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Education – Investing in our Future – Social Media Training

Educating our kids to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil in social media

Thanks for joining me for this third installment of Education – Investing in our Future. You can catch up by reading the Series Introduction and Curriculum Development posts. This post will focus on one of our recent brainstorms – educating our kids on the proper use of social media!

We’ve all read blog posts bemoaning the alarming content that our kids are willing to share in the social stream. Perhaps our own kids are shocking us with their indiscretion regarding what is appropriate to share to the public. We still bear a responsibility to teach our own kids about reasonable boundaries of disclosure, but what if we could run 1-2 hour seminars in the middle school and high school classrooms? Of course, we also need to point out the benefits of using social media to begin crafting a personal brand for future employers and colleges to review.

Here are some of the highlights we are considering. Due to the limited amount of time in a 1-2 hour presentation, we would only broach these topics with a focus on the most common social media platforms. I hope you can benefit from these suggestions as well as offer up new ideas in the spirit of crowd-sourcing to best equip our students:

  1. Privacy Settings

Are you astonished at what K12 kids are sharing via social media? This section of the presentation would focus on the privacy settings for both YouTube and Facebook. Although many students will continue to flaunt their content to the largest audiences possible, we would explain the differences between Friends and “Friends of Friends”, Wall-to-Wall communications, Messages and Lists. On YouTube, we would discuss public/private URLs, and the consideration of either disabling all comments or moderating comments to keep other users from adding inappropriate content to your channel.

  1. Cyber-Bullying

With the discussion of Wall-to-Wall communication and private messages, we need to outline the boundaries of acceptable behavior when it involves bullying. Cyber-bullying is even more gutless than physical bullying, yet the abuse continues to escalate. We will provide statistics and case studies to illustrate the effects of this terrible behavior.

  1. Appropriate Content and Disclosure

The Internet.Never.Forgets. Posting graphic photos, prejudicial rants and diatribes about parents, teachers, employers and fellow students will follow you forever! Again, we can provide case studies to show how users were not selected for jobs or college placement as well as examples of arrests and lost child custody cases due to publishing inappropriate content.

  1. LinkedIn Profiles

Did I mention that one day I forbade my recently graduated high school senior from going out on a Friday night until she started her LinkedIn profile? As both a professional and an employer, I believe in the power of LinkedIn, professional networking and personal branding. We are much more likely to find employees via LinkedIn connections, group memberships and profile reviews than from any resume or generic job board profile. We are no longer constrained to a “References upon Request” line at the bottom of our resumes; instead, we can proactively solicit recommendations from employers, instructors and coaches. If students are in a competitive scenario for job placement or college acceptance, a well-crafted LinkedIn profile could be the difference maker! This section of the social media training program will focus on what constitutes a 100% complete LinkedIn profile including keywords, Honors & Activities, Interests, Recommendations and Job History.

  1. Blogs and other Social Profiles

This topic is even more advanced than a detailed LinkedIn discussion. However, some students may benefit from additional knowledge regarding platforms they can use to promote their personal brands to employers and colleges. We can briefly touch upon topics like YouTube channels, Facebook Fan Pages, Pinterest Boards and blogging platforms. This section could also briefly discuss content creation, content curation and online influence.

  1. Digital Media Careers

A discussion around content creation and curation provides a great transition into talking about Digital Media Careers. High-tech is not constrained to careers like software development, testing, project management and network engineering. We can complete our social media training sessions with the highlights regarding digital media careers that include social media strategy, social media marketing and even content creation via blogging. Let’s get these kids excited about the wide world of technology and careers available to them!

Finally Viveka VonRosen had an outstanding idea when we were discussing social media training ideas for students – a live TweetChat! We could introduce students to the power of TweetChats for education and sharing ideas. Think of how many high school juniors and seniors, and even college students, would benefit from chats like #CollegeCash! I will post more about this topic as we develop the concept, but Viveka has already recommended the use of #LinkedInKids for the chat hashtag.

What would you add to this list? More importantly, would you support your own children attending this type of onsite, in-class presentation? I look forward to your comments!

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Brian Vickery

I love my Vickery Girls - and grandsons! My career has blessed me to the point I was able to start a new consultancy in 2018: Analytic Integrity. I look to provide analytic experience, and business integrity, to an Analytics world while helping data-driven organizations mature. I enjoy teaching and coaching, watching football and basketball, and playing tennis. I graduated UT-Austin.

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  1. Brian, aloha. This is a fantastic idea and much needed. It’s not just kids who forget that what happens online stays there forever, adults do too! Oftentimes I look at what people post and think “would you truly want a future friend or potential employer to see this?”

    As a matter of fact, I have chosen not to build relationships with some people because of what they posted.

    Anyway, back to your topic. Viv is fabulous and you are so fortunate that she is in CO. The tweetchats you mention would be excellent intros for people as well as a terrific way to build relationships.

    You daughter will be so far ahead of the game because she is starting her LinkedIn profile now. Is there a book teachign young folks how to do LI? Actually, Viv must have some posts on that on her blog because I know we have discussed it on #LinkedInChat. If she has not written an official book on the topic, she should create an ebook on the topic.

    Brian, I really, really like this idea. Even though I neither have kids nor live in CO, I am excited about what you and your team are doing for the educational system. You can be the master chefs in creating this oh-so-needed cookie cutter.

    Look forward to seeing your vlog on Social Slam. Hope you had a fabulous time. Until later, aloha. Janet

    • Thanks for stopping by, Janet. Did you know that I had no clue that Viveka was in CO? I was just chatting with her while getting ready for my flight to Knoxville! I bet those #LinkedInChat sessions are chock full of great information.

      I’m wingin’ it with the ideas, Janet. The CTA Education Committee does seem interested in the “Social Media seminar in a box” that could provide a repeatable seminar solution to take into the high schools (and perhaps even colleges). Let’s see if K-12 school districts will allow this type of training onsite. The goal is to educate students both on the pitfalls and the advantages of responsible social media usage.

      I agree with you regarding not building relationships with people based upon their online personas. Who needs that kind of stuff to add poison to their day??

  2. While I see some real benefit in this kind of education for students and adults I would think a monthly series for 45-60 minutes would be most beneficial. People seem to retain more info when it is in shorter increments of time. Maybe an outline summary first session and opportunity for audience to put in questions to cater to their needs. Seems like these technologies are constantly changing too so this would also give time to address problems, new things to try etc. I think there are many adults who could benefit from this info so maybe a spring and fall opportunity at night where parents or family could get educated too. They can invite grandparents, neighbors, others and that increases awareness and appreciation for our schools too.

    • That is one advantage of a recurring chat on Twitter. If you started out with the 1-2 hour onsite presentation, but attendees knew they could then attend at least one Twitter chat to get their questions answered, then that would be a great combination. That is why I liked Viveka’s suggestion to have a live TweetChat called #LinkedInKids, so we could even coach them through the etiquette/etc.

      I also agree that adults would also benefit; however, we can’t scale out that much as part of this committee. This would be great if local Chambers of Commerce (or public libraries) offered these types of classes monthly. By our attempting to take this to the classroom, we not only reach our target audience of students…but we also target educators and do some “train the trainers” seminars.

  3. Hi, Brian,
    Loving the series! For something like this to work, it would have to be totally hands-on and with 100% immediate results. Just telling the students about the benefits is not enough, sad to say. I have learned this the hard way, unfortunately. So, having small groups of students working in pods with laptops and a coach/mentor, getting them signed up, starting their first tweets, LI profiles, etc., then breaking out and doing quick reports to the outer group. Then, they walk away with something tangible and something that they can continue. What would be even more awesome is if after these sessions, the teachers could make an immediate bridge to using Twitter, LI, etc. in classroom instruction. Then, there is a seamless transition from the cognitive right into the performance-base and hopefully into full-on infrastructure of the student’s professional/personal life. Ooh… my mind is on fire for ways that I am going to incorporate some of these things into both my public speaking and interpersonal classes in the fall. Thank you! Ellen @chattyprof

    • I like your “hands-on lab” approach, Ellen. I’ve done something similar when teaching other classes, so I should have thought about it for this one. That’s why I have you as a reader – you make valuable idea contributions!

      I’m glad the series inspires you to add to your own classes. I definitely want to see these topics covered at the college level, also. Another “OP” series for you…

  4. There are some great lessons to be learned from our kids at an early age. Never considered having my kids start a LinkedIn page! I’m thinking it would be good to add to a Careers class in high school! I’m going to talk to my daughter about it tonight! She graduates from college next weekend!

    • I think it is appropriate by their junior or senior year. Sets them up to “separate from the job applicant pack” for summer jobs and internships as well as college placement consideration. That same type of training should be required at the college level. We have a responsibility to not only educate our kids but ensure they put the best foot forward to becoming gainfully employed, productive, fulfilled contributors to society. They become part of our solution vs another social problem because we did not do our duty to prepare them.


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