Social Media for the Newbies

I recently spoke at the School PR in North Texas group (North Central Texas region of the Texas School Public Relations Association) on the topic of Social Media for School Districts. I received some very good feedback from members. I also noticed a look of eyes that were glazing over at some of the ideas presented.

I think most everyone present had heard of social media in some form or another but maybe had not tried it themselves. There was even a point were it seemed that social media was being confused with social networking and that social networking had a bad rap in society. Public perception problems with MySpace tended to be where the certain group members turned their attention. (Note: social networking is a type of social media.)

This discussion had me thinking during the presentation that I was speaking to individuals with very different levels of engagement with social (or new) media. I realized that for school communication/PR professionals, we need to work to bring as many people as we can to understand the new forms of community engagement.

I’ve decided to find and bring to you dear reader a few quality, ground-level explanation-type links or ideas for the Social Media Newbie. There is no shame in being a newbie, in fact be proud of wanting to be a learner and expanding your communication repertoire.

Up first, Social Media by video:

I am a huge fan of The Common Craft Show. These guys are great explainers. They call it “sense-making for the masses.” There is a collection of videos called In Plain English, where seemingly difficult concepts are explained in, well you get the idea. Check out their In Plain English Videos covering the following: Blogs, Social Networking, RSS (Feed Syndication), Social Bookmarking, Wikis, and for fun check out Zombies.

Here’s the Common Craft Show Video: Blogs In Plain English:

When you are ready to move on, check out Social Media Strategies covering “the basic ingredients of social media.” Then proceed to archived lessons. Not all of the videos will cover aspects pertinent to school communications, but having the individual knowledge will only help make you a more effective communicator.

I’ll find more to add to the collection, but I would encourage you seek out other new media basics so we can get closer to speaking the same languages.


3 Responses

  1. I think what you are doing here is great. One of the hardest parts of using various social media appropriately is defining the terms.

  2. I think we assume that the “why” of using new Internet tools is universally known and recognized, when for a lot of people, that isn’t the case. Once a school PR professional believes that it’s a valuable tool, they’ll have the motivation to either learn more on their own or make it a priority for their department.

    So, instead of getting into the details of what’s available, we need to go back a step and say “here’s why you can’t afford to not do this.”

    I’m toying with putting together a document to that effect, but I’m not sure where to go with that. It would be an interesting personal time project to make a simple site to explain the benefits and debunk the myths.

  3. Thanks again, Kami for your words of encouragement and for producing an exceedingly relevant and worthy blog!

    Dave, I would like to see more from you on this topic. Especially since you obviously “get it” and can help explain it to our school communication professionals.

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