What do Beer, Hockey, and Social Media Have in common?
Was the title too much of a giveaway? I like to have a little mystery in my titles rather than put lay out all the cards on the table but some stereotypes just can’t be dodged. If you were playing a word association game and someone said Canada, the first two words out of your mouth would be Beer and Hockey. Ok ok, you’re right, maybe a few would say Maple Syrup, too. If you’re not Canadian, you might wonder why I’m starting out the post this way…. “Uhhh, won’t they be mad at you?” Nope, don’t worry, they’re probably laughing with me and nodding their heads in agreement. I’ve spent the last couple weeks reaching out to some of my friends from the North and one thing I’ve noticed is that they have thick skin. I’m sure they need it around this time of year!! But before we get into the Social Media aspect and how I believe Canadians excel at it, I’d like to share a quote from Jackie Bigford (who you’ll hear more from later) about what goes into being Canadian. Her description is much more eloquent than anything I could dream up. In fact, I should probably just give her a co-authoring credit!
“Having lived abroad in Europe and having travelled a great deal I know that many see us as being the polite nation. We are considered friendly and outgoing and love to help those in need. Canadians proudly say of ourselves – and are unheard by anyone else – that 1 per cent of the world’s population has provided 10 per cent of the world’s peace-keeping forces. Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peace-keepers on earth Canadians value: Peace, Justice, Tolerance, Loyalty, Humanity / Human Rights, Respect for Authority, Vision, Equality, Strength, Beauty, Spirituality, Non-Violence. These are principals that I strive for as well.”
Initially, when I started brainstorming for this post, my intention was to create controversy by asking the question of who’s better at Social Media – Americans or Canadians? That is a inherently flawed question, though, so why be controversial when I can create just as good of a piece by simply honoring a country? Other social networks aside, I’m of the opinion that Twitter is where names are made. As I embarked on my Twitter journey to find the movers and shakers, I was blown away by how many Canadians were considered influential in a big way. Hmmm this guy looks awesome… oh and he’s Canadian – Scott Stratten; Oh she’s beautiful and looks like she has a lot of good tweets Amber MacArthur a Canuck to boot; Oh wow, she has over 100K followers, yup Sharon Hayes is Canadian; and so are Jure Klepic, W. Brett Wilson, Erica Ehm, Eric Alper, Sam Fiorella, and Matthew Ingram to name a few. When finished here, I highly suggest following all of them. I’ve met & gotten to know many people from Canada and have come away very impressed with their presence. So, naturally, I wondered if there was something in the water at the Hudson Bay or St Lawrence Seaway causing this Social Media Explosion. And as any good detective will do, he searched for answers. Fortunately for you, they won’t stay secret and will be displayed here for all to see.
First things first, I couldn’t do this piece with a clear conscience if I didn’t ask the Wayne Gretzky of Social Media to participate. I’ll be frank, I thought he’d blow me off like he does with most of my tweets but he surprised the hell out of me. Obviously, he didn’t do it for me… he did it for his fellow Canucks because what good is a Canadian Social Media piece without a zinger from Scott Stratten? Two lessons here. One, I highly doubt some other famous #SM personality would have answered a similar question (pro-bono) if I was writing about the same topic with an American spin. The second is a life-lesson – NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK!
Scott is one of my idols because he isn’t afraid to tell it like it is and his books are AMAZING. Plus, he makes fun of himself better than most people. His ego is huge, as it should be. I kind of relate him to a better looking, Canadian version of Simon Cowell. Hope that inflates his head even more, because he’s kind of a big deal. I asked Scott “What makes Canadians so successful at Social Media”
“I’m not sure we’re more “successful” but that we use it a little more on an overall basis. Canadians by stereotype are passive in person, which allows us to be awesomely-aggressive online. Throw in the winter months, and you don’t want to tick off a Canuck. We’ll mess you up….virtually.
Then he went on and basically gave me the topic for my next post, but I’m not going to dare cut his quote short and he brings up a valid argument.
I think the more interesting angle to look at is men VS women. It’s fascinating to look at the studies and the wording of tweets male versus female. I think women understand community much better than us men and it really shines through online”
First, let me say that I love Jure because he makes you feel important. He was one of the first new people that I met on Twitter who actually asked how my day was or how I was doing. Now that I know him a bit better, I’m not at all surprised that he is quickly reaching levels of Social Media Superstardom because he reminds people everyday that #youmatter. I asked Jure the same question as Scott. It looks like he was going to turn it into a border war, but in his Juresque way, brought some GREAT advice to all the readers that should immediately be applied.
“Personally i dont think Canadians are more successful in Social Media then Americans. I believe that magic of Social Media is to understand meaning of Social in core. Is not enough to only talk to your audience, you need to engage, listen and talk. But this come with experience too. There is no winning formula out there that will make anyone successful in Social Media. I believe all starts with experience and of course you need to add a bit of common sense.”
(internal thought process) “Ok, Great, I’m three quarters the way through the post and both my guests didn’t give me an answer that I was looking for. Great answers, but they don’t really prove my hypothesis. Jackie needs to save the day… what do you got for me?” (exhale) “OMG – That’s BRILLIANT. Thank you – this is exactly what I was hoping to hear!!”
Canada as a country has embraced Social Media and have been early adapters to the medium. Half of Canadians are on Social Networks – and 60% of all Canadians online are there as well. To put that in perspective, that’s over 17 million people. More than six in ten online Canadians (62%) say they have a social networking profile. Younger online Canadians (age 18-34) (86%) are the most likely to have a social networking profile, but other age groups are engaged with social activities, too: 62% of those age 35-54 have a social profile as do 43% of those age 55+.
Being successful in Social Media really is the art of the conversation, finding out where the influencers are, hanging out and then connecting with them. My success in Social Media really is an accumulation of my background, my passions, my love to engage and my thirst to learn. I think being honest, open, non-confrontational and having a good sense of humour has connected me to alot of really sensational people. The communities that I am apart of all share the same philosophy, “sharing is caring”. Thanks for the opportunity to share a bit of Canadian insight with your readers and I will leave you with this quote ‘Canadians are more polite when they are being rude than Americans are when they are being friendly.”
And BOOM goes they dynamite. Once I read that I realized that Jackie did two things for me. First off, she included all the statistical information that I read and was going to write about, but now I just had to copy and paste it. Oops, did I say that? And two, obviously more important, the quote she ended with hit me like a ton of bricks. By George, that’s it… she’s right. That’s why I was always attracted to Canadians, it was because they ALWAYS thanked me for sharing or when I responded to them. They were always polite. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for? A little common courtesy goes a long, long way in the social world yet I feel that manners are still lacking for far too many people. I’m not going to go bash my Yankee brethren, but I do think we as American’s can learn a thing or two from our neighbors to the North. So, next time you’re making fun of Canadians about beer & hockey, remember that they have a higher percentage Social Media users than we do!!