The social media driving licence has come to an end. It’s all over bar the shouting and like all good journeys seems to have flown by in minutes.
This 8 week programme was well put together and of course well run. My fellow participants, some of whom had no real experience of the social media concepts or tools before the course started, or were extremely wary about opening themselves up in terms of content and contribution (what can I say of interest?) for fear of repercussions and ridicule, but they Just blossomed in front of my very eyes. That was so great to see.
If I’m honest I signed up more out solidarity with my peers and a sense of duty than anything else. But what was I going to learn? I thought I was coming from a position of strength in that I’d been using Social Media for years. What could they teach me?
I really didn’t know what to expect. But because of my previous experience my expectation was not high. The reality was so much better, I very much enjoyed the course and I did learn stuff, mainly about Social Media but also about the people I work with, who to a man (or women) all seem to have hidden depths. Quite often we (or is it just me?) make our minds up about people during our first interaction with them; or worse from what we hear from others.
Aside from the Social Media aspects what I have learned is we are so fortunate as an organisation to have loads of smart, talented and more often than not genuinely nice people to work with. It’s a cliché and we say it all the time without much evidence of late – but it’s not until you see, hear and read what people do, say and write that makes you think wow! you know what, these guys are great.
The Social Media
So the people are cool, but what about the Social Media? was that all it was cracked up to be? I thought rather than a critique of each and every aspect I’d just share my highlights, the things I’ll take away and use again and again. The course covered quite a bit of ground and I was pleased we looked at blogging. I like blogging. 🙂
I was pleased to get some pretty nifty tips that will help me with my WordPress site. The links with Social Media platforms are cool as are the free plugins, themes and controls. You can make your site look great in seconds and if you know how, you can edit and have complete control over its design, look and feel. We also looked at Tumblr which is great but for me WordPress is king!
Best tip: Linking to Twitter and being able to customise the text of the tweet from within your post.
Feedly: as I said in an earlier blog post this app is just fantastic. Having all my frequent web sites, news and RSS feeds in one place is such a simple idea, but until you start using feedly in anger you don’t know how handy it is.
Best tip: I subscribe to some podcasts. (for the curious these are theanfieldwrap.com for footy and therider.com for new music, both highly recommended!) These don’t always update on my feedly phone app, though that could be user error. So a manual refresh is sometimes needed.
Hootsuite was also something of a revelation. I could see how this would be very useful for those who work from desktops or tablets, there is just too much info on screen for me as I work on social media mainly from my mobile. It is full of features and a great tool for managing multiple accounts, I imagine this would be invaluable for anyone who has to use Social Media as part of their job function. I liked its list management feature and may use that after the course ends.
Best tip: The ability to schedule a tweet.
1. Click “Compose Message”
2. Type your message and include links if you have any
3. Click to select a profile(s) from the profile picker
4. Click the calendar icon
5. From the calendar, select the date for the message to be sent
6. Select the time for the message to be sent
7. Click “Schedule”
That is all there is to it. Marvellous and very useful!
Bitly is a fabulous tool. Again as I said in other blog posts the Schools SharePoint system creates massive URLs so for me this is an essential tool. I also love that it saves all your short urls once you have an account for later use. Brilliant.
Best tip: Create an account and log in. This allows you to create custom urls such as:
This is such a great little trick and one that I’ll be using long after the course is over.
So they are my faves. Though we did learn about a whole host of other tools and how to use them. The tips I mention are what I picked up and will definitely be using when the course is finished. So in one respect this has made my use of the Social Media services and associated tools that bit more productive. I can also see some obvious wins for the School, making use of these free tools for productive and collaborative purposes. The key will surely be:
Where do we go from here?
So finally, to the colleagues who did the course with me, I hope you enjoyed it as much as me and it has been great reading your blogs and tweets and hope you will continue to use and enjoy Social Media long after the course ends on Friday the 25th July.
To the information and library services team, well done for putting on the course and thanks for letting me on it.