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How to explain “social media” in 60 minutes

Posted on Oct 19th, 2010 by

So what is this "social media" all about, then?

Remember the shout-out post I wrote a couple of months ago, asking for social media volunteers at the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia?

Well, over forty volunteers raised their hand, and invested a fair share of their time and expertise in putting the social media strategy together to cover the four days of the Share Fair.
Social media enthusiasts from all over the world defined what tools we were going to use, refined the process of gathering content for social reporting and tested some technical solutions to the various challenges we faced.

This week, it is all happening. Twenty social media volunteers are here on site in Addis Ababa. They are attending all sessions, workshops and trainings as participants or trainers, but also as social reporters. They are gathering the core messages of each event in the form of:

During “Day 0″, the preparation day, over 180 participants were trained on knowledge sharing and social media tools they would use in the following three days. I was “appointed as the volunteer” to wrap up the training day, giving an overview of the social media tools available on the market today.

So how does one give an overview of such an extensive topic in 60 minutes?

As I like content better than fancy Powerpoint presentation forms, I used a primitive method of a blank white board, cards and different stories to engage the audience (yes it had been a busy and long day for them)…

  1. I told the story how I got started in social media, pretty much like most of them have or will start one day: “I had content”.
    In my case, four years ago, I wanted to publish a book on the web. I had never published anything on the Internet before, and thought the web was still reigned by the almighty webmasters, with almighty HTML knowledge and the like.
  2. As the story went, I googled “easy web publishing” and hit on “Blogging”, which brought me to “Blogger” and a day later, I had my first blog online. With the first chapter of my book.
    Voila.. I had discovered social media. Which brought me to the definition of social media:

    • A series of web-based applications
    • …Enabling anyone to publish almost any type of content (asked the audience who has ever published anything on the web) with little of no technical expertise
    • … enabling a dialogue about that content with an audience
  3. And then came the main part of the session: I had prepared cards for each ‘type’ or ‘family’ of social media tools, divided up by the type of content they generated. I asked the audience to name one type, or one brand, or one tool they knew, and worked with them to typify the “family” name of that social media “category”.
  4. As each card came up on the white board, I asked examples of that ‘social media family’, and what they used this tool for
  5. As time went by, the white board showed 9 cards:

    Capturing the world of social media

I was pleasantly surprised how many people came up with tools which were new to many. When we “discovered” an “unknown” tool, I showed the site on an overhead projector.

In all, it became a fun and engaging to-and-fro discussion about tools, the pro and cons of them, and specific uses.

And that is how I explained social media in 60 minutes.

Pictures courtesy Roxy Samii and Jan Gerits




One Comment to “How to explain “social media” in 60 minutes”

  1. Sounds like it’s gonna be a educational and wonderful. I wish I could be there. You can never learn too much about social media. :-)

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