Title

7 Years of Social Media Repetition - Time to Be Bold, Again.

Includes a challenge for 2018.

December 21, 2017
 
 

It's been more than 7 years since I started blogging for Inside Higher Ed. Lately, a lot of my posts are starting to feel slightly like broken records. Spinning the same concepts and ideas over and over again with the occasional post that steps outside of the safe lane.

When it comes to learning new things, repetition can be a good thing. There are always going to be those who are just starting out with how they use social media for digital engagement. Learning in drips and drabs, blog content can serve as useful rungs in the greater picture of scaffolded learning.

However, that can create a rather bland experience for yours truly...as well as for those who have been long-term readers. A friend recently told me that I was too busy focusing on the "tried-and-tested" rather than trying to "be bold" and provocative with my blog posts.

Ironically, boldness is a sentiment that I'm often promoting during my talks at universities on using social media for things like teaching, learning, enhancing the student experience, customer service, marketing, communications, and leadership.

The thing is, for some people, just joining Twitter or downloading Snapchat is a bold step. It's important to recognize that there is a spectrum of digital boldness. Plus, as our digital identities matter more and more, the blurring of professional and personal creates a massive challenge in so many different ways. It's easy to champion digital presence, but the reality of the digital domain is that it's a nuanced place that isn't neat and tidy.

Perhaps the challenge then with my blog is in continuing to push, nudge, and encourage those who might still be new to using social media in their university work whilst also crafting posts that go beyond the "usual" and "comfortable."

Something that I'm always thinking (and sometimes saying) is that I hope that I'm not always going to be spending my time teaching people how to use social media. Perhaps that is why my blog posts are a bit repetitive...it's like Quantum Leap (okay, that may be a stretch, but it does reveal my inner nerd). I'm hoping that the next blog post will unlock the barriers that keep university staffers from using social media to enhance student success.

I know this may seem counterintuitive to my higher education consultancy, but the fact remains that the core of my work is really organizational (and individual) change.

Social media consulting is why I'm brought to campus, but the hard work is really how universities encourage their paid community members (staff, faculty, admin, etc.) to engage in a constant state of learning as a positive and worthwhile experience.

The fight against the status quo is real. Change is a constant aspect of the human experience and the communication technologies at our disposal are evolving. Yet, I am asked the same questions at every event...over and over again. I do my best to answer them each time, adding new layers of information, but the gist is still almost a decade old.

I cannot stress the importance of senior leaders actually leading when it comes to how social media is used at a university. They literally light the way for the rest of the team. Most large organizations are hierarchical and universities are extremely chain of command oriented. Leaders should lead or get out of the way.

Incorporating social media into the day-to-day operation of various departments and individual functions may require a motivating mandate from management. Reward those individuals and teams that create strategies and active implementation structures for digital engagement.

Here is a non-broken-record observation and challenge for 2018:

Social media isn't new. There are new apps, but most of the functionality that exists today has been around for a while. Your organization is filled with awesome people who know how digital engagement works. Trust them. Learn from them. Work with them. Reward them for their efforts. Encourage experimentation and be bold.

 

Do you tweet? Let's connect. Follow me on Twitter.

 

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