Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Social Networking Lessons From Grade School Children and Their Teachers

No more pencils, no more books....OK, that little sing-song is revealing just how long it’s been since I was in school. And another academic year comes to a close. Over the past year, I’ve spent the majority of my free time in the company of grammar school teachers, and have drawn some key lessons about social media from them and from their students that I apply to my dual professions- integrated marketing and fitness/lifestyle. 
Social Media Lessons For Corporate and Fitness/Lifestyle Marketers From Schoolchildren and Teachers:
  • It’s not about having the most toys or even the most expensive toys; it’s about having the best toys and convincing everyone else to want them.
  • It’s not about having the most friends (or customers or fans or followers); it’s about devoting your energy to those who are most relevant to you.
  • There are many ways to share what you’ve learned. The best way is to tell people with a few clear words and a loud voice.
  • If you boast about something great you can do (i.e. on the playground, bench press, or in a data security algorithm), be prepared to deliver or you will be like the boy who cried wolf.
  • Digital media is great but it doesn’t replace the ability to see, touch, hear, taste, and smell simultaneously. Play to all the senses.
  • You never know what a child (or customer, or training client) is dealing with outside the classroom. Be gentle. 
  • You may be good at baseball but fall short in gymnastics. Ask someone who is talented in gymnastics to help you. And then you help him in baseball. You both improve. That’s how it works.
  • If your parents do your homework for you, how will you ever learn? 
  • Your idea of “good” or “better” may be different from someone else’s. Understand what your students, teachers, clients, managers, etc. think is “great.” Perception is reality.
  • If you offend someone, say you’re sorry. If someone offends you, accept her apology. We’re all human.
  • Social forums are not just for complaints. If you like something, tell everyone you know. You may even wish to draw a picture. 
  • We can measure a lot of things: grades, revenue, member retention, etc. But some things--such as true causality for a purchase decision or enjoyment of phys ed and music classes--do not have established metrics. Yet, their benefits are substantial and lasting.
  • Misunderstandings and miscommunications happen despite our best efforts to avoid them. We’re human. It’s never just one person’s fault. Hug it out and move on. 
  • Share your snacks. You may be hungry yourself someday. 
  • You can succeed without someone else having to fail. We’re all better off if we just help each other. 
  • If you focus on the task at hand, you can complete all the major work before 2:00PM. 
  • If you hear it as a song, you’re more likely to remember it.
  • Along with titles such as Classroom Monitor, Prefect, Vice President of Marketing, and Personal Trainer come great responsibility across the entire matrix. Don’t just manage up. 
  • A group of like-minded people uniting for a common goal is extremely powerful. Want to know just how powerful? Ask any teacher who has tried to keep 32 second graders calm on a field trip. 
  • We are always learning, always growing, always improving. Enjoy the process.
And to all my teacher friends--any chance you could use your social media influence to convince corporations around the world of the value in having summers off? My thanks in advance. Oh, and one more thing--I really need a new sing-song. 
Photo credit: http://frontier3.wordpress.com/

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