Geek Speak: Nadia Nascimento, senior strategist at Invoke Media

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      Nadia Nascimento is building a new-media centre in Cape Verde, an island country that lies in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa. But that’s just the 31-year-old Vancouver resident’s side project.

      By day, Nascimento is a senior strategist at Invoke Media and the product manager for Memelabs, a subsidiary of the Vancouver-based interactive agency. The Memelabs platform is an on-line contest application that forms part of the Memesuite group of products. Invoke is also the developer of HootSuite, a Web-based Twitter client. On December 10, the company launched a HootSuite iPhone app.

      Born in North Vancouver, Nascimento is a former elementary-school teacher and actor who studied communication at Simon Fraser University. For two years, she has been working to establish a new-media centre on the Cape Verde island of Sí£o Nicolau, where she has family. The structure was completed in July, and the centre is scheduled to open on May 3, 2010. If everything goes according to plan, Nascimento will work with the Cape Verde government to construct more new-media centres on Sí£o Nicolau and perhaps other islands.

      The Georgia Straight reached Nascimento by phone at Invoke’s office in Railtown.

      What’s new in the iPhone version of HootSuite?

      This is actually the first version that we’ve come out with, which is probably why it’s so anticipated....A lot of the mega-trends going on in Web and technology is things that are mobile, social, and real time. What HootSuite’s already done is hit up the real-time aspect of it, because we’re working with Twitter, which is really right now the most predominate aspect of real time, and now involving mobile.

      So, what’s happened is with this Twitter app you’re able to view statistics. It’s the only application that allows you to schedule your tweets in advance, and you can send all tweets from multiple accounts simultaneously. And you can also upload and share photos and files using

      What is Memesuite?

      Memesuite is basically the umbrella to Memelabs, Minimeme, and Memeserver. With all of these tools, we’re able to distribute video content, be it branded or from a previous social-media engagement. That’s basically Memeserver. Within Memelabs, it’s a top-ranking video-contest platform that we’ve used and run contests with basically Fortune 500 companies—a lot of the bigger guys—and then down to some of the nonprofit organizations and some small mom-and-pop shops.

      Minimeme is our turn-key solution, which is what we developed specifically for nonprofit organizations who wanted to be able to utilize the power of video contesting or photo contesting or essay contesting but perhaps didn’t have the same kind of budget that, say, a Wells Fargo would have. So, we wanted to still be able to provide them with that accessibility, and it’s more of a turn-key solution, but yet it’s still built on the same platform and has all the same social-media integration that Memelabs has.

      How does the Memelabs contest platform work?

      The Memelabs platform is usually launched simultaneous with a greater social-media picture in mind. What it serves is basically a brand would come to us and they would look to launch some kind of contest. This is a way to create engagement, connectivity, interaction with their consumers. And using this platform, we’re able to generate a lot of buzz. We’re able to basically foray themselves into the social-media landscape.

      So, not only is it a contest platform, where people are able to upload, view, vote, comment, distribute, we are also here as advisors, and we work a lot to work and advise within the promotional aspect of their contest. So, that basically is another arm of Invoke, where we have a full social-media team as well as other tools that we’ve integrated into the Memelabs platform, like the shortener, the Twitter pieces, and the player. The social-media team would be here to help craft a really strong solid outreach for the particular client.

      How have on-line contests changed over the past few years?

      Well, we were one of the first ones that started into the contesting space. At the time, someone had initially come to us and said, “Can you create a viral video for us?” At the time, it seemed like that was the new buzzword that was on everyone’s mind. And what was coming around the corner was crowd sourcing and how that can be effected. So, we merged those two concepts together, created a platform of contesting, so that we could perhaps get more options from videos and provide them with some of the tools that could perhaps start working within that concept of viral.

      However, at that time, there was no tool to really start promoting your video. The video player itself was a widget, so you could share it. But, at the time, social media was not even really a huge buzzword. So, players were very, very static. They didn’t have a lot of the shareability. At the time, with YouTube, a lot of the commenting was anonymous. We had to basically work within a lot of the moderation as well. So, what’s changed primarily is the fact that people are integrating contests, I think, into more of a larger outreach, and it really does become the first step into a greater conversation with a lot of their consumers.

      What’s interesting to you about augmented reality?

      I think that life is becoming a whole lot more mobile and ubiquitous. With things like the golden triangle—which is referred to in Web and technology as something that is mobile, social, and real time—we’re going to see a lot more interaction between those three things. Within that, we are affected by devices, applications, networks, and relationships, and I think that, when we work all those together, augmented reality is a great solution to tying a lot of those together and exploring a lot of the relationships and conversations that will transpire within it.

      I think as well in marketing it provides a great tool for brands or companies to start engaging with people in a richer sense. So, if it’s a restaurant, you’re able to provide a lot more and easily accessible information about who they are. But perhaps you want to go one step richer, and you can start creating mobile games perhaps that can be accessed around the city. That’s something that augmented reality would provide for. So, in terms of just working within this new digital space, where people are defining themselves from digital introverts to social extroverts, something like augmented reality, I think, is another way for people to start exploring those relationships more.

      What are you building in the Cape Verde Islands?

      My baby and my side project is one of the first media centres being built in West Africa. As you mentioned, it’s in Cape Verde, where it’s been in drought for the past 30 years. But in the summertime we received one of the largest rainfalls, I think, in Cape Verde in history, wiping out a lot of the infrastructure of the actual village where I’m building my school. One of the only really untouched spaces was the school itself, which is pretty profound.

      But what we’re doing there is providing a space for children, businesspeople, young individuals who, at varying degrees, may need to get—may want to get—information. They might want to start engaging in conversations with family and friends abroad. And I’m also providing that as a space for people to start doing business. So, I’m providing a lot of the businesspeople within Cape Verde with iPod Touches, so they can start accessing information. Ultimately, it’s going to be an education centre for children, and it’s going to be used for business and for higher education for the older kids and for the adults of the village.

      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