I’ve been traveling around for a few months now, speaking at animal welfare conferences about social media, and I’ve learned many things–but there are two things I find at every single conference:
1. Audience members range from people who are already on board with social media, using it daily in their organizations, and are hoping to learn new strategies and ideas–to people who have no idea what Twitter even is.
2. There’s never enough time to really go into detail about HOW to do things–I concentrate more on strategies and the “why” of doing things, and giving case studies of ways social media has worked for animal welfare organizations. But there’s not time for any hands-on demonstrations, or to answer specific questions that individual people may have about their own social media issues.
It almost feels like trying to teach a class that includes college students and first-graders. Neither is better than the other, but they have very different needs, and a teacher uses very different methods for such diverse audiences. With a “mixed crowd,” so to speak, I’m unable to do this.
So what I’m trying to do is find out other ways to reach people. Ways that are more personal, more one-on-one, where we are able to dive into issues specific to your shelter and your community and your own computer skills, and also to show you and walk you through the process of using these tools.
If you need help setting up an account, great–I can walk you through the steps of doing that. If you need direction on how to set up an advanced listening station using Tweetdeck and an autoresponder to Craigslist ads, then I can do that, too. But it’s hard to do both of those things in one session–one person will feel lost, and the other will feel bored at least part of the time!
So what I’m thinking is that I should do a series of webinars. What’s a webinar? Well, basically it’s a seminar on the web. I’m online at an appointed time, and you login to the proper web site at that time, and call in to the conference call on your phone–wherever you are in the world–and I go through a presentation. I might be on camera, I might show some slides, or we could walk through web sites together in real time. You can hear my voice over the phone, and you have the opportunity to ask questions as I go along.
My thought is to keep it pretty small, so that everyone can ask plenty of questions if they want to, and that keeps it manageable for about 1 hour–any longer and your brain gets tired! I would also break it into sessions–sessions for Twitter, for Facebook, for advanced users and for beginners, so that people could attend whichever session most interested them and fit their skill level.
At home in Oklahoma, as part of my paying job, I teach a social media class. it’s a 3 hour class and we limit it to 10 people. Everyone brings their computers and we walk through the process of setting up accounts, understanding how the tools work and all that. So a webinar would be like that, only we don’t have to be in the same room together.
This is the best solution I can think of to help you, and I think it would be very targeted to each group’s specific needs.
What do you think? Can you think of a better way? Would you be interested in attending an hour-long webinar that would teach you skills that were specific to your interest and ability, and where you could ask questions and get specific instructions?
If I get good feedback and people think this is a good idea, I’ll start putting some together and offering them soon. I’d love to hear what you think about this!