The training industry is changing rapidly and technology plays a big role in that change, especially social media. However, like any change, there are positives and negatives that come with it.  Today, I’d like to discuss a few pros of social media as it relates to our industry and then I’ll follow it up with a post on some of the cons.

What is Social Media?

Wikipedia has a good detailed definition of social media. I see it as technology that allows people to connect and share information.  To be more specific, it’s about being connected to a community that shares interests and has a desire to share expertise around that interest. The social media technology just facilitates the connection.

The Growth of Social Media Technology

Most people in our industry probably see the following three services as their core social media tools: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Many organization are also using internal social media services like Yammer and Slack .

However, everyday there seems to be a new tool and people in our industry willing to hype it up. Look at some of the recent raves about Pokemon Go by the same people who were peddling Second Life just a few years ago. New technology can be both positive and negative. New ways to connect and share are good. But if you use a service and no one’s there, what good is it? Remember Google Wave or even Google+?

Many of the new and novel social media tools will be gone soon enough or they’ll be consumed by larger organizations. Sticking with the three above is probably more than adequate for our needs today.

Does your organization use a social media service? What do you think about it? How have is it helped your job?

Pros of Social Media: Curated Content

One of the biggest values of social media is the content stream. There’s a lot of really good information being shared everyday by all sorts of people in our industry. The challenge is knowing what’s out there and then sorting it by what’s important.

  • Find content curators. Some people are really good at curating and staying on top of things. They’re the curators and you’re the beneficiary. For example, David Anderson is one of the elearning people I follow on Twitter. Even though I work with him, I’m always amazed at how well he curates and posts a lot of relevant links and lots of cool elearning examples—just the sort of practical content our community needs. The same can be said for organizations. Articulate does a great job highlighting it’s customers, free downloads, templates, and cool elearning examples
  • Follow topics not people. Another way to stay on top of the good content is to track topics is via hashtag. Instead of following a person, or everyone in an industry (which can be overwhelming), follow topic-specific hashtags like #elearning or #training. You will stay on top of all posts relevant to that topic.I use Hootsuite to manage what I do, but there are other apps out there, too. Do you use a social media application? Which one?
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