UPDATED Feb 6, 2011
First ever “doggy” tweetup in history held in reaction to local story about 100 slaughtered Canadian sled dogs
Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 – Noon – 2pm PST Ambleside Park, 1300 Marine
WEST VANCOUVER, BC – Canada’s wealthiest bedroom community played host on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011 to the world’s first ever massive social media “doggy” tweetup event. Organized by WestVancouver.com community blog editor and media personality Catherine Barr (catherinebarr.com), the “Barking Mad” event makes history for being the first of its kind ever on record.
Speaking on CKNW 980AM radio’s Bill Good Show last week, Barr said the event was planned in response to recent news about the inhumane and extremely violent slaughter of 100 healthy sled dogs by a local tour operator in the neighbouring resort community of Whistler, BC. Online reaction has included equally violent language and police continue to investigate numerous potential threats made towards the people named in the killings. Social media is being blamed for the threats.
“We need to channel something positive from this tragic event and show the world that this is not Canada, and it’s not the right way to use social media,” said Barr during the interview.
The event was not originally planned as a protest, but rather a social gathering or “Tweetup/Meetup”. Saying that this event is just as much about correct social media practices as it is about the violence against animals, Barr and her Twitter/Facebook followers battled cold and rain to show that social media is the new way to organize a cause in the 21st century.
Volunteers handed out “Tweet Cheat Sheets” to the over 800 attendees. On the page were directions about how to participate in the tweetup event if you didn’t have a Twitter enabled cell phone. “Find a new friend, ask them to tweet for you,” were the directions. Local professional bloggers were accompanied by sign bearers showing their Twitter names so that anyone wanting to take part could easily find a online connection.
Taking place from noon – 2pm in Ambleside Park, West Vancouver, BC (1300 Marine Drive), on the beaches adjacent to the landmark Lions Gate Bridge and the local SPCA, people brought their pampered pooches and wore their red Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic attire. The tweetup hastag was marked with #BarkingMad. Driving rain and cold weather did affect turnout, but thanks to those who also took party virutally, the event was a history making success.
A special balloon ceremony was performed by “Sammy” – a 13 yr old Jack Russell – who carried a heart shaped balloon out to the Squamish Nation Welcome Figure which marks the start of the doggy walk. This 20-foot tall native public art figure stands at the water’s edge and represents a welcoming of all to the area and a wish to respect the land, the animals and the traditions that go with it. Sammy was met by local musician Bruce Vernon performing music from his original composition “Der Abschied” (German for “The Goodbye”).
Online response has been overwhelming and early estimates predict that anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people attended. Inclement weather unfortunately diminished the over 3,000 expected attendees.
The event was covered by every major media outlet in Vancouver including Global BC TV, CTV Vancouver TV, CBC News TV, City TV Vancouver, News 1130 Radio, CKNW 980 Radio, CBC 1 Radio, Virgin 95.3 Radio, Vancouver Sun Newspaper, Vancouver Province Newspaper, North Shore Outlook Newspaper and WestVancouver.com Social Media Hub.
More information please contact WestVancouver.com / Turner Media Canada Ltd. at 604-926-9293 or online at www.westvancouver.com
CONTACT: Catherine Barr: (604) 926-9293 / firstname.lastname@example.org / https://www.twitter.com/catherinebarr
EVENT PAGE: https://www.westvancouver.com/news/news-features/editorial-news/barking-mad-a-meet-up-tweet-up-in-support-of-whistlers-slaughtered-sled-dogs/
ABOUT WEST VANCOUVER: West Vancouver has a population of approx. 45,000 and is home to some of Canada’s wealthiest properties, including a $12 million estate rumoured to be owned by Oprah Winfrey. Famous residents including billionaire industrialist Jim Pattison, Clinton Foundation trustee Frank Giustra and Grammy award winning musicians Sarah McLachlan, Diana Krall and Elvis Costello, to name a few. It is located five minutes from downtown Vancouver and includes Cypress Bowl ski hill (the former site of the 2010 Winter Olympic freestyle skiing and snowboarding events)