Saturday, September 8, 2012

Social media is evolving. Fast!

Every month or two on a Saturday morning I get to take a lovely drive along the river to get to the Futuresphere at Christchurch Grammar School here in Perth - it's the venue for all my computer lab-based courses for UWA Extension. Without fail I pass by large bunches of cyclists enjoying the relatively quiet roads and the scenic route along the Swan and it always puts me in just the right frame of mind to meet and teach a new group. It's become quite a nice routine over the last couple of years!

Part of my driving view - thanks to borkazoid
This morning I headed off in beautiful sunny weather (yes, slightly jealous of those who could enjoy one of the first warm days here) and taught a half-day course called "Facebook, Twitter and more". It's basically an introductory course to Facebook and Twitter with a little preview of other social media thrown in (this time, that included Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+).

Anyway, what struck me about this course on my drive home (not so scenic - I drive a more direct way then, keen to get home to my family) is how much it and its audience has changed over the last couple of years. Sure, Facebook specifically and social media in general have both changed a lot since I started teaching this classes but what's changed more is what people know about them. They really know a lot.

(Computer lab pic from FailedImitator - not the same computer lab that I teach in!)

Back when this class began it was called "Safe social networking" and it was squarely aimed at parents of teenagers. It sold out for the first three or four runs. Then the parents stopped needing to come. They were all on Facebook already, I think! So we rejigged the course a little and it became a social media introduction (and Facebook in particular) for pretty much anyone. This kind of worked, but this morning at least half the class already had some experience of Facebook and Twitter and even more surprisingly (for me), they didn't need it for personal use, but they wanted to learn how to use Facebook and other social media to help promote their businesses. I was pretty amazed - this is a huge shift in knowledge in probably less than eighteen months. But it does make me feel like I'm in the right business ;-) As long as I can keep up with all the changes!


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