I arrived in Tokyo a few hours ago. I’m here all week to discuss the future of our successful Japanese website. It’s my first time here and I went straight from the Narita airport to my Hotel in the Shinjuku area so I have only been here for a short period of time. That doesn’t stop me from verifying some things I’ve been hearing about.
Everything is freakishly clean and there’s no garbage bin to be found.
Yes, it’s clean alright. I bought an apple at the airport (save bet as a vegetarian) and I couldn’t find a place to dispose it.
People line up in straight lines before the subway, even when it’s packed.
They sure do. They even line up exactly where the doors are going to be. Impressive.
Subway stations are insanely big and busy
I’ve seen worse. But hey, I’m from Europe where people don’t line up.
Everybody is texting non-stop
Pretty much. Or they’re reading.
The toiled doubles as a female masturbation device
Ehhhh, yes it does. Email me for details.
From left to right: Jens Thraenhart – Canadian Tourism Commission, Julien Cormier – Tourism Quebec, William Bakker – Tourism BC, Daniel Cayer – Travel Alberta, Cameron Spence – Tourism Banff/Lake Louise.
I spend last week in Ottawa at the Online Revealed conference in Ottawa. The conference was organized by the Canadian Tourism Commission and it included a one day session with all ebusiness strategists of the Canadian provinces and territories and a two day open conference where I participated on a panel discussing content and technology.
It was very nice to meet my counterparts at the other provinces and to hear about what they are doing. Like most conferences, the networking part was the best part although there were interesting sessions.
I enjoyed participating on the panel and I think we had a meaningful discussion. Beforehand we agreed I should talk about user generated content and HelloBCBlogs.com. So I didn’t get a change to talk about the incredible cool things we’ve done on HelloBC.com. I promise I will post some information about what we’ve done on this blog soon.
Daniel Cayer from Travel Alberta showed some of the great work they’re doing. He also shared his thoughts about technology and in particular how he favours building his own CMS tool instead of using a enterprise content management system. He was very vocal about this and his believes about how these applications are hard to implement and maintain. I mentioned I disagreed with him because we’re using Microsoft CMS and we’re happy with it. I also mentioned would like to talk about it over a beer but I never got the change unfortunately.
Afterwards, a few people asked me questions and thanked me for disagreeing (and they weren’t vendors of CMS systems) with Daniel and I even received a phone call about it. So I’ll elaborate a little further here. My main point is that Tourism BC is a marketing organisation, not a technology developer.
I agree to keep things simple and not letting technology drive your business. But to translate that into building your own systems is a risky proposition in the long run. By using a CMS tool, we can be ensured we have technology that will continue to evolve over time. And with Microsoft CMS, the tool will likely be around for a while and we have access to a variety of vendors and developers who are certified to work with the tool. A safe bet when you’re working with public money.
On Monday, Sheri and I went to the Commodore where DJ Tiësto spinned. Tiësto is one of the worlds best DJ’s and he’s Dutch (of course). My iPod is 80% filled with Tiësto sets and it was incredible to see him live. He is incredibly skilled at transitioning one song into another to create a non-stop 3 hour track. And through the selection of his tracks and his stage personality, he can manipulate the crowd and take you on a 3 hour dance experience.
Sheri and I aren’t exactly the trance crowd and at least 90% of the crowd was 10 years younger than me. There wasn’t a lot of pushing and shuffing so we could both get very close to the front. Everybody also brought cameras and there was an ocean of cameras all around us. It didn’t take me very long to find myself and Sheri on one of the pictures people have posted on the internet. There’s also a video if you’re interested. I hope he comes back to Vancouver soon.
Who decides what’s true, what’s accurate, and what’s relevant information? This is what’s been on my mind lately. The reason is this thing called user generated content.
Wikipedia is probably one of the best examples of user generated content. Wikipedia is a fascinating website, an encyclopedia editable by anybody. You can find information about virtually everything, and you edit any article yourself.
There’s a lot of debate about accuracy and politics in Wikipedia. It’s all interesting but the end-user of the published material is the ultimate judge and right now Wikipedia receives 25 million visitors a month, making it the 18th most visited website on the internet. So obviously, a lot of people find it a useful resource. I use Wikipedia all the time, and I like it, but I wouldn’t use it for medical advice. Most people have a good ability to put information in context.
What’s more interesting to me is that Wikipedia proves that you can create a large amount of content in a very small period of time, using the collective power of many. When discussing user generated content, the focus is often on the risks of inaccuracy and abuse. But if users are able to put this in context, and Wikipeadia to a large degree proves that this collective way of content management can work, it opens a lot of doors.
Enter Wikitravel, a younger sibling of Wikipedia, dedicated to travel. It currently contains 8,743 destinations around the world. What role will Wikitravel play in the trip planning of the future? What role will Destination Marketing Organizations (such as Tourism BC) play on Wikitravel? Should we be editing BC content on Wikitravel? Will websites such as Wikitravel become as important to manage as regular media? Just one example of the impact of the rapid evolution of marketing tourism and I love it.
More to come about this subject.
This picture is me last Sunday on the left, and me in 1991 on the right, definitely proving I gained weight, but my style is still gracious (ahum). After a five year hiatus, I joined a soccer team again. Last Sunday, we played our first game. I also ran 10K in the Sun Run on the same day, very unfortunate timing. I play in a team called “Western United” as right back, a position I’ve never played before. It went pretty good. I’ve realized I’ve traded speed for intelligence. I used to just run to the other goal, now I actually think about what I’m doing. I don’t know what’s better. I’ll let you know.