Friday, February 10, 2012

Social Media Education - A thought!

Last week Wednesday we had our first Twitter chat on “Is Education ready to embrace Social Media” and I must confess I was quite amazed with the kind of response that we received. Honestly I was under the impression that this idea would face a lot of inertia and that people from the Academic world would not be willing to accept this change.

But the actual reality was at exact 180degrees. People really want to use Social Media as an easily & readily available Learning Management or a Content Management tool. But then I was stuck on what’s stopping them. Now this was a billion dollar question, and just like any billion dollar question this had a simple logical answer but a complex execution algorithm (talk of complexity of simplicity).

What I learnt during the Twitter Chat (FYI - look for hash-tag #TSP_EduForum, it’s an acronym for TheSocialPeople Education Forum) is that there seems like there is general agreement among social media users/evangelists/consultants that education is crucial. However social media education can be quite vast and can pretty much mean anything. It's like trying to teach someone to be a mechanic in a few days or even a few hours, there's a lot to learn. The challenge is keeping the learning community up-to-date on those latest tools/tactics/strategies.

As you know social media is a very dynamic in nature and what you learn today might change tomorrow. So if we keep seeing new tools/techniques/strategies emerging almost daily, how to we create and administer social media training programs? My answer, focus on the core of social media principles or global best practices. Here are the main topics I would consider (I'm going to leave a few out because I'm more interested in what you have to say):
  1. High level Social Media Strategy (This I feel is the most important and vital topic. Wrong strategy and you or your idea is doomed.
  2. Identification of the right social media tools/platforms that suites your need
  3. How to identify existing social media communities (or create new ones if needed)
  4. Social Media measurement or metrics.
  5. Understanding how to monitor social media and respond to sentiments shared by users\
  6. Benefits/value of social media and risks of social media with effect exit mechanism, just in case.
  7. Resources needed to succeed in social media
  8. Case studies/examples/results of social media campaigns

So here I have listed 8 high level topics that make up a part of what I consider the Social Media Education core. Instead of focusing social media education efforts on details (that will change quickly) I think it would be much more valuable to focus on applications that are relatively constant to rephrase this more scientifically, strategize and use media that is evolving rather than mutating. I would also strongly advice that the herculean tasks of planning and strategizing details can be left to the experts who are implementing the actual strategy or to the consultants that are advising the company.

Do you agree with me? What other topics would you add to the Social Media Education Core?

For those of you who would like be a part of our Twitter Chat, it happens every Wednesday at 10AM Indian Standard Time. Don't forget to hash-tag - #TSP_EduForum.

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