Are you avoiding social media?¬† Maybe it makes you anxious, ‚ÄúI might say the wrong thing or it‚Äôll make me look bad or worse‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ¬†¬†¬† Maybe you find it confusing. ¬†At times, it all seems so chaotic.¬†¬† I know that‚Äôs how I feel often feel about it.
Hang on, though‚Ä¶ What if a child had those feelings as they entered the playground?¬†¬† Do they leave the playground or do they venture forward, finding their way?¬†¬† The child experiences and learns through play.
Why as adults should it be so different?¬† Is social media not just another playground?¬† What if we reserved part of our social media experience for play, for experimentation?
The idea of learning through play hit me the other day when I was chatting with Lina Guevara, founder of Puente Theatre.¬† Puente Theatre is an innovative theatre company in Victoria, BC that helps new immigrants learn the ‚Äėlocal rules‚Äô by giving them a voice, a way to shape their understanding of their new environment, through theatre play.¬† Its a way to learn how to deal with the new conflict, in their life.
‚ÄúThe aim of learning is to integrate thinking and doing.‚ÄĚ¬† (Roger Fisher of ‚ÄėGetting to Yes‚Äô fame)
Learning the ‚Äúrules‚ÄĚ of social media must be experienced.¬† And this is consistent with the new training/learning paradigm; first get feedback, then formalize goals & rules.
Here‚Äôs some of what I think participation in the social media playground offers us:
- new relationships; social media is the new ‚Äútown squares‚ÄĚ, a place where many of today‚Äôs conversations, and conflicts, are taking place, and a place to build and work on relationships, personal and work-wise
- structure and chaos; ¬†social media is a place to experiment with structure and chaos (alas, real life), and explore ways to mediate the differences (and yes, avoidance is an option)
- communication skills development; participation can be incremental, and in the smallest of chunks‚Ä¶ prime yourself for success – make your participation regular and plentiful and turn your efforts into a habit
- adaptation skills development; beyond basic human courtesies (don‚Äôt spam, be humble‚Ä¶), there is no established library of rules‚Ä¶ the medium is evolving; your participation is a fabulous opportunity to further your capacity for adaptation ‚Äď a survival skill in a digital world, applicable in so many ways
- risk management; the risks of participation in social media decrease every day, as participation is/becomes the norm
- rewards management; the rewards of participation in social media decrease every day, as participation is/becomes the norm
- play is a hallmark of creativity and innovation; by extension, its good for your business
- our nature; we are social animals and everyone is already connected ‚Äď through social media, aren‚Äôt we just being true to our roots?
Social media; we tend to hate it and love it.¬† It‚Äôs a paradox.¬† It‚Äôs also child‚Äôs play.
Do you see social media as an opportunity to re-connect with your inner child?¬† Say more‚Ä¶ leave a comment.
photocredit: areyoumyrik on Flickr
About the author
Ben Ziegler is a collaboration consultant and online conflict management specialist, based in Victoria, on Canada's west coast. Connect with him on Twitter.