GTEC 2009: What attendees are saying on Twitter

Public sector employees from across Canada turned to Twitter on Tuesday to report on government use of Web 2.0, social networking and other collaborative tools at the annual GTEC conference in Ottawa.


From the moment Treasury Board Secretariat CIO Corinne Charette began her keynote speech to the final “mashup” session on IT strategies for better service delivery to citizens, the #GTEC hashtag was used liberally by attendees to discuss their impressions of the show. While some seemed to enjoy the focus on online initiatives, others seemed weary of the hype.

“Anyone who hates the term Web 2.0 would be in their own personal hell here at #gtec,” posted Caitlin Kealey (@caitlinkealey), a former communications manager with the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Overused words are collaboration, Web 2.0, gov 2.0, open, transparency but the winner is definitely mashup.”

Kelly Rusk (@krusk), manager of marketing and communities at MediaMiser, agreed.Sessions are interesting, but the word “mashup” is being way too overused,” she said in a Twitter posting.

J.T. Jarvis, another Twitter user who goes by the user name @eCynic, questioned the makeup of the GTEC audience this year. “The Feds think the audience is the Feds. The province thinks the audience is the Feds. Meanwhile, there’s munis everywhere. Hmmm,” he wrote, adding in another post that the event needed better organization. “I need augmented reality for this convention floor! Can’t find stuff. Agenda is very poorly designed! Missed WelcomeBC as a result.”

The most popular GTEC topics reported on Twitter included sessions about GCPedia and OSpedia, projects going on within at the federal level and within the province of Ontario, respectively, using wikis to collaborate and share information. Charette referred to GCpedia several times in her keynote speech, according to Twitter posters like Kealey, suggesting its rapid adoption highlights a move toward collaboration and is leading indicator of change within the government community.

“Charette calls out the inefficiency of e-mail-based document exchange vs. the efficient collaboration through #GCpedia,” tweeted Richard Ackerman (@scilib), technology architect and information security officer at NRC CISTI, Canada’s national science library and publisher.

OSpedia, meanwhile, has been in the testing stages for several months but David Tallon, manager of e-government and stewardship and Web for Ontario, said in a session that the service will be moving out of pilot to a formal, permanent enterprise 2.0 suite for provincial employees. According to Twitter posts from Peter Smith (@spaghetti_p), who works in electronic communications at Industry Canada, OSpedia status updates are being used as an informal Q&A tool by workers in various departments, which is saving the province considerable time and money. The goal now is to architect OSpedia so that it connects with a government-wide IM system that’s being developed in Ontario.

“Congratulations. It looks like you have a success on your hands,” Smith wrote in a Twitter post directed at Tallon.

Several Twitter users at GTEC also posted about a City of Ottawa plan to roll out Google Maps across its municipal Web site. The interactive traffic map will allow users to select any of the 110 traffic cameras and see live images pop up. The idea is to help residents avoid congestion, promote alternative transportation modes and offer public traffic data directly to citizens.

“Parking layer shows capacity in each lot, soon will tell you how full each lot is. Wow, real time win!” raved Smith in a Twitter post.

GTEC continues in Ottawa on Wednesday.  

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