Periscope This!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had a handful of people ask me about how I use periscope to broadcast events.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Periscope and using it for events – the ability to live stream anything with only a smartphone, and without any additional costs, makes broadcasting events accessible in a whole new way.

Anyone can now easily broaden their reach, increase engagement or host open meetings that are actually “open”.

I challenge your organization to ask why you would not want to make this happen for your next event.

My #Periscope kit   A photo posted by Gillian Vrooman (@gndv) on

With this in mind, here’s my advice for those who want to get started…

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Hosting a hackathon? Here’s how to market it!

Hackathons are exciting events that bring communities together, drive innovation, inspire action and are an exhilarating experience. If you haven’t participated in one, give it a try. They are an excellent opportunity to directly contribute to a cause you care about.

Our President @gndv starting off the 2016 #VODDay #OpenDataDay Hackathon

A photo posted by Open Data Society of BC (@opendatabc) on

Some hackathons are competition focused – full of budding entrepreneurs with ideas to flush out and prototype. Others are focused on social good – tackling local or global problems, or bringing transparency to important issues through storytelling and data visualizations.

Hackathons are often run by hardworking volunteers, nonprofits, or on the side of your local “do-gooder’s” desk. As a result, hackathon organizers  may not always have as much capacity as they would like to create a rockstar hackathon. But what they lack in capacity they make up for in passion. I also believe that if you’ve organized a hackathon and haven’t suffered (at least a little), you probably haven’t done it right – just like a good work out.

It’s my appreciation for these hardworking hackathon coordinators that draws me to lend a hand to local hackathons and provide advice based on my experience. I find effectively marketing their hackathon is an area where many need the most help. Continue reading Hosting a hackathon? Here’s how to market it!

Should I build an app?

United Nations of smartphone operating systemsHaving helped develop an iPhone app and having my “techie-in-a-skirt” rep amongst my colleagues and friends, I often get asked “Should I build an app?” Last  week I was asked just that.

My answer always starts with “It depends”.

Delivering a mobile friendly service is not the question here. ComScore recently revealed that  75% of Canadians own a smartphone in their 2014 Canada Digital Future in Focus report which means you need a mobile friendly solution if you want to be relevant. The question is, which mobile solution is right for you?

Generally, you have three main mobile options: Web Apps, Native Apps, and Hybrid Apps. But before you get into these options, you need to determine what exactly you are endeavoring to do before weighing your mobile options. Continue reading Should I build an app?

Sharepoint Branding

Microsoft SharePoint branding is one of those things that front-end developers love to hate and love to master. It is the inspiration for many blogs like SharePoint Makes Me Cry (which helps validate our frustration) and  Randy Drisgill’s blog which proves him to be no less than a SharePoint branding god.

When I first gained access to a SharePoint 2010 site a few months before its official release within the BC Government, I decided to challenge myself and test out the purportedly much improved branding capabilities by creating an a-typical sharepoint site.

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BC Health Service Locator iPhone App

Need to find a health service in BC? Use the BC Health Service Locator!

This is with out a doubt one of the best and most meaningful projects I’ve worked on as a public servant.

The BC Health Service Locator is an iPhone app that helps citizens find walk in clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, immunization locations, and after-hours pharmacies near you. You can search for health services by city or keyword.

This video demos its functionality. It’s also my first debut as a hand model 😉

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