What were you doing five, ten, or sixty minutes ago? There’s a good possibility that you got a notification on your phone, accessed it on your computer, or used an app on your tablet. The average American checks their Facebook account 14 times per day*, every second 6,000 tweets are sent**, and an average of 70 million photos are posted onto Instagram daily***. Social media is here, and it’s time to use it to your advantage.
If you feel that incorporating social media could boost communication, collaboration, and create a community, then you’re interested for the right reasons. The first step of adding social media to your learning campaigns is management approval. Social media comes with IT concerns, possible branding restraints, and man hours not only to build up the platform but to monitor and improve on the process.
Once management is on board, the next step is to determine what platform matches your needs. Each comes with its own aspects to consider. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram:
ProsConsEasily accessibleContent can get lostPrivate groupsEasily distractedPeer-to-peerDetracts from human interestPossible reachCyber bullyingBit-sized postsSpamPollsAnalyticsFree
ProsConsQuickHard to followEasy to setupPublicAccessible140 character limitHard to moderateEasily distractedDetracts from human interestCyber bullyingSpam
ProsConsMultiple types of contentNo groupsEasyPublicHashtagsEasily distractedDetracts from human interestCyber bullyingSpam
Once you’ve determined the platform to use, the next step is incorporating it in a creative way. Let’s take a look at some possible scenarios and how to develop them into your course.
You’ve decided to start a Facebook group where you can capture the peer-to-peer interaction for a company. The group will post questions weekly that pertain to their particular topic, and any new users are required to introduce themselves and comment on one question.
Your company has started a health initiative. Part of the training is to post a tweet using the Hashtag GetHealthywithXYZ that shows one of the ways you’re getting healthy.
It’s homework time for your online students. You’re currently teaching about the rule of thirds and want to test the user’s knowledge. As a homework assignment, the students are required to post a photo to an account. The following week, the class will review the accuracy of the principle by peer critiquing their work.
To promote a professional environment, consider providing employees and students with the following guidelines:
• Offer supplemental instructions on how to create an account
• Always prompt users to introduce themselves when possible
• Keep comments and contributions professional; supply examples when relevant
• Promote proper grammar and full sentences
• Deter cyber bullying
• Promote sharing, following, liking, and other positive opportunities within the platforms
• Offer the opportunity to opt out
Editor’s note: Special thanks to our guest author, Jennifer Valley!
Jennifer Valley is an Instructional Designer with five years of experience in learning. She loves sharing and conversing on social media, blogging, and spending time with her family. You can read her blog here, as well as follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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