Jump into the pool

MRKT4322 students just survived two assignments that were simple on the surface but conceptually significant: they (you) created a blog and started posting, and they (you) wrote a wiki entry.

The significance comes from diving in headlong into something you don’t yet know much about. Social media channels and techniques are emerging faster than nearly anyone can keep up with, which presents a problem for marketers. It’s like being a kid in a toy store where brand-new, shiny toys are put on the shelves before you’ve finished standing in line to pay for them. You want to try them all, to dabble with this one and that one, but you can’t invest in one for fear that the next one will be better.

In social media marketing, the rapid proliferation of new and renewed technologies means that marketers have to make fast decisions about where to invest their time and budget. It also means that they have to learn by doing. Sometimes there isn’t anyone to explain how you do something; other times the only people who can help you are people just as confused as you are.

The wiki assignment, I think, was particularly confusing not because my students had to deal with a new technology–after all, just about everyone in the class has used Wikipedia–but because their role with respect to that technology changed from that of consumer to that of creator.  And with that change, the way they think about the technology and the information that flows through it has changed. You can see it in the wiki posts–they’re beginning to think like social media marketers.

So, dear students, you will get frustrated.  It’s not fun to be frustrated, but it’s necessary.  Help each other and wrangle with the assignments. Own it. You’ll be surprised by what you learn.


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