Conference, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, StudentAffairs

Have You Thought About Your Digital Self Lately?

While working on today’s workshop for the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL), I was listening to the recent Higher Ed Live broadcast with Ed & Josie talking “Engaging the Digital Generation” (an NDSS book they edited, and I contributed to — I promise to follow up on a blog post on this topic later). I was not surprised, but often wondered why student affairs (SA) and higher ed folks often go directly to technology:

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Why do practitioners in higher education, student affairs, and students services always go to the “tool” question first? Why do we want to know what’s “hot” with the digital, social technologies? Is it easier to think about a specific app, device, or platform? Why don’t we ask about the challenges or issues the technology is solving?  A wise supervisor once told me: Study problems, not things. The “thing” I’m thinking about are technology tools and platforms.

I am more interested how our campus stakeholders engage and interact with social and digital tools. What is their motivation and how are these online networks being utilized? Perhaps we should challenge professionals in higher education to start thinking about their own presence. I think it’s a good idea to reflect on our own contributions and social traces we are leaving in digital spaces and places [Hence why Paul & I are are studying just that: https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/] .  I really like the Visitors & Residents Continuum (White & Le Cornu, 2011) concept, which is also shared by Dave White (and colleagues from OCLC & Jisc) via a few resources and videos. Visitors tend to leave no social traces in the digital world. If you are Resident you are visible, active, and leave a part of you online in many spaces and places. If you have not heard of this concept, here’s a quick overview of the mapping process for visitor and resident in a personal and institutional (professional) context:

I think more thought and reflection into HOW and WHY we use these online networks and digital apps are needed. Here’s a start of my own visualization of my visitor and resident spaces & places — more will be added this afternoon during my NCSL Professional Workshop:

v_r_map_pasquiniHave you mapped your own V-R continuum lately? It’s an interesting process to think about and visualize. If so — please share and/or blog about it! To further this idea, what are the digital skills we need to hone within higher education? Here are a few suggestions organized on a metro map around digital skills:

digitalskillsframework

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This digital skills framework map was a solid start, but it definitely needs to be added to – what are your thoughts on this topic? How are you engaging and interacting with these spaces and places? What do we need to learn and bring to campus when it comes to digital understandings of self? How are you thinking about your resident vs. visitor self online? Show and share!

Reference:

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Book Review, edusocmedia, Learning and Performance, Professional Development, Training & Development

#BookReview: The New Social Learning, 2nd Edition #NewSocialLearning

The first edition of this book, The New Social Learning, was published 5 years ago. I read and have a copy of it on my bookshelf; however, we know that emerging and connected technologies have continued to flourish and influence our organizations. The social technology landscape has changed since 2010. There are a number of new platforms, additional functionalities and communication channels, an increase of utilization and adoption by our organizations, and a much greater acceptance of social media being applied for learning and development. Marcia Conner and Tony Bingham have recently published an updated version of this book with The New Social Learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work, 2nd Ed.* The latest edition provides a number of excellent case studies for how social media is being implemented in workplace learning, development, and performance.

SocialLearningBingham and Conner (2015, p. 8) define social learning as the “joining with others to make sense of and create new ideas…[it] is augmented with social media tools that bridge distance and time, enabling people to easily interact across workplace, passion, curiosity, skill or need. It benefits from a diversity in types of intelligence and in the experiences of those learning.” What is really “new” about this type of social learning with emerging technologies is the impact these platforms and tools have to the experience. “Social tools leave a digital audit trail, documenting our journey – often an unfolding story – and provide a path for others to learn from” (Bingham & Conner, 2015, p. 9). Social media facilitates the empowerment of learning among your networked peers beyond the limitations of geography or time.  I appreciate how the authors identify what is NOT the new social learning (e.g. informal, e-learning, MOOCs, just for knowledge workers, in contrast to formal learning/education), and how this type of learning is meant to augment, not replace, training, knowledge management, and communication practices in our organizations. As technology has accelerated change in the workplace, Bingham and Conner (2015, p. 18-19) see the opportunity to implement a new social learning strategy based on these changes in work:

  • The accelerated pace of change requires agility. Consider agile values for the workplace.
  • Our technologies go where we go without any boundaries. Not all can be controlled, contained, or developed from within an organization.
  • Our shifting workplace demographics change expectations, with regards to generations, gender, culture.
  • People desire personal connection to communicate, collaborate, and share.

Although the authors share a number of success stories about individuals and organizations who are engaged in social media to enhance learning, they do offer potential critiques and considerations for governance of social tools. By including applied examples and practice to social learning theory, this book identifies suggested approaches and considerations for implementation of a new social learning program as outlined by its table of contents (TOC):

  1. Reach Out and Connect – Introduction to the book topic and focus (download the TOC and part of Chapter 1 here: http://www.thenewsociallearning.com/)
  2. Embark on the Journey – Setting goals and planning for the “new social learning”
  3. Transition and Engage – Strategic steps for implementation of social media for learning
  4. Never Give Up – Reminders, challenges, suggestions, and issues to consider
  5. Analyze Insights and Returns – Suggested methods and areas to evaluate and measure
  6. In-Person Learning Reimagined – Opportunity to engage in F2F social learning from the springboard of social tools
  7. Appendix: Social Media Governance – Examples of a few corporate policies and guidelines to consider for your organization

Chapter 5 provided excellent considerations on how to analyze and understand stakeholders when considering a social (media) learning approach. This section outlines this lightweight analysis to help quantify social and digital tool adoption. As I tend to work with non-profits, K-12, higher education, and professional/trade associations, I modified the descriptions and questions from this section of Bingham and Conner’s (2015, pp. 206-252) book to focus the analysis for learning and development organizations:

  • Analysis 1 – Perspective: Do you have a sense of how people in your organization feel about the company/institution, each other, their clients, etc.? What if you could better map the perspective of your stakeholders? What is your priority with a new social learning approach? It will be critical to analyze patterns of attitudes, feelings, conversation tone, and individual voices in your organization by reviewing the unstructured data created by social and digital platforms.
  • Analysis 2 – Engagement: How important is it to have a large majority of your organization fully engaged in their work and/or learning? Are your stakeholders aware of the organization’s vision, mission, and purpose? What does it mean to have engaged educators and/or learners in your organization, with regards to online participation, generative production, and choices for collaboration?
  • Analysis 3 – Connectedness:  How do you want individuals in your organization to know each other or, at least, have a method by which they can get to know what skills and knowledge everyone brings to the table? Have you conducted an organizational network analysis yet? Do you have a method for sharing information, managing knowledge, and directing your organizational stakeholders to resources and/or other people?
  • Analysis 4 – Fiscal Fitness: Are you concerned that social (media) will be of little value to your organization? Are you afraid there is no way to measure the value many assure you is there with social media for learning? What is the ROI for social learning? Sometimes there might not be direct counts; however bench-marking our own performance indicators will help with identifying new opportunities to balance the reward-risk ratio. Outcomes of social learning might be noticed in the side effects, i.e., increased employee morale, a decline in sick days, or a growth in collaborative team projects.
  • Analysis 5 – Impact: How do you know what you are doing is actually making an impact to your organization? How have social (media) tools improved or supported your own learning and development? Is there a change in behavior, opinions, attitudes, and experiences of your stakeholders? Do you notice an increase in productivity or improved learning outcomes?
  • Analysis 6 – Influence: Do you know how collaboration and communication change measures of authority and the effect it has on who is “seen” to provide real value? Influence can come from a position of authority; however, it might also is socially and informally created with our digital, network tools. Involving all stakeholders to participate and identifying impactful messaging from leadership will be critical for open communication. You might not realize how pluralistic ignorance can impede social change in your organization.
  • Analysis 7 – Attention: Do you know how your own stakeholders can dramatically multiply the value of their own and their colleagues’ knowledge? Are your stakeholders paying attention to key messages and less attention to distracting noise? What are the key trends and movements in your organization on these social channels? Do you have a pulse of the conversation and needs on these platforms? Believe it or not, there is life without email.
  • Analysis 8 – Capacity: How do you want to expand the social learning methods and platforms you use to understand and maintain the critical skills needed for your organization? How can you analyze and foster leadership, interests, knowledge, content, or geographic distribution, for your social learning approach?
  • Analysis 9 – Change: How can you best understand your organization’s culture and the impact social approaches will have on transforming learning and development? How will you conduct a learning culture audit that includes the assessment of social media platforms for learning? How will you communication the transformation of your learning approach to the organization?
  • Analysis 10 – Fill the Holes:  How can you help others in your organization imagine a future and stimulate exploration of topics and ideas that might not fit into an existing structure? Can you conduct a personal network assessment to identify who in your organization might help to “fill in the missing holes” for your social learning approach? How might you analyze and review the real-time experience on your social media platforms?

Reference:

Bingham, T., & Conner, M. (2015). The new social learning: Connect. Collaborate. Work., 2nd Edition. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.

*Full disclosure: The @NewSocialLearn book was sent to me by @ATD Press to read and post a review on my blog. Thank you for the read – it was enjoyed. 

Book Review, Social Media

Book Review: The Etiquette of Social Media

At the end of last year, I was a lucky GoodReads.com winner of Leonard Kim’s (a.k.a. @MrLeonardKim) book – The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media. As I teach a professional development class and write/research this topic, with regards to social media learning and performance, I thought this might be an interesting read to add to my shelf.
Thanks for the book @MrLeonardKimOur lives are more social and online. For those who say “in real life” or “IRL” – let me just tell you, social media is real life. There are less distinctions and divisions between our online and offline selves. That being said, there has been little provided to model good behaviors and polite encounters on social media platforms. Little Miss Manners ought to write a quick overview for social media; however I think that Leonard Kim got to it first with this book. There are a number of questions and situations that need to be addressed with individual use of social media, and Leonard Kim attempts to provide examples and strategies the following questions he introduces in this book:

  • Should we act however we want online?
  • Should we censor ourselves?
  • Are we supposed to act civilized on certain platforms but casual on others?
  • What happens if we encounter a bully [online]?
  • How do we start a conversation with a potential business partner, client or future employer?

When I read these questions, I immediately thought about the number of questions I am asked about using and interacting with social media on a regular basis:

  • Do I have to have a professional photo/avatar?
  • Should I include my full name on my social media platform or website URL?
  • Should I start a blog
  • Who should monitor our office social media account(s)? And how should this be done?
  • Should I have more than one profile to interact with my colleagues vs. students?
  • What social media spaces should I be active on to learn or network within the field?
  • Who can I go for help with my own social media development/use?

With in the influx of social media platforms and increasing amount of users within our professional online networks, there are a number of questions being added to both lists. This book was a light read, with some great points and examples for both my students and early career professionals/academics who frequent social media – or want to use it further learning and performance.

Kim’s book addresses the individual use of social media, and implications using these platforms might have in your personal and professional life. In other social media books, there is a directive for organizational content development, marketing, and/or business; however these text rarely mention how professional should interact and behave online. Kim offers examples of interactions and posts from common social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora. Although these tools might be used right now, he addresses acceptable behavior online in any forum and encouragers his readers to be nice and respectful. Other segments of this text address personal/professional goals that includes research, building a good reputation, being polite with interactions, connecting with others, and seeking out a mentor for advice. Many of these concepts can be applied to online communication and development; but really have a greater focus on professional growth and life objectives. In contrast, later chapters do detail the potential negative aspects for being active on social media, such as  negative comments, how to manage online attacks, and how to deal with cyber bullying.

The bonus final chapter identifies how to effectively reach out to a new contact and how to avoid awkward interactions with digital messages. This section is dedicated to supporting those who want to gain experience with effective “cold call” social media messages to potential peers, collaborators, employers, etc. To be honest, a number of my students could use the basics for effective e-mail drafting and see the examples provided in this chapter, including these common denominators for a successful message (Kim, 2014, p. 92):

  • Grammar is properly used.
  • Address the respondent by name.
  • Each message has a unique sense of personality, reflecting the messenger.
  • A heartfelt and genuine compliment is stated at the beginning.
  • Build common ground on points and based on initial research.
  • Show that you respect and value the time of the message recipient.
  • Provide a reason behind the message.

Overall, I appreciate how this book deals with social media and the individual use, specifically personal interactions and polite communication. For staff and faculty in higher education, Kim provides some helpful examples and useful facts throughout the book, and it is a quick read for your students.

Reference:

Kim, L. (2014). The etiquette of social media: How to connect and respond to others in the world of social media.

ACPAdigital, StudentAffairs

Introducing the @ACPA Digital Task Force: Project Planning

This year I am fortunate to be collaborating with an invested group of scholar-practitioners on the ACPA Digital Task Force to  examine how technology impacts and influences post-secondary education student development. The various teams involved will focus on how the digital realm influences our campus communities, with regards to  crisis management, communication channels, programming initiatives, learner competencies, practitioner implications, curriculum development, and research contributions.

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This year our specific team, comprise of Paul, Jason, Erik & myself, will be working on “Informed and Responsible Engagement with Social Technology.” Here is a snapshot of what our key focus area is about from the blog:

Our work is focused on educating students about their use of social and digital technologies.  To that end, our group will focus on how to effectively educate students on:

  1.     The new rules of social technology engagement.
  2.     Acting authentically, ethically and with civility in one’s online and offline life.
  3.     The opportunities and impact of social technology participation.

Although students are our main priority, we also recognize that educators need to be informed and skilled to engage students on this topic.  Therefore, our group will also focus on educating educators on these topics and how they can translate this knowledge into learning opportunities for their students.

We are interested in getting feedback, soliciting author contributions, writing educational resources, and more as the year progresses. If you are currently working on resources for informed and responsible use of social technology for campus, specifically for your learners – let us know! Do you have experience in collaborative writing, curriculum development, instructional design, and/or creating train-the-training facilitation guides? We want to hear from you!

To learn more about The ACPA Digital Task Force:

http://digitaltaskforce.myacpa.org/

Dissertation, Social Media

Policing Social Media in Higher Ed: Implementing Policies on Campus

During the course of my dissertation research, a few events connected to the scope of my study, and directly to the social media documents I was gathering.  I ended up building a database of 250 post-secondary education (PSE) institutional guidelines and policies to completely understand HOW the PSE sector is ACTUALLY  “guiding” social media. More importantly my research uncovers the organizational identity and cultural values of social media among 10 different countries. {More to be shared post dissertation defense June 12, 2014.}

If you are interested in either research around policies and/or social media impact to organizations, specifically post-secondary education, then you most likely heard about the Kansas Board of Regents approval to amend their policy manual back in December 2013 to outline “improper use of social media by University of Kansas faculty.” If not, I have an article and infographic of the timeline of events for you:

KBOR Policies

Image and article credits from The Daily University Kansan ().

Concerns about social media use have been a continual debate and topic for higher education for at least a decade. There have been challenges to using social media accounts for “official” use, faculty blogging, HR employee regulations, or just a general “need” for increased policy implementation among a number of colleges and universities.  The PSE sector is not alone. The K-12 sector and other industries also are keen to social media polices around use and sharing for their stakeholders.

All THAT being said, I have a few questions for you:

  • HOW does (or will) a social media policy influence and impact your institutional culture?
  • Does (or will) your social media policy support your student services or research at your organization?
  • What goals and outcomes do you (or will you) achieve by implementing a social media policy on campus?
  • Does your (or will your) policy consider helpful guidelines, suggested practices, and/or training and development?
  • How does (or will) your social media policy be implemented with regards to teaching, service, and research scholarship?

Or is your PSE concerned with communication control and organizational management?  I would hope your institution of higher learning does not limit user interaction, community engagement, or general opportunities to share opinions.

From my dissertation findings, I hope to continue on this thread of research to identify ACTUAL use, related to the social media guideline and policy documents I have studied, to further understand how participation and interactions on these social media channels influence organizational identity and culture on campus. Is your campus listed in my PSE institution sample? Are YOU interested is getting involved in this type of research? Let me know.

Training & Development

Social Media to Support Your Organization

Last week I was invited to participate in the Southlake Chamber of Commerce’s UNT Professional Develop Fridays. I wrapped up the series by discussing how to effectively plan and organize social media resources for to build a community for businesses and organizations in the city.

This workshop focussed on strategies and practical applications of how social media platforms can be utilized to enhance organizations, with regards to:

  • Effective communication and marketing methods
  • Customer engagement and community development
  • Development of a communication strategy to support organizational goals
  • Implementation of social media tools to enhance goods & services

We discussed how their organizations in Southlake could “get social” (Twitter notes from the session: #SocialSouthlake) by connecting business strategies to broader communication plans and community management ideas.

Discussion points from this workshop included:

  • Be an active participant in social media platforms – explore before you plan
  • Set goals that are realistic with social media – pick 1-3 platforms to start with and use them well.
  • Map out a strategic plan for social media implementation (see worksheet) connected with your business plan.
  • Research your community and partners in the industry – get to know your audience and others participating in your potential community
  • Consider methods that build and growth your community offline and online
  • Designate a community manager, or a few to lead your development and planning
  • Identify champions from your community, i.e. individuals who are active participants from within the community, who will support your social media implementation and growth
  • Plan content directly connected to your purpose and mission
  • Effective methods to measure and track progress related to goals

 

Additional resources from this session can be found here: http://bit.ly/SocialSouthlake

Thanks for the invite @Southlake_CC … be sure to keep it social. 🙂