Play and Social Media Training

Over at Netsquared.org Amy Sample Ward has posted another of their regular ThinkTank questions. This time around it’s:

What are the key questions nonprofit orgs should ask to help them determine how to prioritize social media training and experimentation as they do their technology and organization-strengthening planning?

I’m coming in a bit late. There are some good responses appearing, such as those from Ashley Messick and Beth Kanter which offer a number of key questions to consider when developing a strategy for your organisation. The responses to date are summarised on the netsquared site.

The element I’d like to emphasise is finding out who in your team already plays with these things and how. There’s an increasing chance that there will be people in your organisation who already devote some of their free time (and maybe even work time) to activities that fall under ‘social media’, whether or not they recognise it: staff members with facebook profiles, a keen photographer who meets others on flickr, or someone who throws the odd video up on youtube. There are a lot of people who have used ‘social media’ in some way shape or form. It may take some careful facilitation to turn those playful experiences into strategic ideas for your organisation, but they should not be overlooked.

In a strong sense, most of your audience’s interactions with social media will fall under the category of play. These websites and media are all about social interactions and free-form creativity, and it’s vital to maintain some of that in your training and your approach to engagement. You don’t have to turn everything into a game (though the power of games is well worth considering) but people are much more likely to remain engaged and your staff are going to remain energised if there’s a sense of playfulness about how you use social media.

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