The AIM of Social Media & Web 2.0

Yesterday I gave a presentation entitled The AIM of Social Media & Web 2.0: Who? What? How? to a wonderful academic organization, The City University of New York (CUNY) Creative Arts Team (CAT).

Social Media & Web 2.0

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: social media)

As an alumnus of Hunter College (part of the CUNY system), I have always had a fondness for public higher education institutions that seek to bring creative and positive change to people here in NYC.

I adjusted the focus that I have seen others do in presenting and promoting social media and Web 2.0, in part because I am an instructional designer obsessed with needs analysis and a management communications adjunct instructor who completely focuses on everybody’s WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).

Thus, I spent time discussing how important it is to understand your audiences’ WIIFMs, clearly articulating your objectives in reaching them, and then (and only then) considering the social media options that will best help you deliver your message.

I think it is useless for organizations to dive into social media / social networking without doing their pre-work. I wonder if anybody else takes this approach?

Twitter Invitation to a Discussion Group

I found a new use of Twitter–quickly connect to an entire community.

Well, I did not necessarily discover this on my own, as it has been a recent topic of discussion on one of the discussion groups I follow, Online Facilitation. onlinefacilitation.jpgOne of the members of the group sent a Twitter follow request / email invitation to the mailing list itself, which in effect invited anybody and everybody in the community to click the link to then follow this person via Twitter.

Brilliant idea, I thought–how better to communicate with a group of people with similar interests than by sending a Twitter invite to the entire group! If we share this interest in online facilitation, as I thought about it, then perhaps sending this sort of Tweet to everybody in the group may in fact move the communication to a more public area (Twitter) , where people can continue to connect in another forum. Isn’t this what facilitating community is all about?

However, the issue of this being discussion board spam or an accident has also been raised. Here, I thought it was a brilliant community outreach (there are many people on the list I do not know nor have I ever met or seen) that tried to bring people together, while others perceived a similar outreach as more discussion group clutter. I know I usually do not actively seek people out on Twitter or any of the other social media (a bit shy, fear of rejection, or desire to be unobtrusive?), so when I get these invitations from others who have some similar interests, I am usually appreciative of their efforts.  That this came in a spam-like blanket that does not offer any immediate benefit for the current community (Twitter conversations would, of course, occur outside the current community) is also a very real concern. This is like sending donation emails, self-promotion communications, or even adverts to a discussion group, most of which are frowned upon. What surprised me the most was how little discussion this really did generate at all. 

That once again Twitter (I Tweet here, by the way) is used in an unintended way that sparks discussions that previously did not exist is a testament to how significant I really believe this technology to be.

What do you think?

Twitter Champion

I just read a fascinating post from Richard Azia, where he described some of his thoughts having recently Tweeted 10,000 times (in under a year!). He had some really thoughtful reflections about Twitter as a truly social media. I commented on his page about this, sharing my own thoughts about why I started to Tweet more. To quote my own reply:

. . . I have started using it [Twitter] again a lot more because of 3 reasons–I have a BlackBerry and started using TwitterBerry, since it makes it easier to Tweet while on the run. Secondly, I find myself more open to sharing things in my day as my own public reflective practice (like autoethnographic and narrative studies). Thirdly, I recently switched my blog from MovableType to WordPress, and use Twitter Tools–this allows me to have my daily Twitter feeds get automatically added to my blog (so I do not lose my thoughts if Twitter decides it wants to become a walled garden).

I here so many people argue for or against Twitter, that is is nice to here somebody share a rather humble explanation of how they use it. I like to see such examples, especially after hearing all the arguments.  

PowerPoint Slides Need Message Titles

One of the communication items I stress with my students is that PowerPoint slides require Message Titles, not Topic Titles. The difference? A message title tells the audience what to think, believe, do, or say as a result of your slide or presentation. Don’t just tell them the topic and allow them to draw their own conclusions, whatever they may be. If you have gone through all the work of gathering your message and are preparing to deliver it to an audience, you must have some point you want them to take away, something you want to persuade them to do or think, of even inform them that your vision of a situation is the most accurate one. To help them with this process, tell them by embedding your message or point in the slide title. When presenting, leave as little to chance as possible.

I started thinking about this with Garr Reynold’s post today about Bill Gates, where he compared a slide presentation from Bill Gates to one by Steve Jobs.

Bill Gates’ slides are overwhelming in content, the colors look dark and dreary, and as I scan the slides, I have no idea what main message (point? take-away? idea? belief? action?) he wants his audience to leave with. Granted, I am a huge fan of the business prowess of Bill Gates, and he undoubtedly said some interesting and challenging things while presenting, but I was not at the conference. I only have the slides, and reviewing them now does not help me at all. If anything, it has the opposite effect–what is he talking about? When they get printed and/or electronically distributed (as is happening here and at countless desks around organizations), they lose their meaning. That is not what a communicator wants.

Steve Jobs’ are clean, straight-forward, and more compelling. They follow what Seth Godin suggests with minimal text on slides so they help to reinforce the speaker’s message. Great for the audience that is there, perhaps, as long as they are primarily auditory learners. However, I have another reservation here–I was not in the audience at the time, and while the slides may indeed reinforce the presenter, that doesn’t do anything for me. Is Steve suggesting Apple is aiming at all-in-one? They have already achieved it? They want to ultimately sell only one all-in-one product? I am not sure. Once again, without message titles, I am clueless and left to my own thoughts.

Yes, presentations still have that “had to ‘been there” quality. BUT, as social media changes the way we work, it is also having an effect on how we communicate and consider the primary and secondary audiences we face. Message titles, even if they are just scattered through a presentation with the other slides filled with images and other engaging devices, will definitely help the various audiences far into our digital futures.

If only Amazon will hurry up with the delivery of Garr’s book Presentation Zen!