Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Friday, September 3, 2010

Teaching Social Media and the Personal Brand

I had a great time the other day talking to students in the television production classes at Arcadia High School, taught by my friend Bill Citrin.  One class taught television news production, and the other, single camera production.

We talked about some of the basics of storytelling - which cuts across all forms of media - a good story is a good story, whether it's a minute long news piece, a short film, or a special effects-laden motion picture epic.  Or, for that matter, a good vlog on YouTube.

We discussed social media in general, and YouTube in particular.  Students with YouTube channels ranged from 1/4 to 1/3 of each class - even fewer posted on their channels on any regular basis.  Interestingly, some were surprised that YouTube was just five years old - it's become such a huge presence so quickly that it seems like it's been around forever.

But it hasn't.  When YouTube began, the term "social Media" was virtually unknown - Facebook, a year old, was still a small, college-centric site, and MySpace, the first huge social media destination, was all of two years old.

Now, we're bombarded with social media tools and destinations from all sides.  It's social media strategy that's still being invented.  Despite libraries full of instantly published books on succeeding in social media most with 2009-2010 copyright dates), and endless online resources, the vast majority of teens and professionals alike still struggle to find a relevant career-related "use" for social technology beyond simple networking.   Solutions are being developed, but  there really isn't a clear path to learning these methods.

I think that's why more students in a media-related class aren't yet involved in using social media.

Maybe the answer isn't simply to teach site-specific skills, but to explore the entire concept of building a "personal brand."  In other words:  Consider the tools available (social networking sites, social media sites) and then create a public image strategy designed to achieve personal and professional goals.

Comments on this blog are particularly invited!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You're right.

    Creating a "Personal Brand" is the best way to go. Every major celebrity, sports athlete, media mogul, big YouTuber, etc. that you can possibly think of have a personal brand that they've forged.

    I believe a lot of people have a difficult time forging a brand on a "Social Media" site because in many ways, they are trying to find themselves that others can relate to and would want to learn more about.

    In my own YouTube vlog, I am still trying to find my identity. I may be having this conflict because my perseption of myself is always changing, which may be why I have different ideas for the videos I create.

    Perhaps, a lot of people who try to create a Name Brand for themselves don't have a firm grasp of who they are. Or perhaps most of us are still getting over that initial awkward stage that comes with a new form of communication.

    Maybe one day a lot more people will have a firm grasp of how this new social media can be used.

    But for now, those of us who create online videos or post on sites like Facebook will have to forge a path for the rest of society.

    Great read.
    Peter (AKA Journeysoflifevlogs)

  3. I was having a similar conversation yesterday with a group of nonprofit fundraising professionals. They're all grappling with creating "social media strategies" for their organizations and clients, and frustrated that the self-declared "experts" don't know much more than they do.

    In the fund development field it's particularly tricky, because what fails today isn't necessarily wrong. We're experimenting and learning and trying new tools in the worst economy in 60+ years. It's quite possible that they're doing everything right, but there's just no money to raise.

    Meanwhile, what they can do, is to create their online identities and concentrate on the branding, gaining comfort in social media, and when (hopeful "when" not "if") the economy comes back, the fund raising will be easy.

  4. Both great comments - I'm looking forward to creating the video version of this next week - you've given some good new perspectives!

  5. I didn't see the UNICEF broadcast so don't know if my thoughts are relevant or not. Just wondering if there were any incentives for YouTubers to donate? Like when public broadcasting does a fundraiser telethon, they have incentives for donating. Ok, that's all the further my brain is working today. If I remember my other thoughts I'll post again later.