Saturday, February 18, 2012

On reaching the 100,000 tweets #milestone

Yes, you read that right. If all goes as planned, the link to this blog post will be my 100,000th tweet. One hundred THOUSAND! Now that's a milestone!

It's incredible. I don't know how I made it this far. Sure, it helps that I started tweeting on July 15, 2007. And that I used to live-tweet many sporting and breaking news events.

I'm also known for my high rate of retweets. If something is interesting, worth reading, or worth thinking about, whether or not I agree with it, I retweet it. It helps start a conversation that would not take place otherwise. And quite honestly, I've had some amazing discussions following innocent, innocuous retweets, and not always about easy topics.

But I think that most of my tweets came from my high volume of interaction, which, after all, is the whole point of Twitter. I routinely come back to my phone after spending time tweeting from the computer to see @NailaJ has 97+ mentions.

Clearly, I must be doing something right.

To me, it's not just about sharing with others but also responding to what others share with you. The basis of humanity is interaction, and since we're all so busy with our very individualistic work/fun/food/gym/sleep life routines, Twitter is a way to break through the isolation that has now become quite a normal affair.

When I first moved to Kingston, as I told Kingston Life Magazine in my first (of many?) cover story on social media, I found a community in Twitter. I learned all about my new home, and more than many native Kingstonians, through Twitter. I made friends that will last a lifetime. I helped build Kingston into a better community (I hope!) by contributing to the discussion about and in Kingston and promoting the #ygk hashtag with the Limestone New Media Group.

When I found out that I was moving to Hamilton, the first thing I did, even before looking up apartments - and y'all know how tough that would be for a house-obsessed person like me - is looking up active and influential Twitter accounts in the area. I started making a Steeltown list before I could officially announce my move. I started tracking the #HamOnt hashtag. And once the secret was out, I immediately started following local leaders on Twitter.

It's how I came to meet so many awesome local people and visit so many awesome local businesses in less than three months. It's how I learned more about the community that I am now actively attempting to connect with, and not just for work purposes. It's how I'm slowly starting to adapt to being a Hamiltonian. And it's how I will come to understand my place in this community.

I can't wait.

Meanwhile, I will keep tweeting and keep connecting through Twitter. And one day, I will make it to 200,000 tweets. Maybe. If you keep tweeting with me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

On the 2012 AHL Outdoor Classic

The highlight of my past three months with the Hamilton Bulldogs has got to be the delightfully successful organization of the 2012 AHL Outdoor Classic at Ivor Wynne Stadium on January 20-21.

It was a whirlwind of an event, from planning and preparation to putting on both game days to the wrap-up and all the follow-up needed to ensure that the event was truly successful. A once-in-a-lifetime affair to remember.

My daily to-do list was so extensive, it was hard to imagine that I would ever get through it all. That the day would ever arrive. Eventually, I did, of course, and it did. But it wasn't an easy process. The cameras made it look amazing, but a lot of work went into creating what you saw if you watched the broadcast on Sportsnet or on the NHL Network. A lot of sleepless nights, too, which lead to frustrating conversations in office hallways. But at the end of every overwhelming day, we were all friends again.

In the end, it was all worth it.

It took me until mid-way through the second period of Saturday's game between the Bulldogs and the Toronto Marlies to realize that we'd actually done it. We had put on an Outdoor Classic. All the accreditations had been beautifully designed, assembled, properly distributed; press releases written, spellchecked, printed, sent; food ordered, placed, consumed. Media happy in the press box? Check! Media requests were planned, unplanned, re-planned. Broadcasters accommodated? Check!

Somehow, through all the madness, it all went flawlessly. I still cannot truly understand how that happened. I don't know if I even believe that it did. From the beginning of my time with the 'Dogs, it was all Outdoor Classic all the time. Oh, and, you know, normal everyday regular season activities too. But still, through it all, the focus was the Outdoor Classic. And then, just like that, in 48 hours, it was done. All wrapped up in a pretty little winter package and sent off to live in posterity in the memories of the thousands of fans who populated the stands, and the thousands more who watched it on TV.

Wow. We did it.

I am so proud of our team for putting this on. I am so happy and excited and fortunate to have been a part of this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime event. And I am absolutely ecstatic at all the positive feedback we received from members of the media, league officials, fans... Amazing. Fantastic. Fabulous.

Thank you all for being a part of it, in your little ways. Whether you attended, watched, participated in helping me brainstorm or listened to my late night rants... Thank you. You were all part of the success of this event. And I couldn't have done it without you.