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Everybody is a Student in Social Media

social-mediamanagementEverybody is a student in social media.” This is one of the first phrases I stated last night when I taught my first class on “Introduction to Social Media for Small Businesses” at Madonna University.

There are no social media experts. There are no social media ninjas or gurus or geniuses. Instead there are different levels of students. Some students are more developed and some are still getting their sea legs. In staying with the karate theme, last night I had a class of white belts. I could have taken the class and jumped right into how many times to post and what to do when but I did not. I brought them to the ground level.

Now some people may not have enough patience for the ground level. The ground level is the most important. Look at the leaning tower of Pisa. I was there. Its beautiful but its foundation was so messed up for so long that the building was about to topple over. They had to create a whole project that involved the greatest modern minds in masonry, architecture and the like to reset this foundation. And, after all of that you know what they say? In 200 years it will be leaning the other way just as much. By that point, a whole new generation will have to worry about keeping it erect.

The point of that story is that if the foundation, the ground level, was set properly, we would not have to worry about going back and fixing [retraining] from the ground level. Also, you can think about your favorite musician. Chuck Berry did not start out his life playing Johnny B. Goode. It took him years to find that style. He had to learn the basics from teachers, like jazz guitarist Ira Davis.

Social media is very public and the ground level is just the first important step. By the looks of social media today I think many higher level social media students would say that a lot of us need to go back and take another look at that ground level.

In social media I see these self-explanatory levels from highest to lowest:

Well-established and committed
Comfortable, but hungry
Getting it
Hungry for more
Gaining steam
Testing the waters
White belt

What’s your level?

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