I truly love the opportunities I have to connect with other folks in my field (the web, social media, and education, just to name a few). Last week, I was in Milwaukee for HighEdWeb, a higher ed web professionals conference that Cary loves dearly (so dearly that he tried to tell me to go last year but I didn’t listen, but I have since learned the error in my ways) along with Will and Cary. I was in a glorious land! Of nerds and wonderfulness! But least we forget why I was there (beyond correcting the horrific crime of not attending HighEdWeb previously): among other great conferencey things, I was there to present.
After collaborating with Mallory Wood from mStoner on and off for close to seven months, we birthed a beautiful boisterous presentation baby entitled Fording the Social Media Channel in the marketing, content, and social strategy track. You just grinned when you read that title, right? Yep, it’s a callback to that ever-fabulous game that I used to play in DOS mode on my family computer, Oregon Trail, and it was all about navigating the trials and tribulations of the wild wild web west when all you want is to find internet gold.
The main thing keeping our wagon together and on the trail during the presentation was creating a series of structures for yourself that allow for identifying and meetingSMART goals, managing and implementating social media in about an hour a day, and bringing the content and community to you to help reach these goals. I’m one of the lucky few full-time social media in higher ed folks out there — many others had social media responsibilities added to an already full job description — but truth be told, I spend around an hour or so doing the nitty-gritty management aspect of my job, and most of that time is spent listening and seeking out content for the future. It is possible to do brave this new world in a limited amount of time each day. I know it to be so.
Mallory and I spent over a month getting as much info as possible into 45 minutes and close to 70 slides. The Oregon Trail theme, originally conceived as a clever title, became the common thread for our verbal presentation and our slides (as you’ll see below). Staying on the trail, thinking about rations (content), your wagon party (people who support you), and your timing and pacing (when you post, how often, and why) all were woven into our presentation — along with warning to not die of dysentery along our travels.
There will soon be audio of this presentation available, and right now, I’m planning on a time that I can moosh together the energy and awesome of Mallory and myself into a redux presentation here on campus. Stay tuned!
In order to keep our approach fresh and current (and relevant), Mallory and I coined the hashtag #fordtheriver to talk about all things regarding our presentation (secret or otherwise), but I’ve stuck with it even after the fact. #fordtheriver stands for trying things out, looking around and taking stock of the situation, making progress, working through ideas and hard times. I’ve been told by a few folks that their “golden nugget” from #heweb12 originated in our presentation — go out and talk to people, all in the name of making your efforts apparent, transparent, and accessible. Why stop with #heweb12? I want to know when you start to #fordtheriver. Tweet me when you dive in to the channel. I’ll be here cheering you on.