Monday, August 24, 2009

Preaching Beyond the Social Media Choir

I'll admit—I was slow to jump onto the social media bandwagon. I wasn't against the concept, but I didn't feel that I had time to invest in learning it.

Michael Stoner's latest blog post on alumni relations and social media tells the story of an up-and-coming alumni relations leader discovering the professional benefits and promise of social media, a story that mirrors my own (minus the prestigious CAAE research opportunity).

More advancement professionals and college leaders need to hear stories like this, but how many of these leaders follow blogs or see the retweets on Twitter? The most convincing argument for learning the value of social networking tools is follow the Nike idiom to "just do it." But how can PR staff encourage colleagues to take the leap in opening their own accounts, sometimes overcoming smug or even hostile stereotypes against social media?

My plan is to do an intro to social media workshop for faculty and administrators, have them start their own accounts as a part of the training, and allow time for a potentially lengthy Q&A session. Perhaps showing a real-time example of the power of social media (like Brad J. Ward's recent Twitter seminar experiment) might be in order.

What suggestions do you have?

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