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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Social Media
Tag Archive - Social Media

Are You a 21st Century Pioneer or Old Timer?

Not quite ready for prime time 21st century jargon? Do you wonder what terms and customs mean?

2011. Old: say two thousand eleven for the year.  Younger: twenty-eleven.

Cloud. Old: cumulus clouds in the sky. Younger: opportunities for users to share files and programs over the Internet.

Easter egg. Old: a treat-filled egg found during a hunt at Easter. Younger: hidden treat that can be found in a movie, book, video, or computer game. It includes inside jokes or special treats for those who find them.

Email. Old: trendy way to communicate. Younger: text and dm more than email. If you send them email, make it short. Less is more. More is never read.

Handle. Old: used with your old CB radio. Younger: Twitter.

Hashtag. Old: possibly an illegal substance. Younger: conversation topic used globally on Twitter.

Interruption. Old: don’t look at that phone when I’m talking to you. Younger: check phones for texts, messages and more during real life conversation. This is their normal multitasking in a connected world. They set SmartPhones on the desk or table during meetings to use as needed. 

IRL. In real life. Acronym to distinguish from virtual world.

Mobile hotspot. Old: possible title on the cover of Cosmopolitan. Younger: device that lets you create a Wifi hot spot for other Wifi capable devices.

Pandora. Old: myth. Younger: music platform where you choose what you want to hear.

Talk to someone. Old: real live conversation. Younger: in real life or by way of Skype, chat, tweet, dm, or text.

Time. Old: watches and alarm clocks. Younger: phone. 

Tweet. Old: possible continence problem for perimenopausal women. Younger: verb form of how people communicate on Twitter.

What did you watch last night? Old: TV. Younger: ustream, Netflix, or Youtube on a computer, iPod, phone or iPad.

Work Day. Old: 9 to 5. Work and personal separate. Younger: Work may not be one job; it could be 2 or 3, and one of those could be being a solopreneur. Work  and personal merge into meeting the needs of both as needed, and sometimes with interruptions on both ends.

Your wallet or your phone? If a robber mugs you and asks, your wallet or your phone, old answer, phone. Younger: wallet. 

Younger or older, if you understand what others are thinking with certain terms, it will help us all work together as teams.

What other older/younger differences in terms do YOU see? Comment below.

8 Questions for a Social Media Pro Before Hiring

If you are going to hire a social media professional, what questions should you ask?

  1. What’s your Klout? Klout measures individuals’ social media impact. Its methods may not be perfect, but social pros should have a Klout score of at least 30 (most social media pros have scores much higher than 30).  When you enter a Twitter handle (must be public), you will pull the Klout score.
  2. What are your favorite platforms? A social media pro should be familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and blogs. Pros need to understand the social media spectrum and how to best use each platform. How do they integrate Groupon offers, FourSquare, and Facebook places into campaigns?
  3. How do you build your community? Social media done well builds better communities. Do they use their Klout to bring people together? Do they share their toys? Are they involved in local, state, or national social media efforts? Do they attend or present at social media conferences or barcamps? If so, which ones, and which topics?
  4. How do you define best social media practices? How do they handle ethical issues? Do they emphasize strategy or tactic? Do they encourage open, honest dialogue?
  5. How do you have fun with social media? Good social media pros never take themselves too seriously. Fun, creative pros develop fun campaigns.
  6. How do you measure results? Your campaign strategy should have measurable goals with your specific, niche audience.
  7. What’s your time frame? Instant results from a social media campaign are as reliable as weight loss programs that promise major results in a few weeks. Do you want a quick splash or a long term gain?
  8. How do you train clients? Do they evaluate your full social media branding and train employees? If they don’t train clients, do they make referrals? Do they not only teach you how to use social media for branding but also market research?

Google your social media pro.  Evaluate their blogs, videos, and photos. Do they look like a good fit for your company and its culture? How good are they are beginning, continuing, and responding to conversations by way of Facebook, Twitter, and more?

Ask good questions. Ask the tough questions.

Better to build a strong social media presence with a solid foundation than to build one in sand that has to be fixed later.

The Person Behind the Keyboard

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” the Wizard orders Dorothy when she’s trying to leave Oz.  She ignores the voice, peeks behind the curtain, and discovers the wizard is human.

The best communicators - in real life and social media – slip through the curtain to give us a glimpse of the person behind the mask.

When we write by email or private message, remembering there’s a person on the other side of the keyboard is imperative. We’ve all gotten poison pen electronic messages. 

One recent morning, I sat down at my computer to joke with virtual friends – my family was still sleeping. I had just finished 2 of my most stressful days of the year – days full of difficult paperwork that’s worse than tax time.  My friends and family had cheered me through these hated days in person, on telephone, and via email.  I was ready for a break and a laugh before my first cup of coffee – time for Christmas to begin!

Instead, I read a terse private message that lacked nuances like please, thank you, Merry Christmas, etc. The complaint had merit, but the tone oozed anger from each sentence. Ouch. My family was all still asleep, and I didn’t want to wake them to cry on their shoulders.

So I tweeted that I was hurt by a private message and needed someone to make me get back in the Christmas spirit. Within a minute of my tweet, I got a first response from a friend sending me a joke. Then another. Then more.  I chatted w/a Facebook friend who texted me encouragement throughout the day.

As I sat in my still-dark living room, with tears rolling down my face, I was not alone. I had shared a glimpse of myself behind the social media curtain, and friends responded. They were my lifeline till my husband woke up, and I could cry on his shoulder.

We often talk of the business and educational value of social media. First and foremost for me, social media builds relationships.

When Twitter, Facebook et al are done well, they reveal to us the person behind the keyboard – good and bad.

Social media inspires me to be a better person behind the keyboard – and to help others do the same.

Oh – and thanks to @News25JordanV, @StevenWABX, @MarketingVeep, @Hsing3Kinder, @TalinaN, @DanaMNelson, and @PlanningForever – and my FB texting encourager – for answering my early a.m. Tweet for help.

Snow Day Express

We didn’t have a snow day in southern Illinois in January, 1978, when I was in the 7th grade; we had a snow month. After a 16 inch storm one week and a blizzard the next – leaving 8 foot snow drifts – the town’s lone radio station announced, “All schools in the area are canceled until further notice.”

How times of snow day notices have changed. Now we have multiple channel alerts:

  • TV and radio stations on air and web
  • Websites
  • Oncall systems to telephone and/or text families
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

When schools debate the To Close or Not to Close question, families, teachers, school corp employees, and students all discuss it online, before the world. Smart schools provide an official voice to the social media conversation. They develop social media policies that encourage conversation in a constructive manner.

Slipping into Old Geezer mode to compare the present to the Blizzard of ’78.

I was a pedestrian newspaper carrier during that winter. I walked to the newspaper office downtown and then delivered papers to every store and home on either side of Main Street. Every Monday through Saturday of that winter, I delivered the paper, even the day the wind chill hit 10 below.

Snow drifts 2-3 foot high divided the middle of Main Street. As I went from customer to customer delivering papers, I warmed up in 1 store to then venture to the next.

That newspaper, with the radio station, were our town’s lifeline. Weather radios did not exist for consumers. Our pre-cable TV news was from Evansville, Indiana.

Now, when the threat of severe weather hits, we watch the forecasts on the news and listen to them on the radio. We rely more on news online than in print. Facebook lets me see how the storm impacts my friends. Twitter gives me a view of the storm’s impact on our area and what will happen next.

If or when a comparable blizzard hits, technology will make it easier to survive.  Smart schools will leverage tech to communicate better.

Maybe, if or when a future blizzard happens, my grandchildren won’t miss a month of school and trudge a paper route. Schools will keep classes going online, sharing information instantly with students in ways not yet invented.

4 Steps to Listening Your Way to Teaching & Social Media Success

“Don’t teach. Facilitate,” I explained to skeptical instructors in a train the trainer program 15 years ago. The points of our program were:

  1. Look at your audience. They are unique. Know who they are and reach them there.
  2. Ask your audience questions. Assume nothing – start with basics. If they can answer the basics, they will gain confidence to master the tougher stuff.
  3. Answer your audience’s questions. Keep control of the conversation, but make a list of questions to get back to, if needed afterwards.
  4. Engage your audience. Find novel ways for them to participate. The more they participate, the more likely they are to incorporate it into their lives. See what works and what doesn’t, tweak it, and try again.

Look + Ask + Answer + Engage = Listen.

At first, I didn’t believe facilitation worked. I lacked the time to “Facilitate” when I was supposed to “Teach.” Teaching meant going through my list of exactly what was to be learned, opening the heads of my students, and dumping it there.

A brain dump ends up with a toxic brainfill with so much stuff nothing is absorbed, and the good stuff runs off first time it rains.  If an adult was subjected to a bad teacher who pushed, pushed, pushed, odds are students tuned out the teacher. So when instructors of adults push too hard, adult students respond by tuning them out.

Tune out = nothing accomplished. Listen so they tune in = students find new ways to apply what they learn and keep using it.

Facilitation can work. In order to work, the “facilitator” has to pan for gold – sift the rocks in the lecture and keep the best nuggets.  Listen to the audience but make sure the nuggets and important information is covered.

In the social media age, I see the same transition happening in marketing and advertising. Generations of salespeople were taught to PUSH their message, PUSH their product, and PUSH to get sales.

Problem is PUSH is now as attractive and current as that avocado green toilet was when we bought our house.

After a lifetime of PUSH, consumers now tune out the moment the PUSH pitch begins.

Marketers wishing to survive in the 21st century had better learn to PULL, to listen, and to facilitate to survive. Follow those same steps we gave teachers:

Look, Ask, Answer, and Engage.

RosenKlout & GuildInfluence Are Dead

RosenKlout and GuildInfluence discovered the power of Klout on their Social Media footprints and decided they needed to raise their Klout to show just how influential they really were.

G: Happy birthday!

R: Thanks. Did you Tweet that?

G: Yes. Then I got my 3 month old daughter to Retweet it.

R: I’ll Retweet it and thank you.

G: Then I’ll thank you back.

R: I’ll get my pet dog’s Twitter account to retweet you and post Bark! Bark! at the end of it.

G: Loved the birthday photo on Facebook.

R: Thank you. Did you see I tagged you?

G: Yes. Told you thanks under the picture and then shared it on my wall.

R: Good! Did you see the status I wrote of how much I appreciated everyone’s birthday wishes?

G: Yes. Last I saw, there were 10 comments under it.

R: I liked the first 5. Top News for sure.

G: Top News is good. Should double the number of comments.

R: Next month, I’ll hold a birthday contest and choose one of my friends who wishes me happy birthday and give them a gift card.

G: But your birthday is today.

R: I’ll change it tomorrow. A monthly birthday will increase my Klout 12X the rate of a birthday only once a year.

G: More influence, more Klout.

R: More Klout, more influence.

G: Amazing how our Klout scores are always the same.

R: Our Klout scores ARE nearly the same. Amazing, isn’t it?

G: Time to check in to buy your birthday cake. 4square and Facebook Places.

R: If you have a birthday and don’t Tweet/Facebook it, you have no social media life.

G: Or Klout.

R: Influence matters.

G: Stop moving so I can take a picture of your picking up your birthday cake. Then it’s time for the party.

R: I already blogged 5 Steps to the Perfect Birthday Party.

G: Funny. I blogged Excellent Parties in 5 Easy Steps and linked yours.

Unfortunately, as RosenKlout and GuildInfluence were discussing their social media strategy to maximize facetime from RosenKlout’s monthly birthday party, they walked through a red light and directly into the path of a truck.

If someone had taken a photo of the accident and Tweeted/Facebooked it, their Klout would have skyrocketed.

Unfortunately, no one did. If it isn’t on Facebook, it isn’t official.

So no one knows what happened.  Though blogs have been written….

Embrace the Change

In 1989, jobs were hard to find in a lousy economy. I landed a job for a physics department that would let me continue taking classes. Problem: I knew nothing about computers, and the job required it. I was a fast typist, and they decided to risk hiring me. My first day on the job, the dept. head gave me a handwritten syllabus. I typed and printed it, no problem. He looked at the file setup and refused it, telling me, “You used a word processor as a glorified typewriter. Here’s a book. Figure out what you did wrong and make it right.”

It took me 3 days to create a 3 page syllabus he would accept. When he finally accepted my work, I was so furious I was ready to quit. He then told me, “I know you’re angry. I know you’ve just spent 3 days wandering blind alleys figuring out how to do this. But each blind alley you went down taught you things you will need to know. It will get easier.”

And so began my trial by fire computer training. Part of my job involved clerical work on a NASA research project. It was old Internet days, with manual dial up handshake commands that had to be typed in a line at a time. I was supposed to load files to a CRAY supercomputer, download the results, and then convert those results to graphs.

On my first day on the job, not a single command worked when I tried to log onto the CRAY.  Exasperated, I called NASA, thinking I had to be the dumbest computer user on the planet. Response?

“You’re following yesterday’s instructions. Everything changed today.”

“When will I get today’s instructions.”

“Most  likely in 6 months. But I’ll tell you the steps to follow.” He walked me through the new handshake procedures.

And so began my year of learning to use a computer, on the job, with deadlines, when things changed every single day, before I had a chance to learn how to use them beforehand.

I had no idea when I started that job that it would change my life. Computer software eventually made sense. Within 6 years, I was a computer network administrator for a network of 50 computers for a law firm.  For the past 15 years, I’ve worked as a corporate computer trainer and have trained at least 3,000 people in how to use computers on their jobs.  In recent years, that has also branched into training them on social media. My experiences learning on the fly help me be a more empathetic teacher.

With social media, things change daily. Buttons move, features have different words, and more. It reminds me of my first day using a computer, 21 years ago. Yesterday’s instructions don’t quite work, and we figure out today’s procedures by the seat of our pants. It’s frustrating.

My lesson from years ago: embrace the change.

The blind alleys you stumble in, as you seek today’s instructions, are preparing you to handle tomorrow’s bigger computer challenges.

Bieber Biever Snow Globes

For nearly 20 years, I’ve patiently spelled my last name on the phone: B as in boy, I as in igloo, E as in egg, V as in victory, E as in egg, R as in red. Old German spellings can make regular Americans stumble because they hesitate to say “beaver” when it looks different.

Once when I was talking to an obnoxious customer support person, I spelled it: B as in brat, I as in idiot, E as in egotistical, V as in vice, E as in errors, and R as in rude. That was an experiment not to be repeated; it neither won friends nor positively influenced my customer service.

Last month, I tried a different experiment while spelling my name aloud on the phone: Biever, like Justin Bieber except it has a V in the middle instead of a B.  The order taker laughed, immediately got it, and we had a fun, friendly conversation. I’ve repeated my experiment since and found that it works with 1 criteria: the person I am talking to needs to be under the age of 40. My response when talking with a 50 year old was, “Justin WHO?” Then I went back to my old routine. With 1 exception: anyone on Twitter knows who Justin Bieber is.

I’m between that 40 and 50 cut off on popular culture, and I get the Bieber phenomenon.  I don’t listen to his music, but I know who he is. A few of those I’ve spelled my name to like his music. 

My experiment with spelling my name teaches a social media lesson.  We have ways of communicating now that we’ve had for decades. They most likely still work. But we may have done them so many times that they are now routine and don’t engender conversations with people (or potential customers) we meet.  They are like the Christmas snow globe with the pretty picture, with all the snow dust glittering on the ground.

If we take what we know and add a dash of social media modern culture in those interactions, we shake the snow globe.  I may have been buying posters of Shawn Cassidy and Leif Garrett when Justin Bieber’s parents were babies, but I can still use the social media snow globe.

My challenge to you: shake the social media snow globe and see what new opportunities present themselves to you.

Missing The Boat

Probably thought but not written 500 years ago…

“I can’t believe the hoopla over Columbus. He brought back heathens and trinkets instead of a route to spices.

“What a waste of time and money. His stupid sailors drink, wasting time with songs and games. I’m too busy – I have to run the family lumber business. 

“There’s rumors Columbus was wrong. He got lost. Some day, all who thought he would open new trade routes will realize they wasted their time and money. I’ll be sitting here fat and happy cause I just expanded the family lumber business to the other side of the forest.  Sure thing, sure profit. Who has time to learn anything new when we’re so busy cutting down trees?”

End of excerpt from the honorary member of the World Is Flat & I’m Happy Bout That Society.

This business man was so busy tending his own family business that he missed the boat.

Those who ignore the changes social media will make do the same. Yes, there are some stupid games and conversations going on on new media. But those using it are on a boat to a new world just like Columbus’s sailors were.

Columbus wasn’t just playing stupid games – born Italian, he eventually learned Latin, Portugese, Castillian, and devoured the best books by the greatest minds he could find.  He scoured the Bible and often quoted it.

Smart people are using social media. They are building the next new world.

If you have a family lumber business, if you pull your head out of the local trees, you might discover a planet of new resources and potential customers. All by route of social media.

Those early explorers didn’t take a Loveboat across the ocean to learn things exciting and new. They worked, risked, prayed, waited, and worked some more. So do the new explorers. 

There’s an earlier key figure in the New World’s discovery: Prince Henry the Navigator. In the century before Columbus, he helped sailors by improving education – even starting schools. His schools helped develop maps, teach navigation, and teach shipbuilding. He plowed and prepped the field from which the next century’s explorers sprouted.

Some visionary educators today are doing the same with social media. Will your school sprout the next explorers, or will your students/employees miss the boat? Are they being trained to navigate the social media seas to a brave, new world?

Busted or Not?

Please answer the question at the end of this blog: was my son busted or not?

I’m a huge advocate of finding ways to incorporate social media into the classroom. Twitter offers a world of real time opportunities to build peer connections and learn from brilliant people all over the planet. To that end, I enjoy Mondays when I have time to join the #smcedu chat and encourage social media clubs on college campuses.

The ways teachers can leverage social media to enrich classroom experiences are endless. 

But there’s another side to the coin. In my spare time, I lead a teen discussion group on classical literature; my son is one of the members. When the new Facebook groups debuted, I decided to create a private group for the teens involved (and their parents) so we could exchange study helps, assignments, and answer questions.

Today, I posted a link to a study guide to help them read The Iliad. My son immediately commented that the link was one ugly website. Problem: he commented during school time, which means he was playing on Facebook while he was supposed to be working on Algebra. I immedad iately commented under him – why are you on Facebook instead of math?

So my question is: did I bust him for goofing off during official school time? Or was he learning in a different manner from previous generations? 

And for students: would you revolt if you started getting assignments from your teacher in a study group on Facebook? Or would you appreciate getting information in a place you already surf?

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