In an effort to be productive during my unemployment, I've taken a variety of online courses. This actually isn't a "new" activity for me - just a more frequent and concentrated effort since I have time on my hands. In my early career, I helped develop one of the first online courses offered at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I just love saying that, even if it proves how old I am. And since then, in my telecom career, I've utilized a wide variety of online training methods, both as a student and as a trainer. These days, online courses are part of the training experience for most employees, and internet users everywhere are soaking up all kinds of information from all kinds of sources, formally (through MOOCs and other online university offers) and informally (such as through youtube "how to" videos).
As I finished up my latest "diploma" (in social media marketing, by the way) from alison.com, I wondered whether to include the accomplishment on my resume. I'm still wondering, actually. I didn't hesitate to list my Quiz Achievement Badge from coursera.org for the MOOC, "Introduction to Sustainability". The latter was a serious college level course experience. The former was easy, at least for me, and some of the material was considerably out of date. I even questioned the authority of the primary presenter on some points.
There is certainly an obvious quality difference between the courses at alison and the courses affliated with recognized and prominent universities, but maybe my hesitation is also because I haven't given myself enough credit for my "expertise" in social media…which also has me thinking about folks who call themselves "experts". I've been using social media for about as long as there has been such a thing. I've even used it to promote my own "business" as a writer. But I hesitate to call myself an "expert". "Social Media" is such a broad term - how can anyone really know it all? I spend way too much time on facebook every single day, but I know that I don't know everything about facebook. Even if I thought I did, they would change something tomorrow that I might or might not notice or bother to learn.
However, I am pretty skilled at learning things quickly and then teaching them to other people. Again, I hesitate to call myself an "expert" in training or teaching - I have very little formal education in education. I do seem to have an instinct for it, and I have a ton of practical experience. I might not be comfortable calling myself a Social Media Expert, but I am 100% comfortable that I am plenty good enough to point the beginner in the right direction to get started.
So….here it goes…I'm declaring myself a Social Media Consultant! In addition to completing the alison diploma, I've reviewed a ton of training videos on youtube, followed other "experts" on facebook, subscribed to related groups on linkedin, created relevant google alerts, and outlined several workshop proposals. I've learned a lot, but I've also confirmed how much I actually already knew. I'm looking forward to announcing my first hands-on course in the New Year….stay tuned!