What do Martha Stewart, hashish, laundry bags, and existential communists have in common?

Social media – or more to the point – a snapshot of my life as portrayed on social media. I’ll try to explain that eclectic mix in a bit. I’ll be presenting an Infopeople course, Library Marketing and Promotion via Social Media, from mid October to mid November. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and learning from yours, even though the initial title of this blog entry might have you wondering “do I really want to take a workshop from this person?”

Toby Keith wrote the perfect social media anthem, “I Wanna Talk About Me.”  Or at least that is the general perception and might be the reason some people literally “shy” away from social media. But as much as personal social media may be about “me,” social media by organizations puts the focus on “you” and “us.”  Engaging the user is key and building a supportive, enthusiastic cadre of followers and fans is a goal.  That’s the focus our course takes.

Enough about the course, let’s talk about me 🙂   My mother-in-law, Nana, made the best Easter pizza, an Italian tradition. Unfortunately, we don’t have the recipe and definitely want that tradition to continue.  I found a recipe that seemed pretty close from Martha Stewart, so I made it last Easter and tweeted the recipe, crediting Martha, tipping my hat to Nana, and providing a photo of the masterpiece – all within the 140 characters constraints of Twitter. Almost immediately @MarthaStewart retweeted me.  It was amazing to witness the interaction and engagement the Martha Stewart Twitter team orchestrated.

That explains Martha, now the hashish. The hashish was a case of mistaken identity; isn’t that what they all say?  I’m working with a colleague on introducing Twitter as a classroom tool for sharing insights, articles, and team-based communication. We had it all planned, but there was some confusion by the students. Using my “smart” phone, I responded, “are they using the hashtag we provided.”  Oh my, much to my dismay right before I pressed send I noticed my message had been changed to “are they using the hashish we provided.”  Some would say that explains the cost of higher education today.

These examples illustrate some key points that we will delve into during the course: engagement builds community and a loyal following, and human intelligence (not the technology) is the key success ingredient in effective communication.

I’ll save the laundry bags and existential communist stories for the course.  Hope you join us!