New gig: Social media for business instructor

Ulaanbaatar, MongoliaI guess I’ll be spending the holidays stitching little leather patches on my tweed jackets* cause come January, I’ll be joining the faculty of Algonquin College as an instructor in their social media certificate program.

Well, I’ll be joining the ranks of their contract facilitators, anyway. Specifically, I’ll be teaching the online offerings of COM0015: Applied Social Media in Business.

And while I won’t be setting the curriculum, I will be drawing heavily on my work with major Canadian brands and large non-profits to talk about the factors that drive social media and online collaboration in the business world (work I’ll continue to do, by the way, I’m not leaving NLC).

On the off chance you’re reading this and you’re a potential student, here are a few things you might want to know about your humble facilitator:

  • As a member of the strategic services team at non-linear creations, my work goes well beyond social media and into integrated digital communications, marketing and collaboration – both internal and external. I think this is really important. In the business context, social media can’t stand alone. Social media advocates have to understand how to position the tools and channels in the broader context if they hope to have success.
  • I don’t always kneel at the altar of best practices. I do think there is a lot to learn from those who have done well but I think there’s as much or more to learn from those who’ve failed and those who’ve examined the opportunities in front of them and opted to stay on the social sidelines. Why someone chooses not to employ social media in their digital toolbox is just as instructive as why people do. And in social specifically, why would you always want to do what’s been done before? Things rarely go viral twice and what’s possible is always changing. As the great Henry Ford said – if he asked people what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.
  • I always treat social media as a plural noun. This is both a practical tip to keep in mind when submitting assignments and a key to understanding how I view social media. Social media aren’t a homogenous entity that you either get or don’t get. Facebook isn’t YouTube; a discussion forum isn’t Twitter. Business communicators and marketers owe it to themselves and their employers to know the various tools at their disposal – social and otherwise.

Ok, that’s enough soapboxing for now. I’m really excited about this opportunity and I have to say a special thanks to Susan Murphy, who is coordinating the program and offered me this gig, and to my bosses at non-linear, who not only gave me the okay to take on this role but also give me the opportunity to work with the diverse client base that I will shamelessly exploit in my teachings.

Right, off to buy some red pens and smiley-face stickers.

*Disclosure: I don’t own a tweed jacket

Creative Commons License photo credit: One Laptop per Child


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