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May 6, 2012 / Gina D.

How I did [or didn’t]: A Social Media Month self-evaluation

Just a little more than a month ago, on somewhat of a whim, I declared April to be Social Media Month, giving myself license to pelt my readers — and my coworkers — with daily social media-related challenges.

About a week prior, I had rounded up as many of my coworkers as possible to get social media training from Mandy Jenkins, who had graciously extended her training tour of points southwest to include stops in L.A. and the Inland Empire. On top of that, she had tailored her presentations to the specific needs we had identified for each cluster of Los Angeles News Group papers. Needless to say, there was a lot of information to take in, digest and absorb.

Though she made her presentations readily available to us on various sites, I felt compelled to round up the information for my colleagues and pass along a summary. Standard recap protocol, no?

Yes. Exactly.

As I sat down to write the summary, I could feel the futility emanating from the screen. One email, one shot, and it was over. If it was read at all, it would be forgotten in short order. That’s just how it works.

If there was any hope the information would really sink in, something else had to be done. Something more active.

Inspiration: Instagram. (That’s ironic for reasons I’ll share in another post.)

A good chunk of my coworkers had recently jumped on the Photo A Day “challenge” bandwagon Instagram had put forth. Though not really a huge fan myself for reasons I’ll get into some other time, I had to acknowledge the gimmick had sparked interest from folks I’d never expect would jump on board.

So, I decided to attempt the same concept. For a full month, I would email my coworkers daily (though only once on the weekends) challenging them to adopt and apply the concepts Mandy had passed along to us. It would be a commitment on my part, too, but I felt it worthwhile, and I was willing to give it a shot.

I pondered a points system to keep track of and reward active participation. But, to be honest, I barely had enough time to issue the challenges and felt I was already cutting corners on the promotional aspects.

Was it worth it? Was Social Media Month a success? I’d have to say a sheepish “yes.” My blog saw more steady traffic than it’s seen since its creation, and traffic data showed the challenges were getting the attention. Not a ton of reads, but enough to know some folks out there were paying attention. That, and some of the questions I was getting from coworkers indicated I was getting through here and there.

And even if they weren’t, the exercise helped me build a catalog of basic resources readily available for people who might not want to ask “silly” questions. That also offers me room to up my game and move on to more “advanced” challenges.

The month ended with little fanfare or even mention. You could argue I dropped the ball; certainly, I had been inconsistent in a few things during the process — not for a lack of a know-how, but at some level, I just didn’t have the energy to be at the very tip-top of my game. What can I say? I’m human. I have flaws. And in my defense, I’d just come back from vacation and hadn’t yet caught up on a few priorities trumping my blog.

But the excuses end there.

Ironically, I had a couple of inquiries this past week for a Social Media Month recap or cheat-sheet. I imagine I’ll get around to that, but I think I’m going to have parcel that information as well, and likely here.

Social Media Month — in all its glorious unofficialness — might be behind us, but it’s not over.


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