Which universities use social media to connect with alumni?

I’m researching how colleges and universities are using social media to stay in touch with their alumni.

My own alma mater contacts me in many ways, but not through social media.

Does your university or college use social media to stay in touch with you? If so, I’d really appreciate it if you could tell me about it in a comment on this post.

Thank you for any help you can offer.

Third Tuesday Montreal Social Media Meetup Launches

For the past two years, people interested in exploring the potential of social media have gathered at Third Tuesday meetups in Toronto and Ottawa. Last autumn, Third Tuesday Vancouver and Third Tuesday New Brunswick groups joined the discussion.

3e Mardi / Third Tuesday MontréalTonight, 3e Mardi / Third Tuesday Montréal launches.
The discussion at tonight’s inaugural 3e Mardi / Third Tuesday Montréal will be led by two of Montréal’s social media pioneers, Mitch Joel and Mylene Forget. The topic: “Why you need to care about the new media channels.” A good starting place for a discussion of social media.

Montréal is a bilingual city, bringing together both French and English speaking communities. So, 3e Mardi / Third Tuesday Montréal will be a bilingual event, providing a perfect opportunity to enrich the discussion with insights about how social media is being adopted and used in different languages.

Congratulations to the group organizing 3e Mardi / Third Tuesday Montréal – Isolde Legaré, Marc Snyder, Nicolas Cossette, CT Moore, Mitch Joel, Carmelle Dion and especially Michelle Sullivan. They join the organizers of the other Third Tuesdays – Lise Rousseau, Chris Nadeau, Dan Martell, David Alston, Tanya Davis, Tod Maffin, Donna Papacosta, Terry Fallis, Chris Clarke, Ed Lee, David Jones, Michael O’Connor Clarke, Parker Mason, Ian Ketcheson, Colin McKay and Brendan Hodgson – in donating their time and efforts to provide people in their communities with an opportunity to learn about social media and meet others who share their interest.

Also, special thanks to CNW Group, who have stepped up to the plate in Montréal, as they already have in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver, to sponsor the hard costs of staging these events. Thanks to CNW Group, the organizers are able to focus on providing the best possible event at no charge to participants.

So, here’s wishing the organizers and participants a successful first 3e Mardi / Third Tuesday Montréal and many more to follow.

Wanted: One Top Web Developer

76design76design, our Web design and development firm, has been booming. And we really need to bolster our team of developers – quickly.

So, if you are a great developer who is looking for a chance to do interesting and challenging work in an environment that provides growth opportunities, click over to 76design’s Web Developer Wanted post and let us know that you’d be interested in joining us.

Ottawa technology sector uses social media platform for promotion

Here’s another case study in the making: a business group attempting to use social media for promotion and marketing.

At the height of the dot com boom, the Ottawa technology sector styled itself as Silicon Valley North. In fact, the technology sector was powered by industry leaders like Nortel, JDS Uniphase, Entrust and Cognos and the startups that grew up around them.

All that changed in a short period of time. The Ottawa industry was hit hard by the drop in demand for telecom and Internet gear. Tech companies fell on hard times, laying off employees, pulling out of the region or simply closing their doors.

Well, the region’s technology sector has slowly clawed its way back up from the depths. And now the tech sector’s business 82000reasons.comassociation, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) wants to spread the good news about the region’s resurgence.

OCRI has launched 82000 Reasons.com to proclaim to the world that the region’s tech sector has survived the telecom implosion, has reestablished itself on solid footing and is growing again. The site’s name alludes to the fact that there are now more than 82,000 people employed in Ottawa’s tech sector.

I found out about the site through a news release that arrived in my feedreader via an RSS feed from MarketWire. (Yes, news releases continue to be an effective way to reach people with an interest in your subject area.)

OCRI’s release says that 82000reasons:

“gives tech employees and companies an RSS, blog and viral video platform to share their successes with a global audience.”

“In the era of user generated content, every one of Ottawa’s technology success stories can be told, tagged and distributed online to a global audience,” says [Michael Darch, Executive Director of Ottawa Global Marketing]. “82000reasons.com leverages our greatest asset, our people, to tell the ‘Why Ottawa?’ story. They are better qualified than anyone to describe Ottawa’s lifestyle and technology strengths so we can attract the people and investment dollars we need to fuel our growth.”

OCRI is promoting participation through a contest offering Ottawa-Frankfurt air tickets to the best contributions and through by “banner ads on Facebook, plus local print, banner ad and radio advertising.”

Conspicuously absent in the list of promotional initiatives is any type of blogger outreach. That’s a real missed opportunity for an initiative that presents itself in social media terms.

The site has just launched. So, it’s too early to judge participation. I’ll follow its progress and try to arrange an interview with Mike Dartch in about a month to talk about the site’s objectives and how it is performing.

UPDATE: Media in Canada also has covered the launch of 82000Reasons

What education are PR firms looking for in new recruits?

Kerri Birtch poses the question on the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms Weblog, “What level of of education is necessary or valued in the PR industry?”

Personally, I look for people who have at least an Honours BA. If the candidate possesses a graduate degree, I’ll spend extra time talking with her about her studies and what she drew from the experience of gaining a graduate degree. What I am looking for in this is the “extra spark” of insight, self awareness and maturity of thought.

How about a PR certificate? This can give an edge to one of two otherwise equal candidates because it gives me some assurance that the entry level prospect has been exposed to the mechanics of PR.

But more than anything, I’m looking for analytic and problem solving skills. PR consultants s must be able to listen to our clients, draw out relevant facts and assemble them in a coherent assessment and proposed solution. The outstanding consultant will draw on a set of PR tools. But she will also not be restricted by them. She will have a broader exposure to communication, sociology, and business that will enable her to find an effective solution to a problem.

That’s what I look for. How about you? What do you look for in a new hire for a public relations job?

Using social media to help City government connect with citizens

Government has been much slower than business to adopt social media tools and practices.

Ottawa CanadaNow, the Mayor of Ottawa is aiming to make Canada’s capital city’s government a model for e-government by embracing and adopting Web 2.0 technologies. To help him do this, Mayor Larry O’Brien established a Mayor’s Task Force on eGovernment, chaired by Rob Collins, a former CIO of Business Intelligence software company Cognos.

Before entering politics, Mayor O’Brien was a high tech entrepreneur and founder and former CEO of Calian. So, he knows technology and should have a sophisticated understanding of its potential.

In announcing Rob Collins’ appointment, Mayor O’Brien said,

Our community is a global technology hub, and our citizens expect more service online.

We will take advantage of new Internet technologies, such as Web 2.0. We will move beyond simply publishing information online and begin to interact online with the public we serve.

That screams social media to me. RSS feeds to enable citizens to subscribe to information by neighbourhood or topics that mean the most to them. Blogs from city departments offering information and updates about programs and the opportunity for people to provide feedback. Flickr photos and youTube videos of important meetings, proposed developments and plans and major announcements. And maybe even Twitter feeds from important departments like snow clearing, electricity services, police and fire that tell people what is happening at times of emergency.

Unfortunately, the task force’s written mandate, released weeks after the Mayor’s announcement, seems to provide the committee a fairly narrow scope. The detailed mandate that has been posted on the City of Ottawa’s Website states that the task forces will:

  • Review available IT options;
  • Review requirements and opportunities for all areas of the city and assess an appropriate role for information technology;
  • Solicit input from internal IT providers and users;
  • Examine the City of Ottawa’s current Information Technology Plan and all current or proposed projects;
  • Make recommendations (short-, medium-, and long-term) for development of an information technology plan that improves interaction with the public while increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of city operations.

Where are the citizens in these terms of reference? It appears that the consultations will be entirely inward looking, dealing with internal IT providers (vendors?) and users.

I hope that I’ve missread the terms and that the Task Force does intend to consult citizens on how they would like to connect with their government online. It would be a pity if they missed this opportunity.

To help encourage this, I’m inviting Rob Collins to be our guest at a special Third Tuesday social media meetup. This would provide him with an opportunity to gather ideas and input from the people in Ottawa who are exploring and using social media. I hope he accepts this invitation.

What topics would you like to have covered in a presentation on social media?

IABCI’ve been invited to talk about social media at a Professional Development session sponsored by the IABC Grand Valley chapter.

I’ve provided the organizers with this statement as a starting point for the discussion:

Social media is bringing about a revolution in public relations and organizational communication

The hard fact: To remain relevant and viable, PR must transform itself into a discipline that becomes part of communities and understands the values and mores of those communities

The good news: Our focus on earned media has taught us to focus on the interests and needs of the other party. So, unlike advertising, which focuses on amassing eyeballs and demanding attention, we are well situated to take advantage of this opportunity.

That’s just the starting point. The best discussions occur when the speaker addresses the questions that people really want to discuss (not just those about which he likes to spout off.)

What are the issues and topics that you’d like me to cover in this session?

If you plan to attend the session, leave a comment to let me know what you’re interested in discussing. I’ll tailor the session to your interests.