11 Metaphors To Help You Teach Social Media

Teaching social media to groups that don’t use it on a regular basis can be intimidating (and maybe a little frustrating!).

Try to equip the group with a general sense of the purpose and uniqueness of each social network, so they can make decisions about what might be best for their particular project. We’ve found these metaphors to be fun and helpful:

  1. Facebook Status Update and ‘Like’…
    Is like standing in the middle of the room and yelling ‘I LIKE BAGELS!’ and one person yelling back ‘I LIKE THAT’.
  2. Hosting Twitter Chat…
    Is like hosting a cocktail party where everyone shows up at the same time and is talking to you at the same time — while you greet, answer questions about the venue and provide commentary on everyone’s chatter.
  3. 140 Character Tweet…
    Is like sending a text message that is broadcasted to a world of your followership (mwuaahahaha).
  4. Why tweet about what you had for breakfast…
    People tweet about the everyday things that happen to them. Tweets are often similar to the water cooler conversations. I wouldn’t send you an email about how awesome my coffee tastes, but I might tweet it – with a picture of my ‘Keep Calm Carry On’ mug.
  5. Facebook Cover Photo…
    Is like the motivational posters you put up in your office. You wouldn’t write ‘Look At This Sunset To Get You Feeling Motivated’ across those pictures, but you would choose photos that elicit that feeling.
  6. Pinterest…
    Is like a virtual scrapbook.
  7. Foursquare…
    Is like when you text your friend to say you’ve arrived at the movie theatre and there is a huge lineup, but the popcorn smells great. Except that you’re telling a whole bunch of strangers where you are and the tips about the venue.
  8. Google+…
    Is Google’s version of Facebook.
  9. Following someone on Twitter…
    Is like joining an email list serv, you subscribe to receive information they are sending to a group.
  10. Retweeting…
    Is like seeing your favourite piece of art or hearing your favourite song and wanting to share it with everyone, except with the retweet button…you can.
  11. Blogging…
    Is like having your own online magazine where you get to be the writer, editor, and yes…the publisher!

Do you have a good way of simplifying social media concepts for an audience? Share them with us!

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15 responses to “11 Metaphors To Help You Teach Social Media

  1. Pingback: 11 Metaphors To Help You Teach Social Media | Fast-Brands | Scoop.it·

  2. I love the metaphors as ways to teach. But I often get questions about how social networks such as Pintrest and FourSquare can be used to leverage public health communications/conversation. Does anyone have specific ideas for social media sites other than Twitter and Facebook?

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