Some personal news – I have started teaching a course at Seneca college this semester. The course is called Social Media Intelligence and Analytics. This is both exciting and intimidating, and I should probably have posted a single tweet, and moved on.
Except there’s some context.
I have often fantasized about teaching as a kid. Sure, I also wanted to be a fireman, and an astronaut – for a couple of days – like many kids did. But to be able to share my knowledge with a group of strangers, on regular basis, to stand in front of an empty blackboard, and slowly watch it get filled with some sketches, formulas, chicken-stratches and poorly drawn circles – it’s been a dream for so long, and it’s always seemed just out of reach. “One day…” I often thought, and moved on with my life and career, to the next gig, the next company.
Well, now it seems I actually get to do this – on a part-time basis, with a single course. A couple of years ago a good friend invited me as a guest instructor for her class, and I had a blast doing it. So a few weeks ago, just before the holidays, she reached out again – this time with an opportunity to teach a class on my own. As you can imagine, educational system is in a crisis right now – not enough teachers, professors, staff – Covid has been decimating institutions on a large scale – so resources are low. So I really couldn’t say ‘no’. Not this time.
I had been fortunate to have a lot of great teachers in my life – in Russia, in Israel, and here, in Canada. Both in school and university. Many of my teachers went above and beyond their obligations. Not just pouring knowledge into me, but also showing how it can be applied, and WHY it’s needed. This ‘why’ helped me put context around knowledge, and as I took it into my career and projects, I tried to retain that context to this day.
So, I definitely have big shoes to fill at Seneca. Not just to the person who taught this particular course last year – but also to all those great teachers and instructors from my youth. They are great role models for me, I hope to do well, and to continue putting the ‘why’ into most of what I share.
Sure, I can just teach about social media channels, messaging, scheduling, calendars, audience segments, and audience growth strategies. I’ve done enough of this stuff over the years to write a book about it. What I plan to do – is put this in bigger context – why do we use these tools, and how to use them to build better relationships with groups of people. They’re not just visitors/users/eyeballs/pageviews. There are actual human beings behind all this data. The analytics is just the start of relationship-building. What you do with those connections – that’s the most interesting part.
This is going to be a very interesting few weeks.
And before you ask – how does this impact Pixel Studios – let me assure you: our projects are still on track, most of our clients/customers are okay with this change, and my schedule can work around the teaching sessions. I have made it a good habit not to overpromise, and not to over-stretch our calendars, so we can accommodate this new opportunity among our existing obligations.
It’s great to have this level of trust, across the board. I’m sure I will post more updates soon.
Here is the course link again, if you’re interested:
In the meantime, here’s a visual for you – if classes ever resume to ‘in-person’, here’s how I imagine I will introduce myself: