I have assigned Karl Stolley’s Integrating Social Media into Existing Work Environments: The Case of Delicious for my networked non-profit class. The piece takes readers into code, a place I am not asking my students to go this semester, but perhaps next time. I am drawn to the piece, however, as an example of academic research on social media applications (SMAs) and because it offers some relevant points:
1. my students need to think of themselves as designers and trainers as they work with non-profits to re-do websites, enhance fb, start tweeting, or help an organization come up with a unified look.
2. organizations have goals or activities in mind (big picture stuff) that social media (actions) might help with, but those actions are daunting / time consuming until they become operations. That’s where part of the training comes in; helping the organization’s integrate social media into their work flow. If an organization only wants to “be more active in social media” that might be a sign that they need a stronger activity, a stronger definition of goal: reach more volunteers, tell their story more widely and effectively, raise money, etc..
3. I am noticing a lot of the groups are working with organizations for whom social media is still an intimidating, foreign activity. Stolley makes the point, also made by Levinson, Kanter and Fine, that social media is a contact sport–it needs to be used to be understood–and personal use is not significantly different than workplace use. Stolley also makes the point that personal use does not need to be sharply disaggregated from professional use. Trainers, encourage your organizations to take up personal use of social media, not just professional use!
The article ends with the trip down the rabbit hole of code; students, is that a place you would like to go? Should I try to take future students there?