Thursday, October 28, 2010

Social Media Process: Step 1

The idea of jumping into the game of social media, much less 'embracing' it, can be overwhelming to many. If we have thought this through, we realize it is going to/does take time, effort, and resources to participate in whatever platform(s) we decide to participate.

Each social media professional/enthusiast/guru/ninja (whatever we are calling ourself), has his or her own approach to social media. Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to walk you through my process. It is a five-step process which is cyclical in that, in order to be successful, we must contstantly continue and evolve it.

The first step in the fabulously festive "Laurie Boettcher Speaks Social Media Process" (isn't that a mouthful?) is Listen. To make the best use of our resources (time, energy, budget, and staff), we need to know where our audience is -  patrons, clients, members, stakeholders, whoever they are. Where are they? What social media platforms are they using? We want to be where they are. We can't say, "we want to be on Twitter" only to find out that there are only five of our patrons that use Twitter. Social media interaction and engagement is not about us. It's about them - our people.

I have uploaded an updated version of the 'Where Are You in Social Media' worksheet to Slideshare at www.slideshare.net/laurieboettcher under the Documents section. Print a couple out for your audience to complete. This allows us to make an educated and informed Decision.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Open the Dialogue

Cyberbullying and irresponsible use of social networking platforms have infiltrated our news for some time now. As I mentioned in the closing of Tuesday's post, we need to open the dialogue about social media.  

Just as tweens/teens do, we as parents make choices every day. We can make the choice to 'friend' our child on Facebook and then scold/shame them for the things they and their friends post or we can take a different approach. We can refrain from commenting online and use it as a listening tool. Not only does it allow us to see the character of children, but gives us insight in how to protect them by arming them with knowledge and decision-making skills.

Approach 1: "Your friend Stacy has been talking about running away. She is a bad influence. I don't want you hanging around with her anymore and I'm telling her mother."
Approach 2: "Stacy seems to be going through some rough times. Are you handling it okay? Do you want to talk about it?"
Handling it this way allows our tweens/teens to share how this is affecting them. Also, asking if Stacy has talked with her parents and evaluating that situation is crucial. Asking, "Do you think Stacy's parents should be concerned?" gives our children the opportunity to ask us to intervene and anonymously talk to her parents or even give them tools to help their friend talk to her parents.  

Approach 1: "Joey has been mean to you on Facebook. You can't be friends with him anymore."
Approach 2: "Joey has been saying some pretty hurtful things on Facebook. Is everything okay with you two? Let me know if you feel like he is crossing the line and want some help with your privacy settings."
Empowering our children with the ability to set boundaries and say enough is enough is a critical life skill. Also, validating them by acknowledging these are hurtful things being said about them, brings these comments into a new context.

We, as parents, know our children better than anyone else. We want to protect them from everything, but we cannot always do that. What we can do is arm them with knowledge and good decision-making skills. Social media and social networking tools is a good place to start.

If you are interested in learning more about cyberbullying, I highly recommend the book "Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying" by Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja of the Cyberbullying Research Center. Dr. Patchin, a cyberbullying expert and criminal justice professor at UW-Eau Claire, was recently featured in a CNN Anderson Cooper 360­°television special focusing on Cyberbullying.

Check out the book at your local library.

Connect with me on my web site at www.lbspeaksonline.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Millennials and Social Media

When I was in high school, we had typing and computer classes because these were seen as essential skills needed in the work world. As technology continues to evolve, we need to turn our efforts to educating our tweens, teens, and college students on using social media effectively and what it means to 'be social.'

For our Millennials, it is their reality that social media knowledge will be a highly sought after skill in any career they may pursue. It is also their reality that some of the highest paying and most desirable jobs have to do with social media including programmers, developers, project managers, bloggers, new media specialists, web engineers, content coordinators, digital marketing directors, community managers, and more.

These jobs were unheard of when I was in high school. The truth is that we are preparing our youth for these jobs and jobs that don't even exist yet. To give them an edge in a competitive workforce, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves in social media, so we can, in turn, educate our youth and open the dialogue to this new world.

Connect with me on my web site at www.lbspeaksonline.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Teaching How to 'Be Social'

Remember when e-mail first debuted? We made up our own rules as we went, used it how we chose, and tended to be a bit careless. Then, we learned e-mail etiquette and we were taught how to use e-mail appropriately - both for business and personal.

Social media is no different. It has its own language, its own culture, and its own etiquette. As Eric Qualman so eloquently reminds us, social media is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. Although the platforms (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) may evolve or change, the fact that our way of communicating in this engaged manner has not and will not.

To participate in social media, we need to learn how to 'be social.' Being social means knowing our purposes, what is appropriate to post and what is not, how to interact, handling conflict, using correct terminology, but most of all, knowing what we are sharing and with whom by protecting our privacy on our social media accounts.

Being social not only provides us with invaluable knowledge, but it helps us teach the next generation to use this mode of communication that will shape their workforce and skill sets. I'll talk about that more in Tuesday's blog.

Connect with me on my web site at www.lbspeaksonline.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter.