By T. U. Dawood
Once a year, Canada’s IT and Web insiders get together annually in Toronto to listen to cutting edge speakers and network.
MESH was founded in 2006 by five enthusiasts for the “Web and all the next-generation things happening.” These five founders are Mark Evans (Principal, ME Consulting), Mathew Ingram (Senior Writer, GigaOm.com), Mike McDerment (CEO, FreshBooks Online Invoicing), Rob Hyndman (business lawyer, Hyndman | Law) and Stuart MacDonald (entrepreneur, marketer, founder Expedia.ca).
This year’s conference had a new venue, AllStream Centre at CNE, which was ideal for the larger crowd, the small workshops, WIFI environment and fantabulous breakfasts, lunches and numerous networking coffee breaks.
2011 topics included “the role social media is playing within political protests in the Middle East, the value and importance of influence, the changing work landscape, and the psychology of online behaviour and motivation.”
With the increasing importance of the web to marketing, loads of marketers attended and the conference keynotes and workshops were divided into four categories: marketing, media, society and business. One interesting fact mentioned was that 80% of Canadians are now on Facebook!!!
The star keynote had to be the Marketing Keynote with Gabe Zichermann who spoke about gamification and its possibilities in various fields. Passionate, witty and a lot of fun, he kept the crowd riveted with his anecdotes about how the Farmville model can be applied to other, more traditional marketing models.
The ever popular Janice Diner who was speaker at MESH for the third time edified a packed audience on how to change a Facebook like to a buy. She also shared well thought out and insightful examples on companies such as Diesel and Chanel that were using facebook commerce in innovative and profitable ways.
Rob Fishman (left) and Janice Diner (right) also spoke at MESH
David Armano and Valerie Maltoni spoke about Klout scores and how you can really measure influence. The Huffington Post’s Social Media editor Rob Fishman who had flown in from NYC spoke to a jam-packed crowd that was seated on floors and out into the hallway on the trailblazing newszine’s philosophies and social media strategies. Much of their work with Facebook and Twitter has been homegrown and user friendly from day one.
There were some weaker speakers and sections as well. The not-for-profits panel gave plenty of examples but wasn’t quite able to help audience members see a clear strategy or trend. Similarly, Zoe Siskos’ How to Build and Nurture an Online Community spoke more about her trials and errors in experiencing different online communities rather than an inspiring, exciting and productive way for the community leaders in the audience to move forward.
The male-female ratio of attendance was 53%-47% which made for invigorating conversations and underscored how wonderful the web is for women, especially the ability to have virtual businesses.
Day 2 was stronger than Day 1 but overall MESH was one of the most worthwhile and current conferences in Toronto. Very highly recommended.
This article was originally published in DelectablyChic!