Ed. Note: When researching our article on foundational social media education, the passion and knowledge of Karen North, chairwoman and director of the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg’s Digital Social Media Masters program, came through loud and clearly. Among her remarks were tips on vetting social media training programs using what she described as a “funnel.” Below are her complete comments on the matter. We hope that you find them useful and informative.
When vetting social media education companies, decision-makers need to let go of the past, be rational instead of emotion- or fear-driven, and jump into the present with foundational education. To determine the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media training products we recommend using a filter that looks for the following:
Who developed the educational experience — e.g.: Are experts involved in creating the content? Are there digital attorneys, professors, cyber and communications experts involved?
What is the target market and the framework used in the education: Is it appropriate for your audience (athletes, coaches, etc.)? Who is currently using it and is it objective (rather than promotional), e.g., are similar organizations or industries using this framework? Make sure that it is customized for your industry and includes relevant topics specialized to your clients (e.g., for the NCAA, issues such as cyber bullying, use of personal social media apps, and embarrassing personal content are examples of essential content. Do the modules anticipate problems that your industry might face in the future (by learning from other industries)
Does the content and the educational experience cover both the foundational principles and the array of relevant and evolving topics — e.g.: privacy, cyber safety, cyberbullying, IP, career development, diversity?
Does it blanket the entire entity/brand — e.g.: education across the board vs. training for one or two high-risk groups? Does it teach individuals to focus both on their personal needs and the ramifications for the team(s), organization(s), or brand?
Does it offer a record of compliance — e.g.: documented successful completion or certification for every participant on each topic and the overall course of study?
Matthew Monte is Managing Editor of College AD and formerly Co-Managing Editor of Underdog Dynasty. He is a graduate of The B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration at UL Lafayette, mostly because it didn't require a foreign language. Matt is also a recovering stand up comedian who occasionally relapses.