Wendy Harman from the Red Cross wished me a Happy Fourth of July with a Joey Chestnut reference which reminded of a post I wrote almost a year ago. Let me explain.
Joey Chestnut won the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest in 2008. His total for the day was 64 hot dogs. In 2009, he won again, beating his own record by consuming 68 hot dogs. The thought of consuming 68 hot dogs makes me feel a little uncomfortable. No downright sick in the stomach. It’s the same sort of discomfort that some people feel about approaching the task of listening for learning using the social web.
Doesn’t listening require plowing through mountains and mountains of unstructured information? Won’t it make you dizzy and uncomfortable? Don’t you have to be Joey Chestnut to be successful?
Networked Nonprofits understand this. They know how to use social media to engage people inside and outside the organization to improve programs, services, or reach communications goals. Everyone in the organization understands that social media is more than an external communications tool, and they use it adroitly for their professional learning and even their personal lives. Networked Nonprofits spell this out in their organization’s social media strategy handbook and policy guidelines and encourage personal exploration and learning.
It’s one thing to have it written in a social media policy. It’s quite another to put it into practice. It does require that someone inside of the organization can help with one-on-one coaching, answer questions, provide support, and do this without loosing their enthusiasm.
It is harder to convince people who aren’t already social media users to use it in their personal lives. One strategy is to use it as a professional learning tool. This can be put practice by using listening (and engaging techniques) for program development.
Three Tips for Getting Started
1. Think of Professional Learning As A Gift To Yourself