Question of the week: Should L&D be active within social media?
Do we, as L&D and trainer people, have a responsibility to be present in the moment? Walk the talk? Over the weekend there was a twitter conversation about L&D and social media. The conversation started with a tweet by Con Sotidis asking the following:
Now, this tweet was asking specifically about the speakers being on twitter and no, you do not have to be on twitter (or any other platform) to function at your job. I understand having a social media presence isn’t for everyone. Some people are happy in their insular world where yesterday’s news is brought to you today by network news. And you know what? I’m okay with that. To each their own. However, I can see only 3 real reasons why a Trainer, L&D professional, Chief Learning Officer, Director, Manager, and all manner of L&D positions, wouldn’t professionally be on some form or another of social media.
- They already know all there is to know
- They already know all the people they need to know
- They already do all there is to do
Let’s tackle this one point at a time, shall we?
You know everything there is to know. If you do, then you need to meet with the Google people ASAP. Seriously. Ok, we know you don’t know everything there is to know and being on some form of social media can help you build a knowledge base that can take you places you’ve never imagined. How?
- Join twitter (or make better use of it). There is a lot of information flowing through twitter at any given time by any number of people. Here Brian Washburn has put together a list of people to follow. Using this list, build twitter list based on L&D people here’s how. You then may want to add Brian’s suggestions to the list. When you access the list you will see the combined twitter feed of those people and only those people. Trust me, at any given time someone on this list is sharing noteworthy stuff that you want to know.
- Join LinkedIn groups and here’s the catch with joining any group…BE ACTIVE. If you ask questions, people will answer. Join a Facebook group with other relevant people, follow L&D industry pages. Here is the ATD facebook page, the Learning Rebels page – it doesn’t matter which L&D person or company you follow. The key is to interact.
- On Pinterest? You may think this is an oddball choice – but a lot of L&D peeps hang there and a lot of good information is being curated. Run a search for adult learning, or professional development. Here are some people to kick you off – Dave Anderson, Bianca Woods, Instructional design specific books by Tracy Parish, ID tips – Trina Rimmer, and all things creative learning by Learning Rebels.
You already know everyone there is to know? Thought not. Social media is perfect for networking. LinkedIn is the obvious starting point. Find people who you can relate to and follow them. Then ask for a connection. I know, they say you should only ask for a connection if you know someone. But you know what? How else are you going to connect if you don’t ask. It’s like being at a party and only talking to people to you know. Boring!
Plus, you never know – you may connect online with someone you will meet someday. Twitter has lead me to fabulous people whom I can call friends in real life. You discuss and debate L&D over twitter and twitter chats and then one day at a conference near you, or at an ATD chapter event, or just due to serendipity – these people will become an important part of your personal learning network.
You already do all there is to do? LOL – hardly. There is always something to do, always something to learn, always something to share.
In today’s world, people learn through YouTube and Vimeo. Through live streaming, facetime, periscope, Facebook video. Through following and interacting with blogs, through videos and pictures on Instagram. The adventure of social media technology is that it will enlighten you at every turn. You will find new ways to do things. You will begin to stretch yourself and your beliefs.
In other words – it doesn’t matter what platform you are on.
Just get on one. The days of excuses regarding technology are over, waaaay over. Information about how to start on twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn are literally a google question or YouTube video away. We cannot talk about advances in L&D and L&D technology without being out there ourselves. It’s hypocritical and your team will know it. The classroom has extended beyond four walls. Our job is to get on social media and find out what other people in the industry are doing. A lot of you work in one person departments. How else are you going to stay on top of what is happening around you.
There is no expectation to be on every platform. Twitter may be my go-to, but it doesn’t have to yours. The key is having the curiosity to see what’s happening in the world with your career of choice. You can’t say, “You don’t like twitter” without giving it a solid try. I swear, I will figure out snapchat! Play around! Choose the platform that best works for you – that provides you with answers, connections and the ability to communicate with other like minds.
For me, it’s all about twitter – twitter and the information I’ve found there has helped me to further develop my knowledge and skills in L&D (here is how to start with twitter chats). I can say with enthusiasm – I wouldn’t be where I am now without twitter and the brilliant people sharing information there. The post I mentioned earlier by Brain Washburn aka @flipchartguy – narrows down his opinion of the top 18 to follow, there are so many more but this is a great starting point.
It is important to note that being online not only goes for L&D, but for Finance, IT, HR, etc. Find where your profession hangs out, go there. Find knowledge. Share knowledge. Use the tool to enhance your skills. Don’t know how, skype a friend. Go down to the comments and ask. I hope you’ve been motivated to try something new. You can do this. Jump on in, the water’s great.
No more excuses. #LetsDoThis
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