Geek Speak: Colleen Coplick, director of social media at Wantsa
Colleen Coplick calls herself a “professional loudmouth”. The 34-year-old is the director of social media at Wantsa. On Wednesday (June 10), the private company, which has offices in Vancouver and San Francisco, will officially launch its recommendation engine in beta.
Coplick was born in Victoria and grew up in Qualicum Beach. She previously owned Type A Public Relations for several years and wrote for the b5media blogs Buzz Networker and Spa Beautifully for a year and a half.
This month, Coplick will launch her Miss Manifesto blog network, which will include her blog Drinks After Dark. The sites will be “written by women for women”, according to Coplick—specifically, “women who aren’t afraid to wear the high heels and strut and swear and drink and smoke a cigar once in a while”.
The Georgia Straight reached Coplick on her cellphone at her West End home.
What makes you a geek?
I am constantly connected. I can’t not be. I freak out when I’m not connected. I call myself a dork, because I get really excited about very, really weird, specific things.
What exactly is Wantsa?
We call it a recommendation engine. Much like a search engine, except instead of returning—when you’re using a search engine—it returning a bunch of things that you then have to sift through and hope that it’s come back with the right information, Wantsa delivers you recommendations. So, if you’re looking for, say, a hairdresser, you stay in the social network you’re already in—it lives within social networks—and type in like “hair” or “home” or whatever it is you’re looking for. It gathers your friends’ recommendations and it knows who your friends are, so it sees who your friends have recommended, and then that business can offer you deals and discounts on what you’re looking for.
So, it works with social networks like Facebook?
It’s currently a downloadable application in Facebook, and then it’s going to be core integration in other networks, like Ning. We’ve got partnerships with all the white-label social-network providers.
What’s a director of social media do?
I play around on the Internet. I Twitter—like, I Twitter for the company; I blog for the company; I will start recording podcasts soon. So, we’ll do podcasts and videos, and update the Flickr site, and basically get the word out from a social-media perspective and encourage people to use the application.
What are your plans for your blog Drinks After Dark?
That’s the flagship site for what will become a blog network on Miss Manifesto. So, we’ve got 28 sites coming out over the next six months. Drinks After Dark is going to start holding events locally and across North America. It’ll be like educational-type events. You want to learn about a spirit, so you’ll learn about tasting notes and how to mix it and drinks you can make and things like that. So, there’s big plans afoot for sure.
How do you think Twitter is dealing with its burgeoning user base?
On the one hand, I think they’re doing a good job, because the site doesn’t go down as much as it used to. But they are managing to just sort of do silly things without kind of letting their user base know. The whole debacle over the replies became quite a big deal. So, they’re not looking at their user base as a community or even a bunch of different communities. They’re looking at it as a communication tool. While it is a communications tool—yes, absolutely—there’s more to it than that. They’re kind of ignoring that entire section of the fact that people are building their own communities within their platform.
What do you like to do when you’re not staring at a computer screen?
I read a lot. My husband and I take my dog to Vanier. I’ve got a bunch of friends that I go out with and hang out with. We do a lot of research for Drinks After Dark—lots and lots of research. Watch movies—stuff like that. Lots of reality TV.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? Tell Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.
Jun 5, 2009 at 9:35am
great talking to you Stephen! I don't realize how often I use those silly bridging phrases until I see it written down! :)