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August 1, 2014

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New Opportunities – 140 Characters at a Time

I gave a presentation on Twitter a few weeks ago. I was asked by the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) to be part of an hour-long presentation entitled, “The Future is Now: Adapting to What’s New.” My co-presentweeters were Thomas Smith of Bona Terra Consulting in Los Angeles, and Erin Orr of Fox Architects in Washington, D.C. The SMPS organizers, Holly Bolton of CE Solutions in Carmel, Ind., Dana Galvin of Barton Malow Company in Detroit, and Adam Kilbourne of Tec Inc. in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, broke new ground with this unique variation on a Tweetchat.

Each presenter was introduced, given ten minutes to present, and ten minutes to answer questions. It was a very fluid and dynamic hour with over forty people participating from across the United States.

While I have used Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook for several years as a relationship-building tool, this was the first true learning opportunity I have experienced using social media. The feedback we received from the participants indicates that the presentation was well attended, successful, and enjoyable. This experience begs the question: how can this technology be used for business meetings, other learning opportunities, and social engagements? Following are my thoughts:

Business Meetings. Using a platform such as Twitter for a business meeting in which people are not able to be together makes sense on many levels. In addition to the fact that people can participate directly from their desk anywhere in the world, even a non-techie like me can login to Tweetchat.com and set up a session. It is very simple to use and at the end of the session, Tweetchat produces a written record of the meeting. Participants can contribute easily and within 24 hours can download a written transcript without the need to take notes and write meeting minutes. The event can be extended using the appropriate hashtag and comments and dialogue can continue well beyond the meeting time.

One of the chief advantages this technology has over others is its cost, which is free if the participants have access to a computer with an Internet connection or a smart phone with the appropriate application loaded.

Learning Opportunities. In addition to presentations such as the one in which I participated, there are many other applications for this technology. Imagine a teacher setting up a review session that allows students to ask questions at a specific time each evening as they are working on their homework. These students can log on and learn from the questions they ask, but also learn from the questions other students ask. These questions, when answered, become a written record of the session that students can add to their study material. Questions only need to be answered one time by the teacher. It saves the teacher from responding to several requests via email or texts and from offering review sessions at the school. Once again, this technology is free as long as the student has access to a computer and Internet connection or a smart phone.

The technology can also be used by professional associations to offer continuing education and can connect people from afar with top talented lecturers at a fraction of the cost of on-site presentations or webinars.

Social Engagements. In addition to the way we currently use social media, I can foresee a few new ways to utilize Twitter. Imagine a person going on a European vacation. Using a hashtag, he could create a detailed diary of the trip directly from his phone. In addition to informing others of his trip, the information catalogued under the hashtag can be printed upon his return and used as a journal to remember the trip.

Thoughts to consider:

  • How can social media be used to enhance your business?
  • Can you see other ways to use social media to create learning opportunities?

Until next time…

Craig

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