Zegouv.ca: students involved in making federal government 2.0 more open

The Zegov team, from left to right: Daniel Brousseau, Jonathan Laurin, Joëlle Drouin, Andréane Drouin-Charette and Sophie Gaudreault. Photo by Alexandre Voyer.

It was in the course of her thesis on the Government of Canada’s use of social media that Joëlle Drouin, master’s student in communication at the University of Ottawa, had the idea of creating Zegov.ca.

“When I started off having trouble finding the information I needed for my research, I decided to compile an inventory of the Government of Canada’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and corporate blogs,” explained Joëlle, who is also a part-time civil servant. “After collecting all this information, I told myself I had to put it to use somehow.”

Zegov is a mashup website of dynamic and refreshing content that automatically compiles the information added to all these accounts and blogs. This site also represents a new option for Canadian citizens looking for information on federal government services.

“I knew that a system such as this would be useful to the public but would also become a work tool for civil servants involved in communications,” added Joëlle.

She admitted that putting Zegov online has been the crowning achievement of a long year of work that would have been quite difficult to accomplish without her four fellow team members. Thanks to the varied skill sets of the members of this small team, the project was not only completed but also took on unexpected proportions.

“Joëlle’s project has really taken off!” commented Andréane Drouin-Charette, also a master’s student in communication at the University and a member of the Zegov team. “I’m happy to have been involved. It’s a valuable experience for me because it’s given me an overall perspective on what’s happening at the federal government in terms of social media.”

Joëlle Drouin wants Zegov to continue growing in popularity and content while continuing to remain an advertising-free zone. In her opinion, the not-for-profit nature of the site will serve to encourage information sharing and the concept of “open government.” Statistical reports will also be produced monthly.

Zegov officially launched on March 1 at an evening event at the Brasseurs du temps with the families, friends, colleagues and professors of Joëlle and her team on hand to celebrate the culmination of their efforts.

“My thesis is one thing, Zegov is another,” concluded Joëlle, looking to the future. “It has really become a five-person project and will continue to grow.”

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If you know a student who has done something interesting and who would be willing to share his or her story with the University community, please contact Nadia Gervais, E-Communications Officer.

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