training Archive

Politics Social Media

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Posted in community training

politicsYes, this blog has been quiet.

No, that doesnt mean Ive wandered away from social media.

For the past 2 months, Ive been living behind a Facebook Page alias and supporting a local political campaign.

And, if you really want to know what managing an emergency might feel like on social media, join a locally controversial political campaign. It can be difficult to simulate the amount of traffic, engagement and rumors when you are preparing to handle emergency events, but politics can provide an excellent microcosm of a crisis environment.

Some of the key things that you will learn are:

  • Coordinating messaging between different levels of a campaign can be tough. Everyone has an opinion and way of saying certain things. And unlike emergency response, which has a very defined chain of command, community organizations may not have a similar organizational structure.
  • Developing a battle rhythm across week and months, to build momentum, is very important. You are aiming to mobilize both volunteers and the action of people voting. A simple post every few days wont accomplish an engagement goal. You must be timely, relevant and connected the current events in order to grab someones attention. This requires very focused thinking and planning to ensure that people remain solidly engaged.
  • Different types of posts will garner different types of engagement. People will like pictures, but often wont comment on them unless they have a personal connection to the picture.
  • Controversy sparks conversation, but you have to be cautious about whether your base is open and welcoming enough to provide space for newcomers. If your goal is to get new people to vote, you have to be careful that you dont always have the same 10 people commenting on your posts, giving the appearance of a closed environment. It is okay to allow both positive and negative comments, but establish a decent take-down policy for what goes against how you define civil discourse.
  • You will become an expert at managing trolls. There will be people who do not care what you say or do in a political campaign. They will be opposed to your position and wont be changing their mind. They may also focus on spreading discontent on your campaign page. Usually trolls use two different tactics which include repetition, off-topic posts or good, old-fashioned name-calling. If you see this behavior, call it out (in the voice of the page) and delete the offending comment. People will choose either to self-moderate their own behaviors or will continue to behave in a similar manner. If your goal is to maintain open and civil discourse, it is vital that you decipher between people disagreeing over facts and those that are relying attacking the people involved. Most differences of opinion are just that and can be left on your page. Attacks, however, should be eliminated. Even in a controversial campaign, people will usually behave with warnings and as they observe the moderation / elimination of caustic comments.

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Training Thoughts

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Posted in community training

For the past 5 years, Ive had the opportunity to teach a number of fun social media classes.

And while the audiences have varied over time from farmers to medical examiners, there are some observations that you may also find useful in your quest to find good social media training.

At this writing, there isnt necessarily a list of good social media trainers. Many of the active folks on the #SMEM hashtag on Twitter have seen a variety of speakers over time at a number of conferences and can make personal recommendations from what they have seen.

I will say that there are often differences between general social media and social media in emergency management trainers. While I have learned a lot from general social media users and trainers, if you are a public agency, it is important for your trainer to understand issues of public disclosure and records retention if you are seeking guidance on an agency-based social media implementation.

If you understand that no single person is going to teach you all you need to know in social media, youll understand that you can glean a lot of great information from a variety of speakers.

Consider what you wish to learn when seeking a social media instructor. There are some basic decision points that, if you consider these, will help you narrow down the type of instruction you are seeking.

  • Small audience or large audience?
  • Do you want a hands-on instruction course or a conversational course?
  • Will attendees have access to technology and can participate in demonstrations or exercises?
  • Would you like your training course to focus on platforms & specific tools or how to communicate, using the tools?
  • Are your audience members all from the same agency or a variety of agencies that may be in different places in their permissions or use of social media?
  • What would you like your audience members to know or understand by the end of the training? Drafting a policy? Creating Content? How to Monitor Social Media?

Just because someone uses social media doesnt mean that they will be a great educator of its use.

  • Dont be afraid to ask questions of trainers. Find out about their training experiences.
  • Seek out a reference or see if they have any presentations online. And dont be scared to ask for recommendations on social media.

The more you know about what you want, the easier it will be for a prospective trainer to tell you if they are a good match for your request. I field requests to present training classes all the time. I will tell you that when someone calls me and isnt sure what they want in a training, I will regularly say no because it takes too much of my time to determine what you want.

Think about your needs and you will receive a much better outcome. Be focused!

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