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Which Social Media To Use?

bull horn social media

In the case of so many options for social media outlets, where should your young person spend his time to have the greatest impact? How do you link his talent interest to the right community?

My answer: the key to using social media effectively is to understand that social media is NOT a generic medium for broadcasting to the world, but rather each type of social media is best suited for particular types of communications and communities.

This means that if your son or daughter’s talent is primarily visual in nature, then you need a social media that is best suited for visual communication. Twitter in that case is very ill-suited to showing and sharing your knitting projects because the visual part is not its strength. Facebook is also ill-suited for knitting because it is very poor in helping you to connect with other expert knitters. But Flickr or Instagram for knitting is very good because it is very visual AND you connect to other people on the basis of shared interests, not on the basis of a shared past like Facebook.

On the other hand, if your young person is into a talent that is very time-sensitive and event oriented, such as running marathons or participating in kayak races, then Twitter is the ideal medium for communicating quickly within those expert communities with bare facts of statistics that can be read with mobile phones while on the go.

In almost all cases (I can’t think of any exception), a blog is an important component to creating a living portfolio of your child’s talent progress. Strictly speaking, a blog is not really a “social media” medium, but it feeds into that idea of communicating with your talent community. The main point of using social media and a blog is that your talent has something of value to communicate to particular communities.

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Connect with the Best in Your Generation

drone take my pic

I encourage you to activate the social media power in your child’s life. It is not for the sake of “hanging out” willy-nilly in a very wide world wide community, but it is for the sake of learning from great people in your child’s field of talent and for the sake of being encouraged by experts.

The benefit to using social media presumes that the purpose of your student’s talent is to gradually bring value to other people in their lives. If you cannot think of why your son or daughter could benefit from connecting online to other peers or mentors in their field of interest, then there is a good possibility that your young person has too much “hobby-ness” going on in their talent. Find a way to re-calibrate the hobby so that it becomes a valuable talent.

Where can you find individuals with whom your young person would want to stay in contact with via social media? An excellent to find them in the beginning, is by joining dedicated online communities around an aspect of the talent being developed. For example, if your daughter’s intention is to become one of the best household managers possible, then she should easily be able to outpace you in performance in her adult life if she taps into the various online communities where child rearing (for example RaisingGodlyTomatoes.com) and time management (for example GettingThingsDone.com) are discussed in great detail in closed forums. Other motivated individuals will easily be found in those forums and the conversations around the shared talent can naturally continue over time through the use of social media.

If your daughter has nothing worthy enough to share and compares notes with in conversation with peers or far-flung mentors online, then she is probably not pushing herself enough to find the latest tools and methods available to her generation. Healthy cooking alone has made strides in the last few years, in great part because of people like Wardee Harmon of GNOWFGLINS.com who have made advanced healthy cooking instruction so easily available online. And yes, you can connect with her directly online. She will not move to your street, nor you will find someone as good as her abilities living in your town that knows how to cook for families…but you can now peer into her kitchen thanks to the Internet.

Social media allows young serious and talented individuals to connect directly with other talented individuals around a focused interest. Do not let that opportunity for connecting with the best people in the country on that same narrow topic pass them up.

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Use Instagram for Talent Building

BladesofBelaq Instagram Profile

Instagram profile for my son’s bladesmithing account

Do you know how to use Instagram for talent building in your child’s life? Go to the TheWiredHomeschool blog and read the article on the benefits of using Instagram. It is a social media tool that has some unique benefits that can’t be duplicated on Facebook or Twitter. The more visual your child’s talent is, the more likely he will be able to leverage his social network connections within that field of talent. I encourage you to start up multiple Instagram accounts, one for each major sub-skill  your child is developing. Each major sub-skill will typically have a different community that your child can connect with and by being very narrowly focused, your child is more likely to really connect with other talented people.

Instagram, Community, and a Relative’s Offer

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Caleb leaving for Europe, but all-the-while remaining connected to his world-wide talent community.

Instagram is a popular social media tool in our household. We also use it so that my older children can network with other people in their respective fields of talent. In fact, one of my older boys has multiple Instagram accounts,  a different account for a different type of skill he is trying to develop.

This month, my 14 year old son Caleb, is on a trip to Europe, thanks to a kind invitation from relatives to tag along. He cashed out a portion of his savings for his plane ticket and has made plans to leverage this trip as an opportunity to meet face to face several European blade-smiths in their private workshops. In addition, because of his Instagram network of friends, old and young, who are interested in knife making and in other supporting skills such as the leather working for sheaths and the woodworking for handles, he is also sharing pictures from Europe with them related to their common interest.

When I peeked at Caleb’s Instagram feed today, he was happily sharing some pictures of wood burls he had spotted that he knew would please an expert in his online network. With social media, he is actively building his community and gaining many friends along the way without having to proverbially “run away and join the circus”. His talent community is cheering him along the way and he returns the love in kind. A life filled with real talent can be a life filled with joy.

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