Every month, the NetSquared Community comes together offline at Net Tuesday events around the world to mix, swap stories and ideas, build new relationships, and collaborate to help the local community. Our local organizers are volunteers dedicated to helping create local opportunities for learning, sharing and using technology to make a difference. In this Organizer Spotlight series we bring you interviews with organizers from around the world.
Celina Agaton was born and raised in Asia and studied studied psychology, equity studies and photography at the University of Toronto. In 2008, after nine years in marketing and advertising, she joined Volunteer Toronto, a government and United Way charity that helps people find great places to volunteer and supports 400 non-profits in Toronto. She speaks on social innovation and web 2.0 and has published articles in the Canadian Journal for Volunteer Resource Management. She developed a non-profit membership program that provides 21 benefits with community-friendly and sustainable organizations, and created Volunteer Toronto's Free Movie Night, a community partnership program that screens free social change films.
How do you spend your time when you're not organizing Net Tuesdays?
I'm working on some exciting projects with Don Tapscott and will be a panelist at the Social Tech Training for Net Change Week. I'm also excited to launch The Great Neighbourhood Food Drive, which is kind of like a food drive 2.0: part neighbourhood exploration, part food drive, part awareness campaign and part online media exhibit. All the tools will be free, replicable and scalable for other communities, so I can't wait to share that.
What inspired you to organize local Net Tuesday events in your community?
Wanting to spread the word on the awesome social tech community in Toronto.
What's the hardest part of the job?
We all seem to be launching several projects, so it's been very busy. Social tech's really taking off in Toronto, so it's exciting to be part of the gravitational force.
How do you measure the success of your events?
Whenever there is an opportunity to address misperceptions and fears around Web 2.0 and we see people get excited about trying new tools. And when we start running into people new to Web 2.0 at events and online, we love that!
Tell us about the best Net Tuesday event. What did you learn from the experience?
Our Twitter Talk Panel event featured Twitter leaders covering the the basics of Twitter. Then we had local Twitter leaders share their personal experiences and campaign strategies. We had a real cross-section of people attend the event, so the format helped provide both techies and non-techies with some realistic, practical insights on the power of Twitter.
What is the local social-web-tech scene like in Toronto?
Awesome! We've had 60 people show up to our meetups. And there are amazing events happening every week, so there's lots of ways to learn and connect.
How do you envision Net Tuesday events evolving over time?
I think we can start developing streams to accommodate different levels of interest and experience. It would be great to have more coordinated Net Tuesdays topics to share learning between our network of cities.
What's your change-the-world philosophy?
There are so many opportunities for cross-sector collaboration right now, so I try to create opportunities that provide a friendly space for different community groups to come together to collaborate and co-create. So far, this formula has produced fun, sustainable partnerships that don't require a lot of financial resources, so it's really exciting.
What music are you listening to now-a-days?
I love the Arts & Crafts label artists, so lots of Canadian content: Jason Collett, Feist, Phoenix. And I love moldy oldies on AM740.