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Reflections On A Week in Toronto

Img 6197 2-2Well all good things must come to an end and as I write this I find myself at Toronto’s international airport awaiting my flight to LA and then home.

Quite a few people have asked me how I’ve found Canada and particularly how I’ve found meeting some of the b5media gang. Instead of a long series of posts on the different aspects of the trips or a long essay like post on the topic I thought I’d write a list (surprise surprise):

  • While there are some great online tools for collaboration available – meeting face to face is definitely a more productive exercise and adds a completely different dynamic to working relationships. More on this over at Mark’s blog.
  • Online and Offline persona - I’ve had a theory for a few years now that people’s online and offline persona generally match up – this was again confirmed for me. I met 15 or so bloggers and coworkers over the last week and in each case the reality was remarkably similar to what I’d imagined these people to be like.
  • Canadians are a very friendly and generous group of people - Despite their ability to make every sentence sound like a question they are a fun and good natured lot on the whole (or at least those I met).
  • Toronto reminded me a lot of Melbourne – Perhaps it’s to do with the weather which while I was here was either grey and gloomy or stunningly blue skies (although it was a fair bit colder), or perhaps it’s the part of town that I stayed in and the many cafes and restaurants or perhaps it was the people. Can’t quite put my finger on it but while there were obvious differences – there was also a similar ‘vibe’.
  • Jet lag sucks – I thought I was over my jet lag two days into the trip but unfortunately ever second night since arriving I spent most of the time staring at the ceiling. Needless to say that despite the face to face meetings (see point 1) I became less and less productive as the week went along. I hate to think what I’ll be feeling like in 26 hours when I land again in Melbourne (hopefully everything is running on time).
  • Skype Video Rocks – while we didn’t think we would, it turned out that V and I used Skype video calls everyday to keep in touch. It was great to be able to not only hear the voices of her and little X but to see them. Definitely helped a lot with keeping home sickness at bay (although I’m itching to get back now).
  • New Media Opportunities Abound – one of the great things about meeting face to face with some of the b5 gang is that the result of our planning, dreaming and brainstorming was a lot of wonderful possibilities. In fact the challenge for a new media company like ours is not to come up with ideas but is to work out which ones to run with and working out how to implement them. While I obviously can’t speak about specifics of what lies ahead for b5 I’m really excited about our plans that we have as a team but also by the wider blogging space.
  • Is New Media A Global Space? - I’ve been asking this question for a few years ago now. On some levels I would answer yes – blogging in particular has a way of leveling the playing media field and giving people from far flung parts of the globe a voice. However – while there is definitely an global thing going on there are some definite perks of being in a North American locale. The critical mass of people interested in the space is one (going to a three meet-ups in the last meet that would have attracted 250 people illustrated this well for me – at Melbourne meet-ups we’re lucky to get 10 people showing up). As a result of this critical mass people tend to meet each other and are more able to communicate in ‘normal’ business hours and business partnerships tend to flow. I’m still a big believer in the global characteristics of blogging and new media – however at times those of us who find ourselves spread far and wide do face some challenges that others do not (still pondering this one – so forgive my half finished thoughts).

All in all it was a very positive trip filled with a variety of activities, challenges and experiences. I’m feeling quite drained as a result of it having used a lot of brain power and it being a very people oriented time (I’m an introvert used to working largely alone) – but satisfied that we got a lot done. My only hope for next time is to see a little more on a sightseeing level (something that we’ll do as a family in April next year).

I think I’ll leave it at that as my points are becoming longer and more effected by my lack of sleep. I’m more more will come in the weeks ahead as I get home and return to a normal routine.

Don’t expect much live posting from me for a few days – I’ve got more posts coming in the Christmas and ‘Quick Tip’ series to cover the time.

Lastly – we’ve migrated most of ProBlogger over to the new server. The job boards needs to be brought across (should be in the next few hours) and then we should be back to normal. Thanks again to Aaron for his work on this.

Now it’s off to catch a plane!

PS: the picture is Jeremy (right), Mark’s (middle) and myself modeling some of our new b5media schwag – ie jackets and caps (and yes – Jeremy is wearing a pink hat).

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Razib Ahmed says:

    It’s nice to see that you enjoyed your trip.
    Yes, new media is becoming a global space and that is what makes it great. I blog from Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries on earth. In the past, we could hardly participate in the media but blogging has made it possible for me to enter the global media.
    The digital divide is still there. I work with 1 KBPS Internet connection but still I am very happy that I can showcase my skills in writing through blogging.
    I feel that the next wave of bloggers will come from the poor nations of Africa and Asia.

  2. Nice post, Darren. But Hamlet without the Prince? What happened to Duncan?

  3. Stuart says:

    Darren I think the lack of people attending meet-ups here in Australia is due to the lack of serious bloggers here.

    Of course the fact that we’re spread fairly thin here in Australia has something to do with it but I seriously think that it’s more of an excuse we use rather than the real problem.

  4. Just got home from the pre-Thanksgiving craziness on my flight back from Toronto. I’ll move Jobs tomorrow morning.

  5. Fione says:

    Happy Thanksgiving !

    I remembered driving all the way to Niagara Falls and Toronto during spring, all the way from Iowa, USA. That was a really long drive, but with friends, it;s still a fun long journey.

    Blogging is still relatively new here in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. We just started doing How to Blog seminars in these 3 countries and response is good. We had a mixture of full time bloggers and blogger-wannabes joining us. However, in public events, we would cater more towards the non-technical newbies and hopefully in a few more months the ratio of professional bloggers coming to seminars / events would be higher.

    Regards,
    Fione
    Internet Marketing Blog – eOneNet.com

  6. Toronto!?! You’re almost in my neck of the woods. Look east and a little south – see that guy waving wildly on the top of Sugar Mountain? That’s me! :)

    Hope you have a great trip!

  7. Martin says:

    Know the feeling – jet lag sucks bigtime! But c’mon, Darren … let’s be serious here and not beat around the bush. The big news is Duncan leaving so abruptly.

    I’m surprised you haven’t said anything about it and b5 has basically shut up shop on the issue (which is your/their right) – but I suspect the b’sphere just wants to know what happened – as it seems to have just come out of the blue.

    Will you be making any comment on what happened?

  8. The job board is back online.

  9. urbanmike says:

    My wife and two girls are going to Canada ahead of me for six weeks from next week. Skype video is priceless for the kids.

    We’re moving to rural BC to live in a town of 8,000. Luckily high speed internet is available and I’ll be able to continue blogging, and maybe even diversify. Web workers of the world unite!

    Thanks for the update, your comments about the global nature of blogging are interesting, seeing you blog to a predominately North American audience from the other side of the world, that’s global spatially, but definitely not culturally.

  10. Ian says:

    Darren, I’m glad you enjoyed your stay in Canada, I myself am out of Ottawa, just 5 hours east of T.O.

    If you ever come to canada again, take a tour to ottawa, even if it extends your stay by 1 day :) .

  11. Ahem. Jeremy is wearing MY pink hat. Send!!! ;)