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A few updates and learnings

This last month of October has been quite eventful for me in terms of work and travel. Some of the organizations I was privileged to work with on various elements of strategic digital engagement include:

  • Treasury Board
  • City of Hamilton
  • Canada Health Infoway
  • Baycrest
  • Ministry of Natural Resources (Ontario)
  • Government of Manitoba
  • Government of Alberta
  • Government of Saskatchewan

A few things I learned last month:

  • Mobile is finally creeping onto the radars of senior management. I know it may not seem like it to most public servants, however there are plenty of initiatives currently underway that should be launching over the course of the next year. To date, the largest list of mobile initiatives I have managed to collaboratively compile within the Canadian Government can be found on
  • Typically over 90% of my workshop participants are completely freaked out by the concept of Location Based Services. Especially those in marketing and/or communications jobs. I find their reactions similar to those that I was getting when I was explaining Facebook to people 4 years ago. Now most of them are active members.
  • GCpedia is still completely off the radar of the typical public servant in Canada. One thing I am hearing over and over again is that it should be as easy to use as Google Docs for widespread adoption
  • The Government of South Australia has published a fabulous Social Media Policy document, which is quickly spreading around the globe and being used as a template.
  • Learned a bit more about Ushahidi, an incredible crowdsourcing platform used to empower people with mobile devices living in troubled and/or developing nations. Be sure to watch the explanatory video. I’m very much looking forward to learning more about these initiatives during my stay in Tanzania this coming February.
  • WordPress 3.0 is an incredible alternative to expensive website Content Management Systems. Far too many small non-profit organizations out there are getting hosed. Both this blog and our new CEPSM website were developed on this platform.
  • Malaysia has taken the crown as the world’s most active country on Facebook. Can’t wait to go back this December.
  • Twitter is now serving 1 billion queries each day and averages 1000 tweets every second
  • I’ve noticed that three phrases I often use in my speaking engagements are beginning to get some uptake:
    • “Social media is kind of like word of mouth on steroids”
    • “Twitter is the world’s largest real-time conversation database”
    • “Microblogging is the modern CB-radio, except it’s open to the public and highly searchable”
  • I am noticing a tremendous amount of initiatives are being halted for completely unnecessary reasons stemming from poor explanations to senior management (e.g. sending an introverted techie to explain what is social media). It is extremely important to always make sure that whoever is trying to “sell” the necessity for social media engagement internally is a competent communicator who understands the needs & concerns of his/her audience.
  • Limewire has been forced to shut down after a 4 year legal battle. I wonder if they will keep withdrawing my “Limewire Pro” fee every month to pay for their lawyers.
  • The iPad is everywhere. Through my speaking I interact with hundreds of people each week and I can’t believe how many iPads I’m seeing all over the place among non-techie audiences
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  1. Anne Taylor

    Hello Mike,

    I’ve just come upon your site and have found useful things already. I’m doing a research project on the use of social media by vulnerable populations (Aboriginal, new immigrants, seniors, homeless, and the disabled). Is social media helping in the inclusion of these groups? There seems to be a dearth of studies in this area. If you can point me to anything, I’d appreciate it. I’ll follow you from now on.


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