Social Media in Government Conference, Toronto, Jan 31-Feb 3

I’m looking forward to meeting people who have rolled up their sleeves and introduced social media to government when I chair the Conference on Social Media for Government in Toronto at the end of January.

The Advanced Learning Institute (ALI) organizes several social media conferences each year in locations across the United States and Canada. I try to participate in as many as I can manage. I think the ALI organizers run a great conference. Kelly Werwie, the producer of this conference, works hard to curate the content, bringing together the smartest speakers she can find to cover the emerging and enduring issues. Speakers offer both experience and insight. On top of this, the conference also offers many opportunities for participants to spend time with the speakers as well as one another. It’s definitely a conference you come away from with both new contacts and useful information.

I’ll be speaking twice during the conference. On the second morning of the main conference, Pierre Killeen and I will talk about the using social media for public engagement. Then, on the final day of the conference, I’ll participate with my colleagues Mike Edgell and Eric Portelance in delivering a workshop on producing and integrating video into your social media.

If you have training budget available and are looking for a top-notch learning experience, I encourage you to take a look at the full agenda of the social media in government conference and to consider attending. If you do attend, I hope you’ll take the time to introduce yourself to me and let me know what you think of conference.

A great learning experience to start the year.

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.

A chance for two students to attend the Social Media for Government Conference

I’d like to offer two students a chance to attend the Social Media for Government conference being organized by the Advanced Learning Institute (ALI) in Ottawa March 2-3.

What you’ll hear

The conference will feature a strong lineup of speakers presenting case studies of how government has used social media – both internally and externally. Sessions and presenting organizations will include:

  • Engaging your employees before you engage the public, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada;
  • Using social media to build relationships and reduce crime, Toronto Police Services;
  • Developing a collaborative network in a hierarchical organization, Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre;
  • Social Media And Government Communications: Using social media to communicate and engage the public while complying with government policies and laws, Government of Canada’s Community Communications Office;
  • Making the business case for social media, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation;
  • Social media strategy rules of engagement and evaluation metrics, Human Resources and Skills Development;
  • Using social media to address the needs of a diverse audience, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care;
  • Using Facebook and Twitter to communicate in an ever-changing communications environment, Genome Alberta;
  • Strategy before tactics, Public Safety Canada;
  • Expanding your social media network while staying within your agency’s guidelines, standards and policies, Parks Canada;
  • Using social media on both sides of the firewall, Canadian Tourism Commission;
  • Social networking  to create a more agile and responsive organization, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency;
  • New web analytics for a new wave of social media, City of Ottawa;
  • Using social media to foster innovation and drive change in a large organization, Royal Bank of Canada (Yes, not a government organization. But a very large organization exploring the use of social media.)

I’ll be chairing the conference and presenting a workshop on the day before it opens.

How you can attend

As I was preparing, it occurred to me that this conference would be a wonderful learning experience for a student interested in social media, communications, political science or journalism. But the registration probably puts it out of reach of all but the wealthiest students.

So … I bought a couple tickets to the conference and I’d like to give them to two students who will benefit from the sessions.

Interested in attending? Here’s how you can get one of these tickets.

Leave a comment below or write a post on your own blog explaining how this learning experience would fit in with your academic studies.

I’ll read the comments and posts and offer the tickets to the two students who I think make the best case. Simple.

So, if you’re a post-secondary student and you’d like to attend, tell me why. Also, if you know a student who you think could benefit from this opportunity, please point out this post to them.

I’ll select the winning students at 5PM Feb. 25 and contact them that evening.

Social Media for Government Conference in Ottawa

ALISocialMediaforGovernment 090803

Here’s a conference that I’m looking forward to: Social Media for Government, September 29 – October 2 in Ottawa.

I’ve participated in the Advanced Learning Institute’s (ALI) social media conferences for the past two years. And I’ve found that each one is better than the previous one.

The conference producer, Kelly Flynn, listens closely to the conference participants – what they want to learn, which sessions they find most useful, which speakers have the most to offer.  And she uses what she gleans to ensure that each conference session reflects the state of the art and the interests of participants.

This autumn, the conference will be packed with expert speakers presenting best practices and experienced managers talking about the social media programs they have implemented and what they have learned from that experience.

Speakers and topics include:

  • Colin McKay from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner speaking about how organizations must tailor their voices and content to different social media;
  • Nicholas Charney from Indian Affairs and Northern Development talking about the importance of introducing employees to social media behind the firewall before setting them loose in the wild;
  • Ralph Mercer of the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre describing the change process a hierarchical organization organization goes through in order to adopt social media to its needs;
  • Jean-Simon Marquis from the Canada School of Public Service on using social media to leverage communities of practice for knowledge sharing inside and organization;
  • Chantal Wolf and Jennifer Savage explain how the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is using a Wiki and Lotus Connections to build organizational knowledge and how they are measuring ROI;
  • Adrian Cloete and Tracie Noftle describing how Human Resources and Skills Development Canada developed a “corrective blogging” approach;
  • Theresa Woolridge and Amy Jarrette mapping out the social media planning process used by Public Safety Canada;
  • Mike Spear tells how Genome Alberta has build its social media strategy on Facebook and Twitter;
  • Mark Hudson and Marquis Cote share how the Public Health Agency of Canada  used social media to respond to the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak;
  • Chris Wightman and Mark Faul discuss how they are making a business case for social media in the City of Ottawa and measuring the ROI of their social media activities;
  • Michel Savoie and Tim Yull on how RBC, Canada’s largest financial institution, has used social media for drive information sharing and innovation.

It’s a real pleasure to be chairing this edition of the A.L.I. “Social Media for Government Conference” in Ottawa on September 29 – October 2, 2009. I hope you’ll join me at this outstanding opportunity to meet, mix with and learn from some of the leading practitioners of social media for government.

If you’d like more information, download the conference brochure. Or if you’ve already made up your mind to attend, you can register online. (Register this week to get the Early Bird registration rate, discounted $400 off the regular registration fee.)

UPDATE: GET 50% OFF THE REGISTRATION FEE. @kellyflynn just DMed me to let me know that you can get a 50% discount off the conference registration fee if you mention my name when you register. I guess being the Chair of the conference does have some benefits. 🙂 And no, I don’t get any money from this. Just the pleasure of participating in a successful conference full of passionate people who want to learn about social media.

Follow the ALI Conference on Social Media for Government on Twitter


I’m chairing the Social Media for Government Conference in Ottawa today and tomorrow. (Hashtag: #ALI)

The conference is organized by the Advanced Learning Institute (ALI). They’ve lined up a strong lineup of presenters. Today’s speakers include: the Government of Canada’s Deputy Chief  Technology Officer, Jeff Braybrook and Thomas Kearney, Treasury Board’s Director of Enterprise Architecture, Mark Faul and Chris Wightman from the City of Ottawa, Jennifer Bell from, Colin McKay from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and Jack Holt from the U.S. Department of Defence.

I’ll be urging the conference participants to post their impressions and thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #ALI. If you’re interested in what’s being said about social media and government in Ottawa, please feel free to follow along. And if you have thoughts about what is being said, we’d welcome you to contribute your ideas to the Twitter stream.

And if you want more info on the conference, Mark Faul from the City of Ottawa set up an event blog for the Social Media for Government Conference. Hopefully, there’ll be more good content posted there during and after the conference.

So, you don’t have to be in the room to participate in the conference. I hope that you’ll join us through social media.