Canada is a country that as Europeans we instantly connect with wilderness, snow and moose, not to technology and interactivity. Interestingly though recent studies have suggested that the Canadian people are more linked in that a lot of other smaller, more traditionally tech-savvy countries. In the last 2 years the amount of Internet-using Canadians that have access to social media outlets increased from 50% to 70%. that means that just over half of all Canadians are hooked up to one or more social networking sites. This is put into context when on average only 10% of the rest of the world are socially linked in the same way.
To reflect this the Canadian government has invested more money over the last few years into digital technologies and commentators have encouraged them to continue doing so to a greater extent than they all ready are. In 2010 the minister of industry felt that by the year 2020 would be “a country that boasts a globally competitive digital economy that is driven by innovation and enhanced productivity and generates enduring prosperity”. since then the Canadian government has continued investing in their digital economy. Last year the government began implementing a digital skills strategy for the whole country. The eventual goal of this strategy would be to create a strong infusion into the existing workforce of skilled digital workers.
Now at the start of 2012 we can see the changes and implementations of this digital push. The Canadian tourist board has created it’s own form of twitter crossed with four squared called Explore Canada Like a Local. This website and app combination allow users to share there experiences and stories of travelling through Canada creating a up to the minute lonely planet-esque guide. The site lists all the major cities and tourist destinations in Canada and allows users to recommend and talk among themselves about good places to go and how to get to them. This innovative way of bringing data to the tourist trade of Canada has earned the creators much credit. Here are some of the most recent examples of this expansion:
Over the festive period Toronto took part in the digital social revolution by having a Christmas tree installed in one of its train station. The tree, that was made out of wires and LEDs as opposed to bark and sap, reacted every time someone tweeted with a certain hash tag included. The tree would have more lights lit the more people were talking about it within the digital sphere and whenever the correct hash tag was used a wave of different colored lights would go up the tree. This is a great way of blending the real world with the digital and explaining to people that who don’t really know about social media how important it is.
This blurring of real world and the wired has also been achieved through twisting the way users view documentary. The documentary called the One Millionth Tower was filmed and set in a Toronto high rise and is describes the problems of living around the world. The film is interactive and this means that users can engage with the parts of the documentary they want to.
Another website that has gained a lot of attention for a similar recently is bear71.com. this site was built to raise awareness for the dwindling size of a nature reserve in Canada. The site acts as an interactive video that allows the user to interact with elements and stories around the park. This experience has not only changed the usual flow of information to users, breaking down the boundaries between documentary and experiential website, wild and wired experiences. This website has made such waves that it was featured at LBI’s social media conference this week.
Canada. The one to watch.
Posted on Thursday, March 8th 2012