I’m finishing up my read of Digital Fluency: Building Success in the Digital Age. The concluding chapter has a series of 12 exercises designed to enhance one’s digital fluency. I thought I’d blog about my experience with some of the exercises in advance of posting an overall review of the book.
The first exercise had me generating a list of ideas for “life improvement”. The method for generating the list was creative: first, you write down the first four ideas that come to mind. Then you cross those out, and come up with four different ones. As you might suspect, the first four I came up with things I’d already been thinking about, but the next batch generated some newer ideas. But the digital fluency aspect of the task is to then pick one of the second four items, and get feedback on it through a favorite social media platform.
So I tweeted at 9:29 a.m. on an August weekday morning (I was on vacation): “Anyone have a process you like for personal & family goal setting? Vacation seems like a good time to step back & plan!”. I sent it from my @davidbcrowley Twitter account, via Tweetdeck. For good measure, I also clicked the option to share it on Facebook, from Tweetdeck.
The response? None on Twitter, and my wife “liked it” on Facebook. Pretty underwhelming. This may not have been the main point of the exercise, but it seemed to underline a few lessons for me.
Timing matters: There have been many good studies on the best times to Tweet, update Facebook, etc. ADD A LINK But those studies aggregate thousands of social media accounts, what really maters is the best time for you to share with your network. Typically during a weekday I’m sharing work-related items, mostly through my @socialcap handle. I usually use my individual Facebook account off business hours, unless there’s a work tie in. So it shouldn’t have been a great surprise that a weekday morning post about a more personal matter was met with silence.
What gets shared when I’ve gone the path of multiple Twitter accounts that relate to my different interests and networks. @socialcap is the main Twitter account for our nonprofit, Social Capital Inc (SCI). @cookinchat is fairly self-explanatory, @davidbcrowley rounds up my various interests, and @DC_Woburn for local community happenings. My query for this exercise was more personal in nature, so @davidbcrowley seemed to be the most appropriate place for it. But there was a tradeoff making that choice. I’ve got over 4,100 followers @socialcap, and more often than not, I get a few responses when I seek answers to questions there. I’m just a bit over 700 @davidbcrowley, which I’ve found doesn’t give me the critical mass to get consistent responses to posts.
Timing was part of the reason I didn’t get much response on Facebook. But perhaps as important was the nature of the post. I did do some other workday Facebook posts while on vacation. Not surprisingly, the photos of beach and baseball fun consistently elicited at least 5 or 10 responses, regardless of the timing. Most of my Facebook posts are on the light side–family fun, food pictures and recipes. I’ll occasionally mix in things related to my SCI work, which if it includes a good photo will get some response–but not as much as the cute kid photos!
Conclusions from this exercise? Both the timing and “what content where” issues weren’t new revelations per se. But one of the key underlying messages of Digital Fluency is the need to be thoughtful about our goals for using social media, and also to be mindful of the context. This exercise helps underscore those points, and also provided me with a neat new brainstorming technique! Oh yes, if you do happen to have a process for personal and family goal setting, feel free to leave that in the comments!