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.