I found it greatly enlightening attending the event Get the Digital Edge. I have come to surrender to the power of social media and I acknowledge the benefits of being a ‘digital literate’ in the 21st century. It was reassuring to hear from experts that mastering the digital tools is just one of the essential elements of social media and digital literacy. Once it was established that devices and skills change, the key question was: What is the core of being a digital literate? The common voice among lecturers and professionals in the event using Twitter, Face Book, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogging, You Tube, to name just a few of the most popular digital platforms, pointed that the most essential element of social media and digital literacy lies on the individual’s core cultural competencies. In other words, a competent digital literate relies on traditional literacy, critical thinking and analysis and on having a historical perspective on technological change. For example, Twitter has changed from social into a political as well as a business platform. So having discernment in multimedia literacy is an advantage. If you want to be ‘out there’ you need to know what stories work best on what platforms and how to tell your stories and or present yourself across media. Checking and filtering information are also fundamental. The actual multitasking individual, and that certainly applies to a ‘digital literate’ person, is the one who focuses on one thing at a time. All academics and professionals in the event discussed social media for enhancing professional image and development. They all had the same opinion: Digital literacy is an open-ended social collaborative enterprise. So how to get the digital edge for enhancing professional image and career? These were some of the suggestions in setting out on social media toward professional image enhancement and career development:
- Seek out communities of interests- use the hash tag to tweet in your niche;
- Don’t learn in isolation- share ideas and learn together;
- Be active to attract followers and follow the ones you find relevant;
- Engage – be prepared to answer posts, twitter, etc.
- Build relationships and connect, e.g. create an email footer and include your social media links;
- Customise- use the same design pattern for all your media, e.g. a particular colour background;
- Define, implement and manage your digital footprint- what does it say about you? Be consistent and genuine;
- Add your social media links to your CV and vice-versa;
- Be professional and brief in your video résumé, e.g. You Tube – 2 minutes maximum, excellent lighting and summary of professional qualities only;
- Look after your reputation- e.g. be yourself when writing your summary in LinkedIn!
Hopefully the above is some help to you all as well as it has been to me!