Three years ago, I spoke at the first-ever Third Tuesday in Canada. The name of the event was selected because it just happened to have been the Third Tuesday of September. Third Tuesday had been the brainchild of Joe Thornley, a partner in Thornley Fallis a PR firm based in Ottawa and Toronto.
He and I shared a passion for social media. We had met at one of my earlier speaking engagements I was pleased because he had read Naked Conversations. He was pleased because I had read his blog.
So, when Joe got the idea to plant the seeds among professional communicators for a Canadian-based community of social media enthusiasts I thought he was the right guy with the right vision at the right time.
When he invited me to be Third Tuesday's first speaker, I thought the combination of his PR skills and my recognition as co-author of Naked Conversations would make give Third Tuesday a good kick off.
In terms of head count, it did not start all that auspiciously. We did not need to rent out Maple Leaf Gardens. That much was certain.
In the greater Toronto area there are about 5.5 million people. We managed to draw 42 people of them. We met in a comfortable tavern, where Mark Evans, then a newspaper reporter interviewed me.
What made that night memorable was not presentation, but conversation. I stayed quite late just chatting and listening and joking and drinking with some really nice people.
I had a few things in common with everyone I met. Sometimes it was travel, sometimes sports, but I had one thing in common with each of them. We shared a love and hope that social media was going to change the way businesses and people communicated.
Seeds were planted that night. Apparently, they were genetically altered to endure harsh winters. My return to Third Tuesday after a three-year hiatus revealed to me a national, thriving social media community.
Last week, the second week of the month, I spoke at five consecutive Third Tuesday events in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Not only do seeds germinate in winter but the social media community up there has the apparent power to change the calendar.
I'm not sure of the attendance numbers, but each room was filled. Toronto alone had grown by more than fourfold in three years. What impressed me more than quantity was the quality of the attendees I faced. They were among the most engaged and interactive audiences I have found in my three years on the speaking circuit.
Canada is happening in terms of social media. The audiences I faced were as engaged and knowledgeable as any I have found. They are also great hosts. I was wined and dined beyond my ability to imbibe. I came home with a few great stories for my social media global report.
If you have something to say to people who care about social media, I encourage you to contact Joe Thornley. If you happen to be in any of these five unique and beautiful cities, I encourage you to join these meet ups. You'll meet some really cool people.