Social Media and Friendship

WordCamp Victoria 2010

From Flickr: Photo of Raul Pacheco (aka Hummingbird604) and Janis La Couvée at WordCampVictoria May 2010

Whenever people ask me about the return on investment (ROI) of social media, particularly as it pertains to me personally, I’m left at a loss for words.

I’ve had individuals say “I’m not looking to expand my social circles, so social media is a waste of time for me”.

Fair enough!

That was not my case. Widowed in 2001, with children leaving home soon after, my social circles had dwindled considerably. It’s not as if I did nothing about it either. I’d joined the prerequisite groups and made sure to stay involved in activities that were important to me – like land use planning and the performing arts, but generally speaking it was the same people I already knew.

Things changed significantly in early 2009 when I became engaged in the Victoria social media scene.  It seemed like overnight, there were hundreds of new connections; people who wanted to get together socially, for business, to learn more about social media, for fundraising, to support local causes, to form groups.

I loved the way social media flattened the hierarchy of the social structure and gave people an equal platform from which to relate.

Social media pioneers like Paul Holmes and Katharine Holmes of Idea Zone, and Catherine Novak of Wordspring Communications, were instrumental in kick starting the community when they created the first Canadian Social Media Club in March 2009.

Tim Vickers, Mike Vardy, Doug Symington and Tim Ayres were among some of the first users of Twitter in Victoria – they started the regular practice of tweetups in the fall of 2008, and were joined by Dan Parks in spring 2009. Dan, Catherine and I created the breakfast #victoriatweetups shortly after.  More social evening tweetups continued.

Dan has since been bitten with the geo and app bug. His “High Noon Hump Day” lunch tweetups attract passionate users.

Raul Pacheco-Vega, Lorraine Murphy, Rebecca Bollwitt, well known Vancouver bloggers,  and Joe Solomon, international not-for-profit tech activist,  left indelible marks  on the community through generously sharing knowledge, time and mentorship with us.

I remember Raul commenting on his blog last year for his 4th blogiversary about the many opportunities he has had since starting his blog, but above all, he values the deep friendships that have developed.

I can only concur. How can you place a monetary value on this every increasing network of friends?  It is truly priceless.

Thank you Raul for being the representation of social media and friendship.

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. Thanks, Janis, for highlighting me on your post and for the friendship we began when we connected through social media and that now is one I cherish profoundly. I can’t complain about friendship and social media at all. It’s been the one thing that keeps making me come back to it, even when I feel tired of some of the (thankfully rather infrequent) negative elements of social media (the drama!). It’s always the friendships I have. Much love from Vancouver, and see you at Social Media Camp!

  2. So great to see your page on Facebook, Janis! I “liked” it right away, and am greatly looking forward to taking the next steps back into the social media community at SMC Victoria, going strong after two years and two months. You didn’t even mention in your article that you met your husband on Twitter. Surely that’s no secret!

    Love, Cath

    • @lacouvee says

      Thanks for the comments Catherine! I look forward to seeing you back in the social media community too!

      As for mentioning Frans in this article – it’s on my about page! Not a secret at all.

      See you soon!

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