Why I Became a NetSquared Organizer

NetSquared logoMy response to a discussion on the NetSquared  Local mailing list asking “Why did you become a NetSquared organizer?”

When I was in my 20s I had two groups of friends: nerds and activist hippies. There was no crossover between the groups and I kept these two communities and parts of me separate like matter and antimatter (that’s the nerd talking!)

When I moved to Vancouver in 2007 my workplace sent me to the Web of Change conference (they noticed that their volunteer manager kept asking why the database was broken) where I first encountered the progressive nonprofit tech community. IT BLEW MY MIND!

It may not seem strange you, being worldly and reading this in 2013, but for me the idea that nerds and activists could co-exist or even be the same person had never crossed my mind. These communities had always been oil and water in my mind. Activists are anti-technology:   that’s what I had learned (growing up on a commune.) 🙂

I discovered an entire new universe that week at Web of Change and it changed the course of my life irrevocably.

The friendly conference attendees scoffed at my naiveté  and recommended that I start attending Vancouver’s Net Tuesday, which had recently been formed. I did. And I learned, while sitting quietly in the back.

But after a few months the organizer (Joe Solomon, who went on to 350.org and #GreenMemes) left town. The idea of the group folding was too tragic, so I volunteered to take it over. And four years later here I am!

But WHY did I decide to take on Net Tuesday Vancouver?

I wanted to find my tribe

I was in a new city and I didn’t know anybody. I discovered that being a NetSquared organizer turned me into a community hub – I quickly met all the key players in the sector, many of whom have become friends. It can be hard to find local nptech-ies without a Net2 group!

I’m shy(ish)

I can get really quiet in a group of people, unless I have a clearly defined role. Being the “host” of a meetup gives me an “in” to talk with people.

I like organizing events

I spent my 20s doing production on large outdoor festivals. I didn’t want my event skills to atrophy.

I wanted to learn more

I had learned at lot at the local meetup. The best way to learn more was to schedule more events! And this time I could guarantee that I’d be interested in the topic, because I was planning it. “Scratch your own itch” they always say. 🙂

I wanted to build a reputation

As I developed my career in nonprofit tech I quickly realized that being a Net2 organizer was doing wonders for my reputation. People (irrationally!) assumed that I was an expert on every topic I had a speaker present on! I started to receive job offers…

Net Tuesday fit with my values

Somewhere along the way life taught me that the more I gave the more I received. I enjoy serving others, and being a NetSquared organizer has been the most rewarding volunteer gig I’d ever taken on.

And that, in a giant nutshell, is why I become a Net2 organizer. 🙂

NetSquared Camp 2013

14RSVP on eventbrite

When: Saturday, June 1. 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Where: HiVE Vancouver, 210 – 128 W Hastings St.

What is NetSquared Camp?

NetSquared Camp is a daylong unconference put on by the friendly folks that host the monthly Net Tuesday meetups in Vancouver.  Net Tuesday brings together web innovators with social change makers and nonprofits to swap stories, mix ideas, and build new relationships. We aim to empower non-profits with emerging tools, trends, and best practices, enabling them to fulfill their mission statements in new and innovative ways.

This is the third annual conference. The first two NetSquared Camps sold out quickly, so be sure to register early.

Who should come?

  • Non-profit people: learn more about utilizing technology to further your cause.
  • Web designers and developers: share your best practices and find organizations that need your help.
  • Marketing people: assist non-profits in building strategic connections between their causes and their audiences.


This is an unconference, so you decide what want you want to discuss, share, explore, and learn.  Topics that Net Tuesday has covered over the last year include:

  • Digital storytelling
  • Tablets, smartphones, iPads, iPhones: gadgets for good?
  • Visualizing data using maps and other tools
  • A/B testing
  • Crowdfunding
  • IT project management
  • The science of Facebook pages

When, Where, and How Much?

NetSquared Camp 2013 will be held at The HiVE in downtown Vancouver, on Saturday, June 1, 2013.  Early bird tickets cost $25; regular tickets are $30.  Register now on Eventbrite!



HiVE logoHome to artists, designers, small social enterprises, mid-size NGOs, green businesses, IT experts, self employed, start ups, independent contractors… the HiVE is a shared workspace with a dynamic cafe-like studio culture. They facilitate creativity, collaboration and social innovation!

[April 2, 2013] Digital Storytelling Panel

RSVP on Meetup.com

When: Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 5:30 PM To 7:30 PM

Where: SAP Executive Briefing Centre, 910 Mainland Street, between Smith and Nelson, Vancouver, BC.

About the event:

Digital storytelling is “using the tools of digital media to craft, record, share and value the stories of individuals and communities, in ways that improve our lives” (Center for Digital Storytelling).  Non-profit organizations can now leverage an ever growing number of tools to harness their stories, communicate with stakeholders, and further their mission.

This panel discussion will showcase some digital storytelling tools with examples of them at work, providing attendees with new mediums and skills in conveying your organization’s message.

The twitter hashtag for Net Tuesday is #ntvan and our account is @NetTuesday

Phillip DjwaAgentic Digital Media@phillipdjwa – Phillip is a certified Internet Marketing specialist and strategist with more than 18 years experience in the high-technology industry. During this time, Phillip has worked on a wide range of technology and web-integrated communications projects for Fortune 500 companies, high-tech start-ups, and not-for-profit organizations.


Jason Toalhttp://www.jasontoal.ca@draggin – By day, Jason works in an educational support unit that delivers e-learning solutions to the teaching community.  By night, he participates (and DJs) in an open Digital Storytelling course (DS 106) out of the University of Mary Washington.  DS 106 explores the web as a culture, as a media source, and as a place to publish in the open.



Vanessa ChasePhilanthropy for All@vanessaechaseVanessa is a writer, non-profit collaborator and philanthropy advocate. Her interest in storytelling and donor relations drives her work.  She has worked for several non-profits in Vancouver, Canada as a fundraiser and communications specialist.  Vanessa utilizes stories to emotionally connect donors to the organization’s mission in a way that inspires their involvement.



Andrew NguyenLemongrass Films@andrew_directorAndrew has worked with numerous organizations to make films that move people and influence thinking. He focuses on projects that contribute to social value and affect positive social change.  Working closely with clients, he develops story ideas that respond to a client’s communications objectives and resonate with the intended audience.

BONUS – 5:55-6:00pm: #StruttaCares promo by Tina Hoang.


  • Hashtag for Net Tuesday is #ntvan
  • Official account is @NetTuesday

RSVP on Meetup.com

When: Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 5:30 PM To 7:30 PM

Where: SAP Executive Briefing Centre, 910 Mainland Street, between Smith and Nelson, Vancouver, BC.

RSVP on Meetup.com


  • 5:30 – 6:00 pm: schmoozing and snacks
  • 6:00 – 7:00 pm: Digital Storytelling panel
  • 7:00 – 7:30 pm: Q&A

Tablets & smartphones: Gadgets for Good? – Storify by @Dreffed

Tablets & smartphones: Gadgets for Good?

Mel Findlater shares how tablets and smartphones such as the iPad and iphone really can create social change in education, for people with disabilities, older people, and in your everyday productivity.

Storified by Net Tuesday· Sat, Jan 12 2013 12:08:09

Tablets, Smartphones, iPads, iPhones: Gadgets for Good?Net Tuesday is thrilled to have Mel Findlater from NetSquared Cambridge present on mobile technology for good this month. =========== Abo…
Our presenter, from Cambridge UK
Melanie Findlater (melfindlater) on TwitterInstantly connect to what’s most important to you. Follow your friends, experts, favorite celebrities, and breaking news.
Tablets and Smartphones – Gadgets for Good?Prezi transcript Tablets and Smartphones Gadgets for Good? Communication Independence Tablets & Smartphones- Gadgets for Good? They just …
Tablets & smartphones: Gadgets for Good?evdg
Ha! RT @nettuesday: #ntvan @melfindlater rocks the smart world… Who pushes the envelope, Mel does!Melanie Findlater
thx everyone at @nettuesday for all of the good discussion tonight. So much enthusaism – great group! #ntvanMelanie Findlater
@melfindlater @NetTuesday Great point of entry for us newbies at Net Tuesday. Thank you, Mel! #ntvanRyan Calbick
See more sections below… Photos, feeds, links and our glorious hosts.
Flickr photo set with photos by Linda Liu
Content from Tablets & smartphones: Gadgets for Good?Net Tuesday January 8 2013 www.meetup.com/Vancouver-social-media-nonprofits-social-c… Ever wondered what the big deal is about these ne…
Video by Eoghan Moriarty of Mindagape Creative. The video is dark, but the audio mix is SWEET!
Tablets & smartphones: Gadgets for Good?evdg
The feed …
#ntvan can you share your story with @melflatlinerDavid Gloyn-Cox
#ntvan the device is not the focus it is the tool to achieve the goal of salient and worthwhile educationNet Tuesday Meetup
#ntvan look back to the olden days… limited classroom… The pre silicon days.Net Tuesday Meetup
RT @elijah: Super rad(ical) video on new ways to teach. “@NetTuesday: #ntvan The Flipped Classroom http://www.flippedclassroom.com/”Ajay Masala Puri
@FizaAlam if u weren’t a virtual teacher video on new ways to teach. “@NetTuesday: #ntvan The Flipped Classroom http://www.flippedclassroom.com/”KallMeK
Super rad(ical) video on new ways to teach. “@NetTuesday: #ntvan The Flipped Classroom http://www.flippedclassroom.com/”Eli van der Giessen
I love @melfindlater ‘s conversational approach at @NetTuesday. Come back to the west coast! #ntvan @Net2CambEli van der Giessen
#ntvan imagine the voice of Julie andrews @melfindlater sings and shows a few of her favourite things.Net Tuesday Meetup
O god not w/ my husky voice! RT @nettuesday: #ntvan imagine voice of Julie andrews @melfindlater sings & shows a few of her favourite thingsMelanie Findlater
#ntvan nice participation from the audience… Great to hear the comment.Thank you net tuesday peeps :)Net Tuesday Meetup
Great to be at @NetTuesday #ntvan to learn some tips and tricks on using smartphones and tablets for good. I’m on a tablet right now!PeaceGeeks
#ntvan Making the impossible possible!Net Tuesday Meetup
Links and stuff so you can get the gorgeous fillings…

Mindings – Share photos, text messages, reminders, and Facebook with your older family from your mobile phone. Be better connected and care for the ones you love.Share personal captioned photos, text messages, calendar reminders, Facebook, and much more on a digital screen. Better connect and care …
Loquendo: global supplier of speech recognition and speech synthesis technology and solutionsWith over 30 years cutting-edge R&D experience, global speech technology leader Loquendo provides all the solutions required for creating…
MyChoicePad – Be heard. Be cool. Be you.MyChoicePad – an educational Makaton iPad app for children and adults with learning or communication difficulties.
Verbally for iPadVerbally. Start a conversation. Home · About the app · Features · Verbally Premium · Our Story · Get the app · get Verbally. “The progr…
Code for America | A New Kind of Public ServiceAdopt-a-Hydrant lets citizens claim responsibility for shoveling out hydrants during snowstorms. Turns out, though, that was just its beg…
Home | Apps for GoodWhere young people learn to create apps that change their world Become a school partner If you are interested in your school becoming an …
Educational Vodcasting – Flipping the ClassroomVodcasting and the Flipped Classroom. This site is maintained by Jerry Overmyer and is devoted to teaching educators how to use vodcast…
Flipped Classroom | Office of Faculty and Organizational DevelopmentTranslation of content on this website is performed by Google™ Translate, which performs automated computer translations that are only an…
Epic Win – Level-Up Your LifeOur lives are full of quests. Remember that birthday card, send that email, or drag ourselves to the gym on a regular basis. Trouble is, …
SketchBook Pro – Drawing App – AutodeskDigitally sketch and paint using Autodesk SketchBook Pro sketching software. Drawing app is also available for iPad and Android tablets a…
Flipboard — Now available on iPhone2010-2012 Flipboard, Inc. Made with Love in Palo Alto, California. Flipboard and the Flipboard Logo are trademarks of Flipboard, Inc. T…
Prezi – The Zooming Presentation EditorPrezi is a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides. The zoomable canvas makes it fun…
Ooo me likes @Popplet (no autocorrect, not pooplet) for organizing thoughts and notes. Thx @melfindlater #ntvanAjay Masala Puri
Popplet | Collect, curate and share your ideas, inspirations, and projects!Popplet is an app for the web and iPad, where you can collect, curate and share your ideas, inspirations, and projects.
You Can Bike TooGrab a friend and Hire a Bike Join others on a Try It Out Tuesday Grab your kids and try a Family Fun Session Book an exclusive Session f…
An finally but not least our great hosts for the night.
Thanks @thenetworkhub for hosting @NetTuesday tonight! So swanky. #ntvan http://pic.twitter.com/Y6boFMjdKimberly Antifaeff
Vancouver Office Space, Mailbox Rental, Mailing Service, Answering Service, Meeting Room Rental | The Network HubThe Network Hub provides services such as office space for entrepreneurs, mailbox rental, shared office, meeting room rentals, phone answ…

I am digital and so can you (slides and photos from Ben Johnson’s digital tools presentation)

Frontier Consulting‘s Ben Johnson delivered a humdinger of a presentation for Net Tuesday. It was so jam-packed full of information that no notetaker could hope to keep up. Luckily for us Ben has generously agreed to share his slides.


Linda Liu was our photographer again (yay!) and has already shared the first 10 photos from the event.

I took those photos and used Animoto to create a video slideshow.

Oh, and charities are eligible for a free upgrade on their Animoto account.

Volunteer update

  • Amy and Helen were awesome in their tag-team role as greeters!
  • David Gloyn-Cox has offered to join our volunteer team. Yay!
  • Linda is already uploading photos.
  • Rita Jasper recorded the whole event and is planning on producing a series of short excerpts. I’m really excited to see what she creates. Go Rita!
  • Kelvin expertly conducted our online symphony last night. It’s a beautiful thing.

Interested in joining the volunteer team? Give us a shout!

And lastly, please join me in congratulating my co-organizer Chad on being a new father of twins!!!!

[meetup] My digital toolkit with Ben Johnson – November 6 2012

How do you launch half a dozen corporate websites, send dozens of eblasts, direct mailings and newsletters to raise millions without an office (or employees). Ben Johnson goes through his favourite tools for project management, testing, databases, email service providers to show how you can scale your work to be a digital-first organization.

RSVP on Meetup.com

When: Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 5:30 PM To 7:30 PM
Where: W2 Media Cafe, 111 W Hastings, Vancouver, BC

RSVP on Meetup.com

ABOUT BEN JOHNSON Benjamin Johnson Ben is the Managing Director of Frontier Consulting. His background includes founding a startup to promote micro-volunteering to altruistic tech-savvy Millenials right out of university, later holding marketing positions with Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver and Island Savings in Victoria, picking up his CMA designation on the way. Ben lives in Victoria and has been tackling the responsibilities of fatherhood for over three years now. You can find Ben on Twitter at @mrbenjohnson.

Net Tuesday is thrilled to have the W2 Media Cafe as our venue sponsor for the 2012-2013 season.

They do cool things. Check them out!

Net Tuesday: Redesigning Your Website? What You Need to Know | With Lauren Bacon

We’re thrilled to have Lauren Bacon of Raised Eyebrow web studio presenting the October 2011 Net Tuesday.

Net Tuesday Vancouver


Meetup.com OR Facebook


W2 Media Cafe

111 W Hastings, Vancouver, BC


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

  • Doors at 5:30 PM
  • Starts at 6:00 PM
  • Wraps at 7:30 PM (but stay for drinks!)


When it’s time to overhaul your website, the task at hand can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? Content, functionality, and design are all vying for first place, and everyone in your organization probably has a different idea of what’s top priority.

In this one-hour session we’ll share tips for how to corral your team, clarify your needs, and set the stage for a successful redesign project. Our specialty is working with nonprofits and public sector organizations, so we will bring that focus to this session.

You’ll learn: 

  • Key questions to ask yourself & your team
  • Who within your organization to involve in the process
  • How to write a better RFP


Lauren is a veteran web designer, who co-founded Raised Eyebrow Web Studio, Inc. with her business partner, co-author, and all-around right-hand woman, Emira Mears. The two have been in business together since early 2000, and are advocates of values-based business and of sustainable growth. From humble beginnings in a corner of Lauren’s bedroom, to a small office in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district, Raised Eyebrow has expanded gradually to include a staff of five.


Net Tuesday is thrilled to have the W2 Media Cafe as our venue sponsor for the 2011-12 season. They do cool things. Check them out!


Net Tuesday: Flexing Facebook’s Civic Muscles with Susanna Haas Lyons


Meetup.com OR Facebook


W2 Media Cafe

111 W Hastings, Vancouver, BC


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

  • Doors at 5:30 PM
  • Starts at 6:00 PM
  • Wraps at 7:30 PM (but stay for drinks!)

Suggested donation
$5.00 at the door

Governments around the world are experimenting with social media as a site of civic engagement. Online public participation is a young field however, and little is known about the benefits or limitations of these projects. Key issues that must be considered include anonymity, privacy, government activity in privately operated spaces, demographic diversity, delineating between crowd-appropriate and expert-appropriate tasks, community building and more.

Vancouver was recently the home of an innovative Facebook based public conversation. Hundreds of Vancouver residents and commuters participated in a July 2011 Facebook conversation about the City of Vancouver’ Transportation Plan. Using a uniquely developed Facebook app, this ground breaking social media conversation asked Vancouverites to share their own commuting stories, learn about key issues, propose transportation recommendations to the City. This project was both an innovative engagement exercise in partnership with the City of Vancouver and it was the focus of Susanna Haas Lyons’s masters thesis research with the University of British Columbia.

The City has already written a response to recommendations resulting from the conversation, and these ideas will be considered for integration into the City’s draft transportation plan. Results of the research are emerging.


Susanna Haas Lyons is a public engagement specialist who develops strategy and provides training for better conversations between the public and decision makers. Bridging online and face-to-face methods, Susanna has worked on some of North America’s largest and most complex citizen engagement projects. Currently, Susanna is researching collaborative policy development, with a focus in digital engagement practices, at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, the Environment and Sustainability. She is also a senior network associate with AmericaSpeaks, a global leader in large-scale public participation. Previously, Susanna was project coordinator with the British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, which was shortlisted for the prestigious Mohn Prize. She holds a certificate in Public Participation from the International Association for Public Participation, and is an advisor to the Alberta Climate Dialogue project.


Net Tuesday is thrilled to have the W2 Media Cafe as our venue sponsor for the 2011-12 season. They do cool things. Check them out!W2 Media Cafe


Darren Barefoot at Net Tuesday: Word-of-mouth marketing

Darren Barefoot presented at the September 2011 Net Tuesday and he killed. The kid’s a pro. He generously offered his slide deck and allowed us to record the session.

P.S. Darren and Julie Szabo also offer a Social Media Marketing Bootcamp. The next one is on October 21.

The slides

How nonprofits win with word of mouth marketing [slideshare id=9156501&w=425&h=355&sc=no]

The Video
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guOprYhxzJs]