on the Excalibur website.

Ever heard the terms “retweet,” “twitpic” or “DM”? If you are an avid Twitter user, chances are you would know exactly what they are.
If the microblogging site’s popularity grows at its current rate, such terms may inevitably become common speak. Twitter is more than a movement; some even say it’s the future.
At a recent panel discussion for Social Media Week Toronto called 1LoveLearning, moderator Neel Joshi said he hasn’t read a newspaper in over a year.
Instead, Joshi catches up on the news via a Twitter feed on his BlackBerry during his morning commute from Scarborough to York’s Keele Campus. He suggested that doing a simple and quick search using the hashtag function can easily yield anything you’re looking for.
“Whenever I go out of town, I put out a quick tweet asking if there are other Torontonians in whatever city I’m in, and what I should do or see on my trip,” said Joshi, an international recruitment officer for York University.
Others, like Andrew Eckford, an assistant computer science professor at York see Twitter as a possible learning tool. Eckford has used a blog, a Facebook group and a YouTube account for his course, and this year, he tried using a Twitter account to keep his class up-to-date on any necessary information.
Although Eckford found the site was successful in terms of the number of students following it – 54 of the course’s approximately 100 students are “followers” – he doesn’t think it’s a great teaching tool.
“It’s not very interactive; it’s a more authoritative method of communication,” said Eckford.
Laura D’Amelio, manager of print and Emedia content at York, said she uses Twitter and Facebook to reach out to new and current students who may have York-related questions and to post about events around campus.
“If I don’t have the answer, I know someone who does,” said D’Amelio.
At the far end of the table were Tyrone Edwards and Bryan Brock, the co-creators of, a website that brings the music, culture and people of Toronto together under the tagline “The World in 1 City.”
While may be thought of as a blog, it’s more than that. What Brock and Edwards have done is create a brand, as evidenced by the 1LoveTO t-shirts that seem to be popping up everywhere.
I found out about these guys through Twitter by using one of the random searches that Joshi was talking about, and, when I stumbled on their site, I knew it was something to keep an eye on.
Over the next few months, I met Edwards and Brock four times and got to see how they use various media to promote and get the word out about what they do.
I also run my own blog and have seen the power of Twitter and social media. By using Twitter’s hashtag function, I have gained a few followers, have gained some new readers and, more importantly, have made connections that otherwise wouldn’t have been available to me.
But, as powerful as Twitter is, Joshi and I agree on one important matter: as powerful as social media may be, it isn’t a substitute for human interaction, and it’s important that we acknowledge its limitations.
Even though I heard about Social Media Week through Twitter, as Joshi pointed out, I still showed up to the discussion in person. There is a certain draw to experiencing things live that a screen just can’t replicate.

Laura D'Amelio

Professor Andrew Eckford

Neel Joshi

Bryan Brock and Tyrone Edwards

The original article can be found here. All photographs courtesy of Phil.

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