I just had a conversation with my old boss Joe Thornley about how excited I and a few others on the Edelman Toronto team are about the upcoming Third Tuesday Toronto event with Ontario’s Ombudsman Andre Marin.
Joe suggested I blog about the event; I thought I’d go one better and give you five reasons why, if you’re in Toronto on June 21, you should go to this event.
1. Get the perspective of an early public sector adopter of social media
I remember a couple of years ago, when Marin first discovered social media through a member of his communications staff. For a while, his Twitter account (@Ont_Ombudsman) was (transparently) manned by a member of his staff, with occasional appearances from the man himself, but over time he grew more and more involved to the point where it’s now the reverse.
Marin was one of the first officials in the Canadian public sector to use social media to engage in a real dialogue with citizens. I know from experience – at one point I challenged him via Twitter on a point he made about one of his reports, and he came back with a clear, well-stated position on the matter. He’s also known for being the person who engaged in a public battle, conducted in no small part in online channels, with the governing Liberal party when it looked like he might not be renewed for a second term in his position.
2. Learn more about open government
Marin’s current focus is the idea of open government – that, in the words of Wikipedia, “citizens have the right to access to the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight.” Having worked closely with the Freedom of Information Coordinator of the Ontario government’s Cabinet Office for several years, I know that there’s a fascinating debate to be had in this area, and one on which I can’t wait to hear Marin’s views.
3. Shine a spotlight on a little-understood position
Let’s face it, most people have absolutely no idea what the Ontario Ombudsman does. It’s one of the reasons I was so thrilled to see Marin begin to use social media – it put a face, a personality and some clarity on what, to many people, is a little-understood role. This is a great opportunity to hear more from the horse’s mouth.
4. Networking “R” Us
One of the great aspects of the Third Tuesday event, beyond the speakers themselves, is the opportunity to meet and get to know a wide variety of people in the industry – from startup, to corporate, to agency, to public sector, to non-profit. They’re all there, and it’s a great chance to get to know new folks.
5. It’s ten bucks
Ten bucks? Are you kidding me? I spend that much on breakfast most days. For that, you get to hear someone who is using new technologies in new ways and who is taking an interesting stance on important issues, and to meet and chat with a bunch of interesting folks. Do yourself a favour – skip the McMuffin or the latte for a day, and check it out.
See you there?
So there you have it. Five reasons why, if you can make it, you should be at Third Tuesday Toronto on June 21.
See you there?