Photo of @evelynoconnor in full flow.
I LEARN MORE ABOUT ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT by watching others who share their stories. That's excellent storyteller Evelyn O'Connor in the photo who proves my point.
I also try to improve my personal method of engagement by following the advice of cognitive psychologists who work with the Hanen Method. Hanen teach parents how to improve communication with their children. A lot of the Hanen Method applies to online social engagement too, as I discuss in the embedded audio clip.
We teach the effective use of social media to the creative students earning a BSc in creative multimedia at the Limerick School of Art & Design. Most students arrive with their social media skills all sorted--they have Facebook accounts. I try to chop their time online into more diverse locations and if they spend 100 hours reading, viewing, listening and creating during the social media module, they will finish with credible footprints on Twitter, Instagram, TripAdvisor, Tumblr and LinkedIn. Truth be told, no more than 10 per cent of the students actually demonstrate a sustained use of effective social media during the module. I think that's because they rarely get beyond the second stage of social media operations as outlined below.
Stage One: Discovery.
You're in the discovery phase if all you do is simply upvote, plus one or like an item of social media.
Stage Two: Expression.
In the second stage of social media, you express yourself online without using your own content. You might join a conversation started by someone else or you might decide to link to an interesting item. But you rarely open a thread of discussion by offering your own perspective.
Stage Three: Communication.
Those who arrive at the third stage of social media engagement actually communicate original content in the first person. People in this stage normally have more than one communication channel.
Stage Four: Reimagination.
Only a handful of my students can efficiently reimagine both their own content and the flow of others. I expect people in the fourth stage to be able to optimise their content for specific channels.
We develop skills across these four stages while completing a series of social media processes in the social media module taught on the Clonmel campus of the Limerick Institute of Technology. It normally takes students three months of online engagement to move beyond the second stage of effective social networking.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches effective social media in the Limerick School of Art & Design.]