This week has seen a lot of travel with a road trip from the leafy countryside of Hampshire, across the Severn Bridge and into Wales, to a very sunny Newport and the home of Newport & Gwent Dragons Rugby Football Club. Working with the PopUp Business School to help support local residents start their own businesses. As usual I'd been drafted in to help people set themselves up on social media, learn how to use the various platforms and teach them best practice for using them for their full potential for business.
It's always interesting to see the different levels of confidence people have when using Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. The group in Newport varied in confidence from those that were fluent in using them, but had never considered using them for business, to the exact opposite; individuals fluent in business that had absolutely no experience of using social media whatsoever. And it got me thinking about how people use social media in their everyday lives and whether the next generation of social media experts for business even realise that they're already developing the skills they need to succeed.
Social networking is fast becoming second nature for some, without a second thought as to it's applications in the business world. My own children, all under 12, are fully conversant with YouTube and Instagram already and I have no doubt that they'll pick up Facebook and Twitter just as easily when we've had 'the talk' and I've allowed them to take their first tentative steps on the platforms. Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum are those that have little or no interest in social media and by ignoring it will never develop the skills necessary to use it correctly both personally or professionally.
Is there an argument that social media needs to be taken more seriously? Is there a case for social media skills to be taught in schools and colleges? I certainly think so, or business will be missing a vital piece of the puzzle in years to come.