ICE Book Review: Find Your Soapbox!

By: Rob Cooney 

What we’re reading this month…


Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World 

It’s been a while since I read this month’s book, but since I often recommend it to other educators venturing into social media and creating an online presence, I figured I should share it with the ICE Network!

“If you’re not on Facebook, you don’t exist”
-unknown medical student

As the above quote illustrates, millennial learners expect to connect with each other online.
As educators, we need to meet the learners where they are, not where we want to find them.

Unfortunately, the Web 2.0 world makes online content generation increasingly simple.  Thus, the “noise” is phenomenal.  Getting noticed among a torrent of content seems impossible. It’s not…

Michael Hyatt, former publishing executive turned social media entrepreneur and author, has written a guide to help anyone wanting to establish an online presence.  His premise: everyone needs a platform.  A “platform” is your means of connecting with your learners and is composed of contacts, connections, and followers.

The books walks educators through the process of background preparation, planning to launch, building an audience, expanding reach, and engaging with followers.  While a significant amount of the material seems directed towards people with something to “sell”, the advice also applies to educators seeking to connect with learners.  One of the metaphors that I love from the book is the difference between home base, embassies, and listening posts. (See here for previous discussions about this concept. )

The home base is a site that you own and control.  For many educators, this may be a personal blog or wiki.  It is where you share your best content. People discover your home base through…

Embassies.  Embassies are digital (or physical) channels that you don’t own or control.  They are places where you maintain an active presence and interact with your audience.  Examples include Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or even print newsletters.

Finally, listening posts are places that you neither own, nor actively maintain.  Listen posts are technologies that allow you to monitor your digital brand and track discussions relevant to you. Examples include Hootsuite that tracks Twitter specific hash tags and Google Alerts  that monitors the web for specific keywords.

The remainder of Platform is dedicated to helping you master these 3 channels.  Hyatt includes advice for producing faster and avoiding mistakes.  I highly recommend this book for any educator, from digital tourist to digital native.  The advice is sound, easy to follow, and will help you establish your digital brand.