March 15, 2011
By Kristen McIntyre CLT
Conference and Events Coordinator    

Beta vs. VHS. If you know what a Beta player is, or more likely if you owned one (careful, you are showing your age), you may agree that all of this social media stuff is just hype!

Or IS it?

Once we embraced the VHS system, along came the DVD. Then the Blu-Ray and next...who knows? My point is that the new technology takes time to become part of the mainstream. But once it is, shouldn’t we give it a chance?

Hmm, I still don’t know. I like to hear a real voice on the phone and detect their sarcasm or excitement. I enjoy the meeting-at-the-end-of-the-meeting (the best part of any event) and catching up with colleagues and associates.  

It began with the smart phone revolution. Like most of you, I have a phone in my office with voicemail, an email, which I am permanently working on (which filters in several different accounts), a voicemail at home, a mailbox for the old-fashioned way of sending materials, and failing all of that — an office for face-to-face contact. So what is so important that I need to know about 24 hours a day? Wasn’t my flashy little flip-phone enough? Sadly, no – I am now a ‘crackberry’ user, as it is so affectionately referred to. But I’m still not on the bandwagon with all of this.

A few weeks ago I was speaking to a sizable group of people. As I was highlighting our conference sessions at Congress, a small group asked about the ‘hash tag’ for the conference. I thought it was a joke about marijuana. Once everyone picked themselves up off the ground from laughing, I learned that Twitter has built-in identifiers, so that you can track when your product/event is mentioned (nothing illegal I assure you). The tweeters in the group wanted to first meet online and then in person at the conference.

I don’t have a Facebook account. I reluctantly have a LinkedIn profile, which I feel obligated to take a minute and update every so often, and now there’s Twitter stuff? My first impression was it’s for ‘Twits’! However, after a much more educated glance, which has become a journey of sorts, it’s kind of cool.

We created a Twitter account for our Awards of Excellence Ceremony held on Jan. 11, as did our esteemed host Haig Seferian, and he tweeted from the stage, ran an auction during the presentations, and engaged the audience with his smart phone prowess. I also tweeted from backstage, sending a picture or two and funny antics, and watched the tweeters react.

Landscape Ontario affiliated Twitter accounts include Green for Life, Horticulture Review, Congress, Expo, Denis Flanagan, and Canada Blooms.

It’s almost like tossing handful of fish food into the bowl and watching them race to grab a bite. Only it’s news, trends and buzz being that’s floating on the water.  Now I don’t think it works for everything in life, but the microblogging website, turned social messaging platform, added some excitement to our event and has me reassessing my approach.

Our industry’s demographic has changed. The leaders are younger and more tech savvy, and we need to embrace them and the way they like to do business.

I welcome your ideas on how we can engage our membership through online social media, and what you would like to see at the next LO event. I can be reached at events@