Yes, I teach about digital and social media. But technology can often be finicky and unpredictable in the moment of teaching a live class. Sometimes you just have to go old school and bring some analog devices, like paper, back into the classroom to make your point.

Would it be ideal to have students live-tweet potential messages to get experience on the native platform and it’s limitations, and show those on a screen? Yes. Especially when I was in corporate life and had a several hundred thousand dollar per year social media management system at my disposal to search for and stream posts.

But, here’s the thing. So much of what we do in teaching social media is about teaching our marketing students to be HUMAN.

So today, my lesson covered something important – VALUES.

After an exercise where the students asked each other some big, heavy questions that would pull out some discussions of goals, aspirations, values, and beliefs, I gave them some simple questions and asked them to just write a tweet and post it on the board.

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Students post messages on the whiteboard and vote for their favorites.

I am 100% certain that I did not invent this exercise but it has always served me well in corporate training. Once again, it did not fail.

As each group got up to vote for their favorite tweets the same things start to happen…

…they immediate look at the ones with the most votes first.

…they like things that are funny or that they immediately connect with.

… they like messages that are shorter (probably because I give them limited time to read).

If you are a professor teaching social media, I’d encourage you to start with a similar exercise. It’s important that any discussion about social marketing and content development be grounded in a really clear understanding of values and what guardrails you (or a brand) should establish around your content and conversations.

Quick feedback is that the exercise was a success. I am now determined to read through each one. Funny things in there… I am even learning about what other professors were talking about in class today. Maybe I should do this exercise every week. LOL.

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