What the Web Renewal Initiative (Canada.ca) is still missing

For those of you not familiar with what I am referring to, the Government of Canada (Goc) Web Renewal Initiative aims to streamline the GoC’s web presence through a single central website, Canada.ca .

What exactly does that mean?

Canada.ca features 15 user-centric themes based on the top information and tasks that visitors are looking for. The site is accessible and easy to use on any device. It offers a revamped and comprehensive media/news section with new features as well as an improved search function. Over a period of three years, approximately 1,500 individual websites will be brought together under Canada.ca to make it easier for Canadians to find information.” – Treasury Board Secretariat

Yes, you got that right, one portal website to serve as a starting point for all citizen needs that fall under federal jurisdiction.  This is by no means a new concept. Here it is fully implemented elsewhere across various jurisdictions:

Essentially the purpose here is to stop requiring Canadians to know what each department does, let alone the name of the department itself (especially in lieu of the constant name changes).

Instead, the aim is to shift the focus to the task they are trying to accomplish. In theory this is a great approach, however make no mistake, the work involved in the transition for the Government of Canada is tremendous and should not be underestimated.

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Updated social media definitions, categories, and top tools of 2016

I was recently asked by a client to update an informational section on their website that dealt with the basics of the current social media landscape. While reviewing some of the existing definitions and beginner resources on the web, I noticed that quite a few could use an update based on how rapidly the social space has evolved over the last few years alone. The following post is a slightly modified version of what I came up with. Continue reading

How to quickly identify popular hashtags for a specific event

Ever since the early days of Twitter hashtag use, major events had organic hashtag communities form around them (essentially back channel discussions). Over the years, as the use of Twitter grew among brands and organizations, the use of top-down branded hashtags became increasingly common. Fortunately, thanks to the confusion and audience dilution this led to (e.g. NBColympics, ABColympics, CocaColaOlympics, etc…) most major events still see a community grown hashtag emerge as the victor for the main discussion. Of course this now applies to nearly all industry related hashtags unless of course a particular organization or brand pioneered a specific topic.

For those of you that still find it hard to determine which hashtag to use to reach an audience following a specific event, I have created a short video tutorial demonstrating a free tool called Hashtagify.me , which allows you to do this. Enjoy.