Friday, August 18, 2017

Learning Social Media: It's Never Too Late To Grow!

As I begin a new chapter in the academic world, I find myself anticipating the possibilities of all that I have to learn as a part of Kennesaw State University's graduate certificate program in digital and social media. As the field of digital and social media opens up a new world to all of us, I am thrilled to be a part of a program that focuses on transforming us into knowledgeable pioneers. Even as many of us are long-time users of social media, we understand that this technology is constantly shifting and transforming our society, which gives us an opportunity to constantly expand our knowledge with the hope of being innovative in our usage for our careers, organizations, and as consumers.

So, what do I hope to learn?

One of my expectations of the current course I am enrolled in (Survey of Digital Social Media), is to learn as much as I can about how to effectively manage my usage of social media in both my personal life and as a part of building the brand for The Calamity Chronicle. Thankfully, KSU's program has partnered with Hootsuite, one of the premier tools for social media management and analytics. I am beyond thrilled to expand my knowledge by learning this important management tool, and see what insights I can gain through the statistical analysis through Hootsuite's social listening capabilities. This article from PCMag nicely breaks down Hootsuite's features and communicates what I can expect to gain from using the program to manage The Calamity Chronicle.


I also hope that I can learn how to stay informed on what social media sites are relevant to use to promote my brand, and how to use the unique capabilities of specific social media platforms to gain followers & readers. While I use tools such as Twitter and Facebook to update you all on new material posted here to the site, I want to know how else I can reach people. Right now, I am starting to realize that I need to add Snapchat to my toolbox, as indicated in an article from Forbes that shows increasing numbers of users in the age demographics that I hope to target as readers/listeners/followers.

How do fellow bloggers, writers, and podcasters use sites such as Snapchat and Instagram to promote readership and keep people interested? Are there any social media sites on the periphery that will be relevant to growing my brand?

Finally, I hope to also learn how to become an influencer in the world of blogging and podcasts, and how to inspire my audience to become influencers on my behalf. This is a lofty goal, certainly one that will take me out of my comfort zone. I have found that I have a difficult time promoting myself, and I tend to cringe at the amount of "selfies" I see people posing for constantly. Honestly, I was just criticizing an Instagram user the other day for having over 20 hashtags on a particular post, though internally, I know it is a necessary part of promotion. It is important that I overcome my cynicism of these integral uses of social media, as I learn how to professionally use these platforms to the advantage of my endeavors.


A final thought...

Social media is not static and our ability to learn and grow through the use of this technology should also be open to changes and evolution. As this new chapter in my academic life begins, the biggest lesson I am already learning is to remain open to all possibilities and platforms that may enable my continued growth as a writer. I am not "too old" to use Snapchat. I do need to explore how to use Instagram to promote my brand. I absolutely need to approach social media from the perspective that it is an invaluable tool that I must continually be open to learning about and use to my advantage. As I continue my academic journey as a part of KSU's program, I am hopeful that I will grow in my ability to be an effective communicator, regardless of platform or trend.

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