Four years after my first attendance, I was finally able to get to Mesh, Canada’s two-day web conference. And I had a great time. I met some great new people, caught up with old friends and learned many, many new things. The keynotes were awesome and really motivating. What I appreciated about this year’s Mesh is I wasn’t exposed to the usual social media buzz words and advice about transparency, joining the conversation, bla, bla, bla. This year’s event was more on the human behaviour side of things.

Day 1 focused on digital activism, cyber warfare and Repression 2.0. We got a reality check on all the hacking going on as we go on our daily online business. More about this on future posts my comic journalism blog (oh yeah, forgot to mention, I launched something new recently). We also got a healthy dose of myth busting Al-Jazeera English‘s bad reputation. Turns out, it’s not so bad at all. A news outlet not tied to any government and I admit, their slogan is quite catchy; “Journalism Without Frontiers”. Plus, it’s headed by an ex-CBC editor-in-chief and executive director. One show I’m definitely checking out is The Stream. It’s Al-Jazeera’s social media show.

Day 2 focused on a new buzz word for me (I admit, I grew tired of all the redundant social media blogs out there and started to read less and less of them lately); gamification. Long story short: us humans like to play games. We are social. Who knew? Therefore, apply game elements  your online campaigns, website, whatever – heck, even offline experiential marketing (buzz buzz). Forget ‘join the conversation’ and all those other rules of social media. Replace them with ‘fun and engagement’. Putting the user square in the center of everything.

The keynote for this was delivered by Gabe Zichermann, fantastically engaging and enthusiastic speaker who stressed – and proved – the effectiveness and success behind making whatever it is that you do fun. Like games. This completely changed my way of thinking about web and mobile – and good old fashioned in-store – campaigns. And gave me a few ideas on mobile apps and enhancements to my other sites. I’m definitely keeping my eye on Gabe’s blog.

The Mesh Conference is also going west.