By now, we realize social media isn’t going away. In fact, quite the opposite – new social media sites are popping up every day. It’s a challenge to keep current…or even learn the full capabilities of the platform.
Let’s face it, we go to a conference or meeting and get talked into opening an account on a social network. Then, we immediately use it once or twice and say to ourselves that, when we get back to the office, we’ll explore the app, download some articles and really learn how to use it. But the reality is, we get home and often that extra time doesn’t materialize and we never really learn how to make the most of that new program. Or we can immediately see how it helps our personal life but are still looking for ways to use it in our professional life.
According to Grovo Learning, companies recognize the value of training employees on social media and are increasing employee training on social media. However, there appears to still be a gap where learning is concerned. It’s one thing to talk about social media strategy and the possibilities. It’s another to provide practical know-how on how a social media platform can help someone do their job. I believe this is an area where HR can lead the charge. For example, HR can provide a job aid outlining a weeklong series of activities to help employees learn social media.
So instead of me just saying “go do it”, I thought it might be fun to come up with a list of things that I would recommend people do each day to explore a specific social media platform. And I decided to start with Twitter because it’s one of my favorite sites. So today’s post will provide 5-days of small activities that can help someone understand Twitter. If you like it, please feel free to copy and use it in your workplace.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is an information network. Users convey information in 140-character messages called Tweets.
How do I create a Twitter account?
A couple years ago, I created a series of short videos on how to create a Twitter account. The process hasn’t changed that much. You can view them here.
Your 5-day Plan
DAY 1 – Hashtags. Twitter users put the # symbol before key words or phrases (with no spaces) to categorize those Tweets. Hashtags are searchable. So, this is a means for Twitter users to find the information you share. Your activity is to find the hashtag for a topic you’re interested in. Some of my personal faves are #mlearning, #elearning, and #orgdev.
DAY 2 – Saved searches. Now that you know what a hashtag is, it’s easy to see how Twitter can provide information. Think about the projects you’re currently working on. Find and save a hashtag search so you can check it on a regular basis. I find it fascinating to look at the hashtag for my MBTI type. #INTJ
DAY 3 – Conference hashtags. For the first couple days, you’ve been following topics. Now find an event. Today’s activity is to follow a conference hashtag. Examples are #HRTechConf and #SHRM15. This isn’t something you’ll do every day but it’s a great way to check out what’s happening at events you’re attending (or considering attending in the future!)
DAY 4 – Twitter chat. The past three days have not required you to send a single Tweet. You’ve lurked long enough and have some sense of what users Tweet. It’s time to join the conversation. Twitter chats are scheduled events where users discuss a topic. For example, Ron Thomas and I will be on SHRM’s #NextChat chat February 4 at 3p Eastern talking about global working assignments. Other popular Twitter chats are #TChat (Wednesdays at 7p Eastern) and #lrnchat (Thursdays at 8:30p Eastern).
DAY 5 – Start connecting! Please notice I didn’t start with this step. That’s one of the best features within Twitter. You can get a lot of information without connecting with anyone. Obviously, you get more if you connect and engage with people. But now, after spending time checking out hashtags and conversations, you know who to connect with. If you want to connect with me, I’m at @Sharlyn_Lauby and @HRBartender.
BONUS! After spending a few days using the Twitter site, you’ll probably say to yourself, “There’s got to be an easier way to view information.” And there is. Test drive a Twitter client such as HootSuite or Tweetdeck to organize information. For instance, I’m a news junkie so I’ve created a column in Tweetdeck called NEWS. I follow my favorite news sources and can view everything in the same place.
Bottom-line: You won’t know if you like an application until you try it. And you won’t know if it’s useful until you try it. Give it a week. Try a little something new every day. None of these activities will take hours. And of course, after a week if you find it’s not beneficial, you can always delete the account. At least then you know what the application does (and doesn’t do).
What do you think? Was this helpful? What other activities would you add to the list?
Be sure to check back for my next 5-day plan for learning social media.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby