From Twitter hashtags to newspaper articles, the CCSTA Catholic Education: A National Conversation conference became an online buzz both during and after the conference.
“With nearly 300 people travelling across Canada to attend this year’s conference, we wanted to use that attention to our advantage,” explains CCSTA President Ted Paszek.
When delegates arrived at the conference in Ottawa this past October, they were greeted at the registration table by a sign that simply read #ccsta.
That’s when the online conversation started. Using their smartphones and the #ccsta hashtag, conference delegates as well as one keynote speaker provided up-to-the-minute Twitter updates about the messages received and their conference impressions.
And CCSTA was listening. The Twitter posts using the #ccsta hashtag were instantaneously posted to the projector screen in the Marriott Hotel conference room, showcasing what some of the delegates took from the conference.
“Not only did we ignite conversation at the conference, we also ignited online dialogue,” explains Mr. Paszek. “We wanted the delegates to know their voice is important; so we encouraged delegates to express their opinions and the projector allowed CCSTA to share these messages, which showed just how much we were listening. We got immediate feedback and we gave immediate feedback.”
In the News: CCSTA conference earns newspaper coverage
Journalist Deborah Gyapong also attended the CCSTA conference. She has worked in print, radio and television for two decades and currently covers religion and politics primarily for Catholic and Evangelical newspapers.
Her CCSTA conference stories were picked up by popular Catholic publications including the Catholic Register and the BC Catholic newspapers. The Catholic Register ran her piece on Fr. James Mallon’s keynote address while the BC Catholic published her Sr. Maureen Sullivan coverage.
The articles put the CCSTA’s conference in the spotlight both to the newspapers’ readership and among the social media network. The Catholic Register’s story alone received more than 200 Facebook Recommendations.
“This year we really saw just how effective social media conversations and online coverage can do to help spread the message about Catholic education in Canada and, more specifically, what we do at CCSTA,” says Executive Director John Stunt, who adds the online presence will encourage conference attendees to go home and further reflect on the messages given during the three-day event.
“The best way to spread the conference message is word of mouth. If we can now accomplish this both from personal conversations as well as the discussions taking place online, we’ve accomplished what we’ve been striving to do for our conference attendees: to inspire conversations, reflections and an overall understanding that we’re disciples of our faith and leaders in our Catholic schools.”