Teaching 9 year olds about Social Media

This week, Fair Chance Foundation hosted its annual Impact Day. This is when every Deloitte employee around the world gets to trade 8 hours of regular work to volunteer in the community. In the Netherlands, we hosted Impact Day on Wednesday, 28th September. We facilitated 38 educational projects with a reach of over 2000 students. All made possible by more than 400 Deloitte employees and excellent community partners. Click here for an impression of the day.

I visited 3 projects on Impact Day, but I have only one favourite and admittedly it’s a project which I wrote about in August. Linda Vonhoff and Thijs van de Reep of Social MediaWijs hosted a social media boot camp for 9 and 10 year olds along with my social media colleagues, Roos van Vugt and Jochem Koole and an enthusiast from our recruiting department, Berend Buitink. The boot camp teaches young kids all the fun things that they can do with social media and the internet as well as highlighting some of the evils.

The primary school, at which this social media boot camp was held, is situated in a less privileged neighbourhood of Amsterdam. The kids that attend the school don’t all own computers at home and they were absolutely thrilled to be able to use an ipad ‘of their own’ for the morning.

What an experience! A classroom full of extremely eager children, learning about the use of Twitter, Facebook, Hyves, Google and YouTube. With funny animal films and Mr. Bean being the hit of the day! The children not only learned about the good, but also about the ugly on social media sites; that not everyone on the web is good and honest and not everything you read is true.

Congrats to Apple though! Ipad is so totally intuitive that the kids all breezed through the lesson with absolutely no problems at all. Some of the kids quickly realized that it wasn’t even necessary to search for a site through Google since the Apps were available on the homepage.

When I was growing up, I never paid much notice to the neighbourhood that we lived in, the schools that I attended or the ‘other things’ that I probably took for granted. It’s my guess, that these kids don’t either. And, let’s face it, you don’t need ‘things’ to be a really bright kid. And, each and every child in that classroom was an absolute gem.

Thijs and Linda are back at the school next week to run through the next module, I have a feeling that the atmosphere may be slightly more subdued since the lessons are sans Apple. However, I’m sure the content will keep them mesmerized. If you want to learn more about Thijs and Linda’s techniques, please contact them through twitter or through their website www.socialmediawijs.nl. Although their program is in Dutch, I’m sure they’d be thrilled to roll it out in English for you.

Many, many thanks go to Anne-Marie de Jeu, the Manager of Fair Chance Foundation. What a project manager!  Due to her total professionalism, Impact Day 2011 was an enormous success again this year. Thank you!

Social Media for Dummies

As soon as you start living your dream, your dreams evolve.
I love technology and I would even go so far as to call myself a ‘techy’ where hardware is concerned. I don’t necessarily buy into all new hardware at first, but I’m certainly not a laggard either. The top drawer of my desk is a technology graveyard of just about every mobile phone known to man, PDAs, first gen mp3 players, ipods through the ages and digital cameras. I just don’t have the heart to throw them away. I mean really, they all still work!

On the software side however, it’s less techy and more of a tetchy subject. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m a dummy. I used to be able to glide around Word, Excel and Powerpoint with ease. But, every time Microsoft proudly brings out a new improved version of their pallet of software, I have the feeling that my knowledge goes backwards an era. Does anyone else share this sinking feeling?

The social media that I ‘got’ immediately was Linked-in. I notice that I’ve been a member since 2004. I use it for business. It’s basically taken over the rolodex that I never had. I owned a beautiful burgundy leather business card holder, filled with cards. Which, come to think of it, has joined the mobile phones in my technology graveyard.

When Facebook was launched, all those years ago, I just couldn’t imagine why anybody would use it. Why would I want to store all my private family photographs on a website for everyone to see? A little confusion on my part between Facebook and Picasa. I’m now a major Facebook fan of course, given my family is strewn all over the world. I have family members and friends on just about every continent so Facebook has become my kitchen table; a warm and friendly meeting place that always brings a smile and very often raucous laughter with it.

Then Twitter hit the streets. In February 2010, I opened up a Twitter account and never used it. I thought, “Why would total strangers be interested  in what I’m doing? Crazy people. I’m certainly never adopting that one.” This year, Roos van Vugt, our social media guru at Deloitte, gave my colleagues and I Twitter training. Thanks Roos. I now actually feel like I know what I’m doing and, thanks to you, I learn so much from other users on Twitter every day. Someone told me recently that I tweet too much. Is up to 10 tweets a day a lot?  Let’s face it, we’re not talking glasses of wine here!

The internal version of Twitter is Yammer. Or at least, that’s the way that I see it. We use this platform for knowledge sharing at Deloitte. It cuts down on email and questions are answered so much faster than in the past.

WordPress took me about an hour to really understand and the rest of the day to create a blog site. In the end, I was just being fussy about aesthetics. Or, does it always take this ‘long’ to develop a site? Fortunately, I had someone at home who had done it all before and he guided me through the toolbars. I’m not really into ‘reading funky manuals’. I learn by doing. I suppose this is why I’m often so challenged by Social Media.

Having a lack of Social Media wisdom is fortunately not age related. I know this for a fact. Recently Fair Chance Foundation (Dutch) asked third parties to offer us educational projects, which we will support on our annual ‘Impact Day’. Impact Day offers every Deloitte employee the opportunity to take a day off from work to do charity work.

Roos retweeted my call for projects and Linda Vonhof and Thijs van de Reep from Social Media Wijs (Social Media Smart) approached me. They’ve developed a social media bootcamp to teach kids all the fun things that they can do and learn from it. In schools they focus too much on the evils of social media, putting the fear of death into many a school child. Very seldom are kids taught what they can actually do with social media. But then go figure, they’re being taught by school teachers who are probably as clueless as I am. And to be fair, technology just moves so fast and the teachers don’t have a Social Media team to come to their rescue. Social Media Wijs is running a bootcamp for Deloitte’s Fair Chance Foundation on Impact Day on 28 September 2011. This date may differ in other countries. For more information about what they are doing, they can be reached through Twitter.

My most recent Social Media faux pas was whilst I was attending a seminar in Brussels. I tweeted that a lady speaker from the BBC was giving a fascinating presentation about SM. A BBC colleague retweeted my message, setting the record straight and changed my abbreviation from SM to Soc.Med. Well, it is the British Broadcasting Corporation with an image to uphold. And yes, realising my mistake, I laughed out loud. I continually live and learn. You may however want to read the advice which Harvard Business Review offers on The Simple Way to Avoid Social Media Failures.

PS. Google+ is still giving me nightmares. Circles. Yes, I am pretty much going around in circles and sparks are definitely flying. But, the sparks are probably coming from that part of my brain where the cogs go round and round. Help…….Roos!!