Tag Archives: social media

Today’s The Day: Fort McMurray Rocks The Vote!

(I fully rip apart all sense of impartiality today and endorse certain candidates, read on for the exciting, biased details!)

Your community. Your vote. RMWB Election 2010 If you’ve been living under a rock (or, to be fair, out at a work-camp) then you may not have seen all the signs and know that today is Election Day here in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. And that’s ok, because there’s still time for you to get out and rock the vote. (voting info here)

Today is the day when residents of our region can make their voices heard and elect a mayor and council that they think will be the best representatives for our region. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will be the best council elected in recent memory.

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CEMA Online – A Social Website?

CEMA Logo - property of CEMA

property of CEMA

On the 5th of August, the Cumulative Environmental Management Association released a new website – http://cemaonline.ca.

What’s CEMA you say? Well, their mission statement says:

“CEMA is a multi-stakeholder society that is a key advisor to the provincial and federal governments committed to respectful, inclusive dialogue to make recommendations to manage the cumulative environmental effects of regional development on air, land, water and biodiversity.”

After the website announcement, a few tweets flitted back and forth amongst the oil sands tribe, and then the very next day, Carol Christian of the Fort McMurray Today published an article entitled “Environmental agency embraces social media”.

Oil sands plus social media? You have my attention.

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Top Ten to Follow on Twitter for #OilSands Info

an mos top tenContinuing the Twitter theme started by yesterday’s post, here are, in alphabetical order, the Top Ten people/groups I feel have a strong voice within the oil sands discussion on Twitter.

In the list below, you’ll find a wide range of differing opinions on oil sands development (which is a good thing), as well as great sources for oil sands related news.

These folks (and a few more) can be found on my oil sands‘ Oil Sands Info list.

The Top Ten

  1. @DanWoy – Dan Woynillowicz. Twitter bio: Dan is the Director of Strategy for the Pembina Institute, a Canadian sustainable energy think tank.
  2. @DSandsGovAB – David Sands. Twitter bio: David Sands is a spokesman and blogger for the Government of Alberta.
  3. @FortMacToday – Fort McMurray Today. Local newspaper. (no Twitter bio)
  4. @Jon_Tupper – Jon Tupper. Twitter bio: 30 something Fort McMurray guy who loves it up north and tries to make a difference in the community.
  5. @KyleHarrietha – Kyle Harrietha. Twitter bio: a long time #LPC activist and former #HoC political staffer currently working for the Cumulative Environmental Management Association in the #oilsands.
  6. @OilsandsEditor – Deborah Jaremko. Twitter bio: Editor of Oilsands Review, the Unconventional Oil Authority.
  7. @pembina – Pembina Institute. Twitter bio: News and updates from the Pembina Institute, a Canadian non-profit think tank advancing innovative sustainable energy solutions.
  8. @StacyRichterDMD – Stacey Richter. Twitter bio: Ready to revolutionize bureaucracy through positive and lasting change.
  9. @tarsandsnews – Mr Cerulean. (no Twitter bio)
  10. @WhenIts40Below – Lyle Mozak. Twitter bio: Entrepreneur, builds websites, seeks new technology, plays hockey, collects toys, helps others, movie buff, popcorn, PTL.

Feel as though someone else should have made the Top Ten? Post a comment below or tweet me!

New Kid On The Block – Alberta Is Energy

Alberta Is Energy logo, courtesy of AlbertaIsEnergy.ca

property of AlbertaIsEnergy.ca

You know what? This post was originally going to break down the new Alberta is Energy website… I was going to go through the site and comment on all the sections, what this particular area had to offer, what this one says… But I took a look at all of my notes and stopped. I stopped because I was, on the whole, disappointed.

Instead, I have provided a screencast of the site which you can find at the bottom of this post.

It’s My Own Fault

But perhaps I have no one to blame but myself. Maybe I am not the audience Alberta is Energy is trying to reach… when I took all of 10.3 seconds to quickly see the site on the 6th, I saw three things:

  1. A flashy site with lots of smiling people
  2. A green “Energy” within the site logo
  3. Social media buttons (Facebook and Twitter etc.)

In my mind I had built up my vision of what this site would (or should) be. And, when I started digging around, I found I was wrong.

What It Is

Alberta Is Energy web site

screen shot

AlbertaIsEnergy.ca is a brand new online resource (launched on April 6th, 2010) brought to us by a collection of energy industry partners and does not appear to be directly supported by the Alberta government.

It seems to be a place for people to come and see how amazing energy in Alberta is. To see how the economy in Alberta is reliant on energy, to see how many people make their living through energy and to see how many spinoff industries are supported by energy.

It is also set up to be a forum where we Albertans (and presumably others) can discuss how much we love our province and the impact that energy has on us.

I agree with all of the above.

What It Isn’t

It isn’t a response to our biggest critics. It doesn’t address responsible energy development. It doesn’t try to bring a balanced point of view on the oil sands, an industry that has been described as “the most destructive project on earth.” There’s an Action Centre, but I’m not sure what “action” I’m supposed to take… Based on the content of this site, am I supposed to take action against all those who think Alberta is *not* about energy? I don’t think there are many people out there who would argue.

(perhaps it shouldn’t be a response to our critics at all… there are other industry-driven attempts to put the record straight out there after all.)

It isn’t a platform for open dialogue. There is an attempt to embed social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, and there is a forum for you to see “what other Albertans have to say about their province and their sector. This is the place to discuss our past and present, and shape our future.” But I’m not sure how effective these attempts will be.

A Public Sphere – Sign Up, But Be Careful What You Say

Let’s look at the forum first, an area that I have a few questions about. The first question, why do I have to create an account to post – why can I not use my Twitter or Facebook account to sign in? Social media sites have bent over backwards with publicly available APIs to allow easy posting across the web.

Make it easy and people will be more likely to post. Who wants to remember another username and password? Another benefit for this is that whenever I post to AlbertaIsEnergy.ca under @MyOilSands, I automatically tweet about the post and potentially drive my followers to the site. That’s a good thing. (The service MusicHy.pe has embraced this method – just see how easy it is to sign in to their site.)

Another question I have revolves around the 551 words within the Terms and Conditions of the forum. I can fully understand why the lawyers made an argument for such an agreement, and I can also understand that industry execs are scared to do anything without their lawyers, but it does nothing to encourage open dialogue. Something like this will scare off many digital enthusiasts to other communities that rely on self-regulation for control. If the goal is to have frank discussions… well, it’s not going to happen here.

There’s a lot of language in the T&C that are scary enough, take a read if you’d like, but one that jumps out at me is this: “…otherwise in violation of any International or United States Federal law.” What about Canadian law? Don’t we rate at least a mention? (there’s probably a reason – like the forum software/service is actually based out of the States etc. and the T&C are taken from their service. But that’s just a shot in the dark.)

Social Media

Social Media Watercolours - courtesy of mfinleydesigns

courtesy of mfinleydesigns

There’s an attempt to embrace social media here, and I love it. I do.

I love the idea of industry engaging in two-way communications with the public. This is what we need. However, the site and its respective social media cousins are new and are missing content. I’m positive the folks behind the scenes will no doubt be making improvements to their Facebook and Twitter accounts (like adding a URL to their @AlbertaIsEnergy account). But, as mentioned before, they should completely integrate social media into the login/forum process for it to be effective.

There’s a YouTube account linked to the site, with one lonely video of a pumpjack. Alas, the expensive-looking “Alberta is Energy” video in the Video Centre is not on YouTube, so I can’t comment on or rate the video. I would love to be able to point out how many Fort Mac shots there were in the clip (Sawridge, OSDC, Shell on Franklin/Hardin etc.)… so I’m looking forward to accessing and interacting with more content in the future.

(Here’s nice little article from Fast Company regarding, “The Five P’s of Social Media–Where Do You Start?”, which gives a rundown on effectively using social media.)

It’s Not Easy Being (Orange &) Green

And what do I think of the colour scheme used on the site? Well, aside from thinking NDP, the use of green in the logo and throughout the site is an interesting choice. I love both colours, orange and green are great, and I can see why they chose them.

The sprinkles of green though… well, lot’s of organizations are jumping on using green in their advertising and public relations campaigns. Is it greenwashing? Not sure. Would I feel better if there was more information of responsible energy practices in Alberta? Yes. Perhaps they have such information (like water use and reclamation) waiting in the wings – the site has after all, only been active for less than a week.

So What Was I Expecting?

Dirty Oil - courtesy of ItzaFineDay

courtesy of ItzaFineDay

Let me make one thing clear: both industry and government have lost control of Alberta’s brand – particularly around the energy sector (read: tar sands). Opponents to the oil sands have done an effective job at getting their message across to the world. And their message? It’s simple and clear: oil sands = dirty oil.

As production and income levels from the oil sands continue to rise, so too does the reliance of Alberta’s economy on “unconventional oil”. A target on the oil sands is a target on Alberta.

This is the message we need to counter. And this is what I am still looking for.

Alberta Is Energy Screencast

Why oil sand web sites need to support Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

Hey Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), I’m looking at you. You don’t use RSS. This is why you should. (what’s RSS?)


I am trying to effectively consume oil sands information from a variety of sources, and CAPP runs two sites I’m interested in:


I have been trying to build a social media cheat sheet using RSS feeds, but the problem is that CAPP does not seem to have embraced RSS.

So What?

Well, what this means is that organizations that do not have RSS feeds, like CAPP, are at a severe disadvantage when trying to get their message out. With no RSS, it means they are waiting for someone to just surf on by and read their information.

The web doesn’t work like that anymore.

Other folks like Greenpeace, the Pembina Institute, the Oil Sands Developers Group and the Government of Alberta get it – using RSS, they are able to get info out as fast as possible, to as many people as possible. Their news is going out to the readers rather than forcing the readers come to them. Make it as easy as possible to get your message out. RSS helps you do that.

Again, So What?

Well, it means that for those people who rely heavily on RSS feeds from multiple sources will never see CAPP-based info. Little Johnny could have all of the best intentions in the world to try and put together an informed opinion – learning from multiple different sources etc. – but he’ll never come across information from sites such as CAPP if he’s only using RSS. And that’s not good enough.

The message is simple. Any organization that is trying to compete in the world of instant communication needs to use all of the available tools. And in order to do that, they need to embrace RSS.

Articles About RSS/PostRank