Published in the June 18, 2013 issue of The Edmonton Sun.
Linda’s social media column can be found every Tuesday in the Edmonton Sun.
Stand Up for Edmonton conference
“Edmonton’s post-secondary institutions have the potential to be amongst the best in the world.”
Those words, uttered by Mayor Stephen Mandel at his State of the City address in April, were one of the driving forces behind 21-year-old Emerson Csorba’s idea for a campaign called Stand Up for Edmonton.
Stand Up for Edmonton is a one-day conference described as a “critical discussion” for the city.
On Saturday, business leaders, non-profits, students, faculty and other high profile Edmontonians will come together to discuss the University of Alberta’s contributions to the city and ways to make even more social, economic and cultural contributions in the years to come.
“It’s meant to be an aspirational, big ideas discussion about different possibilities, different opportunities, that the U of A has in the community in the decade to come,” Csorba says.
“Ideally, people will leave with their own ideas about how they can leverage the University of Alberta in whatever projects they’re working on.”
Stand Up for Edmonton is one of a number of grassroots campaigns recently organized by those concerned about provincial budget cuts to higher education in Alberta and it’s one of many new campaigns getting word of mouth out through social media.
“Social media is a great way to get the word out across Edmonton while keeping costs low,” Csorba says.
“It’s come together quickly and social media is a great way to get the word across in a short amount of time.”
Campaigns organized mainly via social media channels have become the norm for many initiatives.
“People have been self-organizing for hundreds of years, however in today’s digital ecosystem, technology enables self-organizing to happen faster and with more people than ever before,” says social media consultant Walter Schwabe.
Schwabe says how effective the online campaign is depends on how important the cause.
“Just because you have active social profiles doesn’t mean you’ll be successful in creating a huge crowd,” he says, adding that building a rapport with the community, finding a small group of supporters and being clear and consistent with messaging can be key to effectively using social media to organize successful campaigns.
Stand Up for Edmonton is hitting all those points — especially when it comes to a cause worth talking about.
“Higher education is something that the province as a whole needs to discuss and it’s a conversation that is larger than just the post-secondary institutions themselves,” Csorba says.
“We need all different community members talking about post-secondary education and this is one step towards making that a reality.”
To reserve your free ticket for the event, head to www.strikingly.com/standupforyeg.
You can also follow the discussion online through the #standupyeg hashtag on Twitter.