Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Notes from the (Ryerson) EWO Conference

Beautiful days to be in's warm and sunny and we can get out in the amazing green spaces that dot the Ryerson campus.

Our morning began with a talk from Kelly Johnson, a social media trainer from London, who spoke about the various social media and dashboards that integrate them. A strong takeaway was that you "must understand your audience". There are various ways to participate and no right way to participate, but some are better than others for different intended outcomes.

Whether you're a lurker or a keener in any one of them, being familiar with them can't hurt. Creating a temporary presence or identity before you commit fully will allow you to familiarize yourself before you make a big commitment...and it is a commitment, of time and energy and creativity.

So identify your target audience, establish your brand, set up 2 or 3 tools, and start increasing traffic through word-of-mouth and through maintaining and developing client promotions.

With regard to Facebook, it is definitely a social space first, but with the addition of a new module called BranchOut, they're attempting to play where LinkedIn is staked out. That being the case, Facebook can be a more friendly way to ask someone to connect with you on LinkedIn. Several watchouts with your privacy settings. They can change without notice as Facebook evolves new functionalities.

Two further ideas to ponder: one, you don't "pay" to play with these tools, you play to play. It takes that kind of energy and approach. And second, there are "dashboard" tools like Spredfast,
which allows simultaneous monitoring of all of the tools AND you can have multiple people accessing the same, corporate sites.

Twitter wasn't discussed too thoroughly...but clearly is big on the user/adoption front. Hey, we've even secured a posting through Twitter.

Richard Wiggers, the Director of HEQCO (dot ca), spoke to us about some research underway relative to students, experiential work, and their intersection points.

Just some of the many, many nuggets he offered (see the full report, which will be available


  • high school students are taking fewer and fewer part-time jobs and this is negatively impacting their "experience" quotient...which presents future concerns for practitioners and employers.

  • 64% of upcoming grads (baccalaureate) anticipate going for further credentials...perhaps (?) because they aren't confident of their employment potential (most especially if they have not had chances in work-integrated learning (WIL)). Unfortunately, without relevant experience, this may improve their employability.

  • 78% of students in WIL cite the EXPERIENCE as the main driver in making this choice, not PAY!

  • It sounds like a good read...Intern Nation, by Ross it reveals tidbits like the 10s of 1000s of student/interns who work illegally in the U.S., because it's become the new norm. Part of that new norm comes about because Co-op can't deliver all of the students that would satisfy the demand. Part of that is attributed to erosion of faculty support and funding to Co-op. And now, the result, which is that 29% of Co-op opportunities in the U.S. are unpaid. Let's not let that happen in Canada.

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