Recently we enrolled our dog in a social behavior modification training program at Performance Dogs to help him socialize better with dogs and people, while getting lots of exercise. We rescued Sampson, a blue Pit Bull, more than two years ago. And while we don’t think he was physically abused, we do know that he wasn’t properly socialized, so he can exhibit intense social anxiety. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how to be a dog. The SBM program integrates dogs into the pack and aims to socialize the dog in various conditions using techniques that promote permanent behavior modification. Sampson, while a little nervous as first has grown to love his twice a week visits.
While social behavior modification training is usually reserved for dogs, I think that many of us could benefit from similar training, especially when it comes to social media.
Recently, I conducted a workshop on content strategy for students enrolled at MICA’s Business of Art and Design program. Most of the students just graduated with a BFA from art school, while others have been working on the side to turn their designs into profit. The goal of the program is to help all students develop a viable business plan by helping them learn basic marketing, financial and project management skills. I have the privilege of teaching social media marketing during session five of this 14-month program.
During the workshop, we considered all types of content, from websites to emails to social media and how to refine and simplify it so that it accurately represents what they do and who they are. With every mention of social media, I could hear the grumblings and moans. These designers knew that they’d have to learn how to incorporate social media into their business strategies, but were reluctant to do so.
For those who don’t entirely understand it, social media can be scary. But avoiding it is not going to help us grow professionally. Like my dog Sam, it will only make us more anxious and fearful of other
dogs technologies. Yet, diving into it without any preparation won’t help either. I could have easily thrown Sam into a pack of dogs without any training or supervision, but I doubt that it would have ended well. Instead, it’s best that you ease into it. The more comfortable you become with it, the more inclined you’ll be to use it more.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Set up a Twitter account and start following people you find interesting. You never have to tweet if you don’t want to, but after reading your feed on a regular basis, you’ll probably want to contribute. Or start checking into places on Foursquare to see where your friends are. Whatever you decide to tackle first, do it to have fun. Once you start to enjoy, you’ll be curious to try new things and then learning will begin! In no time, you’ll be meeting new people, discovering new things, and ultimately understanding how to socially network successfully.