Two students are on their way to the Social Media for Government Conference

Two students are on their way to the Social Media for Government Conference in Ottawa this week. I asked students to tell my why they would like to attend and how the conference subject matter fits with their studies and their interests. Melissa Loomans and Femi Fasoyinu earned the free tickets through their comments on my post.

I’ve also offered them an opportunity to guest post about their experience here on They’ve both accepted the invitation. So watch for these posts later this week or early next week.

Both Melissa and Femi persuaded me not only that they are interested in the conference content, but that they will put to good use what they learn there. Here’s what they said in their submissions.

Melissa Loomans

I am currently completing my last semester as an undergrad in Public Relations at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto.

A final thesis is required for graduation and the topic I have chosen focuses on the need for the Government of Canada to implement social media as a communication tool for relaying messages to citizens. A creative aspect of this thesis is creating a social media marketing plan outlining how social media (internal government tool and external tools) can be implimented into elements of the Youth Employment Strategy to help with promotion, FSWEP recruitment and public service renewal. Attending this event would allow for an understanding of how social media is already being implemented and the challenges these departments had to overcome or are facing.

I have spent the last three years working for Service Canada (formerly the HRSDC) where I have worked as a team lead on youth programs and assisted in client affairs. I’m currently completing a co-op term working as a Media Liaison Officer. A major project I am undertaking is promoting the use of internal social media / web 2.0 tools to supervisors and coordinators.

I am incredibly passionate about the public service and am interested in having the opportunity to speak with other government communicators and to network with them in an effort to learn more about what other branches of the government are responsible for and what they have to offer.

Femi Fasoyinu

I am a second-year public relations student at Algonquin College. I am very interested to see how online conversation is changing how businesses communicate and how the government is looking to get involved in this conversation.

As a young person in the government, I want to be at the forefront of this conversation. I want to understand how it is going to affect the relationship government has to the Canadians they serve.

Currently, I work for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in the Medical Expertise Division, CPP Appeals, and have done so for the last two years.

It has been a great experience working with doctors, adjudicators, lawyers, and other support staff in providing service to the thousands of Canadians whose disability has hindered them from the simple daily tasks we able bodied people take for granted.

The importance of social media in PR and communication is growing and will continue to grow. It allows us to touch different networks in speeds we haven’t thought possible before.

If I can bring the knowledge from this conference to my department, the communication processes for both the internal and external networks at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has the potential to be improved and be a greater benefit to all who are involved.

Internally, communication between support staff, doctors, adjudicators, and lawyers has the opportunity to be improved and so there are better relations between this diverse group.

Externally, the Canadians we serve will be able to receive the information that will impact their lives in ways that will be more convenient to them and more efficient to us in our department.

Well done Melissa and Femi. I’m looking forward to meeting you at the Social Media for Government Conference.