Now you might be asking what has this got to do with learning and development?
I was asking the same thing initially so after checking out some of their previous shows, Nick and Christian explained that they have guests in who provide alternative and diverse views from outside of marketing. I accepted.
After all, it was an opportunity because being live streamed was new to me. I had lots to gain to get out of my comfort zone (speaking in front of a camera where you cannot edit), as well as practice how I communicate my work to an audience who are not other learning and development professionals.
Unfortunately, Nick was unable to host so storyteller, writer and director Joe Wilson @JoeWilsonTV (whose creative snap stories I admire) took the reins and like a live streaming professional that he is, got on with the job of sharing the latest news in social media marketing and then we had a conversation about it. Although I knew nothing about the social media marketing approaches and tools that were out on the market, one of the ways I overcame this was to consider it from my own context of workplace learning.
The question that was going around in my mind was:
How can the function they used for advertising have an application in a workplace learning context?
After all, I have zero experience in advertising. Zero in marketing. However, this exposure to marketers put me into their shoes and gave me an insight to their key drivers.
As we went through the interview, one thing became clear to me – and of course, I knew it deep down in my heart and mind – that for ANY company or business or social media platform, it’s all about making money.
Pure and simple.
It got me thinking that despite people in functions like Learning and Development espousing about building relationships, knowledge sharing and cross-company networking and learning, to any vendor, company or business (from both supplier side and customer) – these are nice-to-haves – they’re not key drivers – because when all is said and done, it’s all about making money. It always comes down to this.
Part of me already knew this deep down and tried to deny it. After all, we still want to feel like there’s a bigger purpose than it just being about making money. Things like connections; relationships; engagement, mutual learning, respect and trust.
Also, being part of this educational show for marketers, hit home to me the difficult nature of their role to keep up with the myriad of changes across multiple social media platforms, tools and networks. The need for them to be continually learning is relentless. Maybe even harder than Learning and Development?
In some ways though, marketing and learning are similar.
Certainly, we both need to show our value to our business clients. Where one focusses on devising strategies to find and tap into new markets to sell into (externally facing), the other is focussed on building skills and capabilities of company employees to do the same (internally facing).
Both roles still require you to be continually learning.
You can’t afford not to anymore frankly.
What also surprised me is how the show was also co-ordinated. At no stage was email used to correspond or organise any of it. Instead, Facebook Messenger was the platform of choice.
In recent days, my Facebook has had a bit of a resurgence as my social media contacts across Snapchat and Twitter are now asking for connections in Facebook. I have long since given up the idea that Facebook is for family and friends only. Instead, my Facebook page now has people I have connected with and built trust over time in other networks.
All correspondence and links to articles that we were to read before the show was sent in Facebook Messenger. It was simple, easy and instant. We all knew what we had to do and when by.
The live streaming was done through a Skype interview which was then streamed live, in real time, on Facebook to the Social Chefs community who could then ask questions why the show was in progress so that there was audience engagement.
At the end of the show, we were provided with links to the readings again and also to the recording which then we could share across our respective networks too.
The irony is not lost on me that all this took minimal time to organise with minimal fuss. If it was an organisation, it would have taken months of negotiating with key stakeholders, scheduling events, deciding on which platform to host it on, getting agreement by IT, co-ordinating competing calendar schedules, promoting across multiple internal platforms and marketing, training people on creating the livestreams or videos and then finally, delivering to the business.
So when all is said and done, what I have been reflecting on was this process of co-ordinating and hosting a show that educates and informs to a community of people who want to learn and are building their own skills and knowledge in their area of expertise.
It got me thinking that we now have the tools and platforms to generate our own content and share our knowledge and expertise across a wide group of people in our own organisations. This is where Learning and Development can help out (but it would mean that they too are across podcasting; livestreaming; social networks; community building and engagement online….)
But who has this expertise currently within organisations?
Is it L&D or does it sit within the internal Marketing team?
You can see where I’m going with this. I’m increasingly seeing some lines between Learning and Marketing becoming blurred.
In particular, I’m thinking of examples such as:
- Business subject matter experts creating their own “shows/podcasts/livestreams” inside the company sharing their knowledge or expertise
- Live streaming to build product knowledge across a business or organisation
- Video channels dedicated to various business units or product knowledge sets
- Interviews with CEO or senior leaders across the organisation to update their employees on what’s happening across the company
- Questions and answers in real time, streamed across the company during critical times such as performance reviews or company stock result time
Certainly, as enterprise social networks and technology becomes sophisticated with the ability to host audio and video, I believe that employee-generated content will become more of a focus.
Why not allow an employee in a contact centre who has great skills in live streaming host their own show?
Why can’t business experts create their own audio podcasts and share these to other employees who want to learn about their topic?
Although I am not across Facebook@Work (Facebook for Business), I’m wondering if it has the same functionality of Facebook in which case, all of the above will be possible to create from within the company.
If we thought we’re having a hard time dealing with content overload, this would add another layer of complexity to the mix and an even more critical need for people to have personal knowledge mastery skills.
What do you think? Do you believe that there will be more employee generated content at work?
Here is the interview recording if you’d like to watch it: (57 mins)