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Moving Day

Moving Day

Hello fans of the Pondstone Communications blog!

Thank you for years of loyal readership. With nearly 655,000 views at the time of posting, wordpress.com has served us well but it’s time to move our blog to our own site. We will keep this blog live (people who Google “cute animals” and “cool castles” will still find us here) but a more focused blog relating to Pondstone’s business will now be available at http://pondstone.ca/blog/

Thanks again! ‘Hope to see you at the new site!

Don't Waste Wood LogoThis week, Pondstone launched the newly redesigned dontwastewood.com.

The “Don’t Waste Wood” campaign, by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), promotes the benefits, both environmental and financial, of diverting wood waste from landfills.

The site features a substantial resource library for policy-makers, a toolkit for members of the construction and demolition industries, and information for architects.

In addition to showcasing various markets for wood waste, the site explores the financial feasibility of deconstruction vs. demolition. All information is available to the general public, including links to companies providing deconstruction services or making use of reclaimed wood in their products.

The new site is built on WordPress and includes a look-up feature that provides both Canadian and American users with a list of wood waste haulers, sellers or buyers within a specified radius of their postal code or zip code.

Check out http://www.dontwastewood.com

Canadian Toy Testing Council

Canadian Toy Testing Council's Logo / 3-Star Award Winning Toy Badge

The Canadian Toy Testing Council’s Annual Media Event was held this past Tuesday, November 8th, to release their 2012 Toy Report and a new website built by Pondstone.

The CTTC is a non-profit, volunteer-powered, registered charitable organization. Every year, parents look to the Canadian Toy Testing Council and their annual Toy Report for recommendations on the best toys for children. The Toy Report is released at the beginning of the holiday shopping season and all testing results are posted to the CTTC website. That means that parents in Canada — and around the world — have access to the results. The news media, too, rely on CTTC expertise when they are reporting on stories related to toys.

Pondstone was delighted to work with CTTC’s Chair, Liliane Benoit, and the Board of Directors to redesign and build a new WordPress site for the organization.  CTTC’s web presence now has an updated look and feel, more intuitive navigation and provides CTTC staff with easy content management and updating.

The new site went live Tuesday morning and the 2012 Toy Testing Results were published at exactly 10:30am to coincide with the beginning of the Media Event.

Check out the new site, as well as the latest Reports and Awards at www.toy-testing.org

I was driving home the other day when I saw a sign by the side of the road. A number of them actually, similar to lawn signs you see around election-time. Spaced about 20 metres apart, they looked identical but they didn’t have a single word on them. They were simply large QR codes.

According to Wikipedia, QR (Quick Response) codes have been around since 1994 when they were invented by a subsidiary of Toyota to track vehicles during the manufacturing process.

More recently, with the rise in popularity of Smartphones equipped with QR code readers, they have been popping up in all sorts of print communications from newspapers and magazine ads to movie posters and Government of Ontario public awareness campaign materials.

This QR code redirects to EDC's 2010 Annual Report website

This QR code redirects to EDC's 2010 Annual Report website

Although QR codes can store a variety of information, they are most commonly used to redirect a user’s Smartphone to a (hopefully) mobile-optimized website or micro-site specific to the topic or campaign. Last year, Best Buy added QRs to their in-store product tags. Earlier this year, Pondstone used QR codes on Export Development Canada’s 2010 Annual Report to direct users to the Annual Report website we created.

Not only do QR codes provide a means of presenting targeted content to an audience already expressing interest in your message, but analytics can provide you with feedback on the level of engagement you are achieving with your campaign.

In Ontario, there is a law that prohibits the use of handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle, so I have no idea what content the creators of the roadside posters wanted to share with me. QR codes, used properly, can be a highly effective way of sharing information but since my query is on a high-speed road with no stopping I’ll have to enlist the help of a passenger if I am to solve the mystery of this message.

Thanks for reading and drive safe.

Pondstone Communications is pleased to announce that Gary Pomerant has joined the team as our newest Web Developer.

Gary is an experienced programmer involved in the WordPress community. He has written a number of WordPress plugins including the popular [GWA] AutoResponder which, as of this writing, counts over 30,000 downloads!

In addition to enhancing Pondstone’s programming and technical expertise, Gary is immediately engaging with the Tiki (Wiki CMS Groupware) community to establish expertise in Pondstone’s platform of choice for large-scale web sites and online communities.

Pondstone Communications is pleased to announce that Nick Humphrys has joined our team as Operations Manager.

Nick worked as Director of New Media at Creative Digital Media / Creative Post Inc. in Ottawa’s west end for 9 years and was recently Office Manager for Distant Shores Trading Company based in Prescott, ON.  He is also a part-time Projectionist at The Mayfair Theatre.

Nick and Duane (President, Creative Director) have had the opportunity to work together on a few projects over the last decade and are happy to be bringing Nick’s complimentary design style and media expertise to Pondstone’s clients.

In addition to overseeing the daily operations at Pondstone, Nick will be assisting with planning & strategy as well as in the design & implementation of projects.

During an interview on Ottawa CBC Radio One with Kathleen Petty and Alistair Steele, the JimWatson.ca, the site for Ottawa mayoral candidate and Pondstone client, Jim Watson, was dubbed the best among all contenders.

Full text of the interview below:

Ottawa CBC Radio One, Kathleen Petty’s show

KP: Alistair Steele’s been looking at the brave new world of online electioneering… So get me back on track here, Alaistair – what did you find out?

AS: Well, Kathleen, I found out that compared to the last election in 2006, there’s been a remarkable upswing in the adoption of new technology, particularly social media sites like the ones that you just mentioned. It’s really quite amazing just how many ways there are now for candidates to reach voters and some of them are making full use of those new tools.

KP: OK, so who gets the most marks for the most impressive site?

AS: Well, I’d say that Jim Watson sets the gold standard here. No surprise, really, given his status, given that he is running for the mayor’s job. His web site is very slick, it’s easy to navigate, it’s uncluttered, it’s topped with a photo that makes him look friendly and approachable, it’s got the simple yet striking grey and red colour scheme. There’s a link to his Flickr page, there’s a slide show where you can see photos of Jim out in the community, there’s a section for campaign news complete with an RSS feed so you can get updates as they come in. You can donate, you can order a sign. And then there are these invitations to follow Jim on Twitter, or you can choose to ‘like’ him on Facebook , and of course there’s a link to YouTube where you can view videos like this one … [clip] … the sound quality’s not great here, which would be about my only complaint about this web site.

For audio of the full interview, go here.

Pondstone proudly launched our latest project today: the shiny new online home of Export Development Canada’s popular trade magazine, ExportWise: www.exportwise.ca (www.exportateursavertis.ca for all of our Francophone fans).

Screen capture of Export Wise.ca

Developed on the powerful Tiki CMS/Groupware platform, www.exportwise.ca provides Canadian companies, foreign customers, financial institutions and other organizations active in international trade with easy access to information about emerging markets, industry trends, and economic and political assessments.  The new site allows users to engage directly with EDC and with other users through commenting, gives quick access to the most popular and the most talked-about content, and provides RSS feeds of the latest updates.

When EDC decided to take ExportWise to the next level, they chose Pondstone to deliver the goods.  The new site joins other recent Pondstone projects, including www.sierraclub.ca and www.jimwatson.ca, in showcasing our diversity, innovation and talent for delivering exceptional quality and value in web development across a wide range of styles and applications.

Feel free to contact us for any of your organisation’s online campaign, social media, fundraising or web development needs.  We’d be honoured and excited to help!

From The Globe and Mail; full article found here.

Dalai Lama twitter

The Tibetan spiritual leader isn’t following anyone yet but has more than 70,000 followers.

Twitter’s founder says the Dalai Lama laughed at the thought of using the social networking service. But the Tibetan spiritual leader now has an official Twitter site — and more than 68,000 followers.

Twitter founder Evan Williams posted a message Sunday that he’d just met the Dalai Lama in Los Angeles and pitched using Twitter.

On Monday, a Twitter page set up by the Dalai Lama’s office in India carried its first message. It mentioned that the Dalai Lama had been in L.A. and gave a Web site link for details.

Six other Tweets since then provide links to interviews, photos and webcasts.

Although his Holiness has yet to post a personal message, his office has posted links to interviews and photos on his behalf. From age-old spiritual communicator to high-tech connections, the Dalia Lama is yet another example of utilizing new media to stay linked in with followers.

Be sure to follow Pondstone’s Twitter feed @pondstone.

– Jessie W.

From Mashable.com (original story here).

facebook farmville block hate how to

The Facebook-platform game FarmVille has 80 million players. It’s been named social networking game of the year. It’s played by people young and old. It’s bigger than Twitter. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
The game optionally advertises itself by sending out news feed updates to your friends whenever you accomplish a milestone with your farm or character. When you have lots of friends playing FarmVille, those updates can be ubiquitous enough to drive you a little crazy.
Here we’ll save your sanity by showing you how to hide all those FarmVille news feed updates and notifications without burning any bridges with your passionate social gamer friends.

Hiding Friends’ FarmVille News Feed Updates

facebook farmville hate how to updates news feed status

This task is simple. Any time you see a FarmVille update in your news feed, move the mouse cursor to the right of the update and a “Hide” button will appear as seen above. Click on it.

facebook hide farmville block updates from news feed how to

As illustrated above, you’ll then be given the choice to either hide that friend or just the FarmVille app. Since you probably want to keep seeing your friend’s updates (we hope), click “Hide FarmVille.”  This will hide FarmVille news feed posts from all your friends, not just the one who published that particular update.

block blocking farmville notifications updates news feed facebook updates

Sometimes friends will send you notifications inviting you to join them in FarmVille or other games. These can be annoying if you’re not interested in playing. The easiest way to take care of this is to click the “x” next to the notification when you receive to block the FarmVille application.

But if you want to do this preemptively without waiting for another notification, just search for the FarmVille application using the Facebook search bar, go to the application page, and look for the “Block Application” link directly below the application image. We’ve included a pic above so you’ll know what you’re looking for.

Clicking that and confirming will prevent FarmVille from accessing your information or sending you notifications, but it won’t hide news feed updates from friends.

Facebook is an effective means of communicating with your current and potential members and supporters both for company or a campaign.

For an excellent example of effective use of Facebook, check out Jim Watson’s Facebook page here, Ottawa’s mayoral candidate Jim Watson. As clients of ours, Pondstone coaches campaigns on what to say, when to say it, and how to properly say it.  As Facebook expands, keep your company in the news without overexposure or bothering your base.

– Jessie W.

Pondstone Communications

Pondstone on Twitter

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