, , , , ,

I’ve been lecturing in Social Media steadily for 7 years now. I got a taste for it by tutoring during my Masters in DCU and began providing training for SocialMedia.ie which opened more lecturing doors in OLAS, SureSkills, Enterprise Boards and NUI Maynooth. This period also saw a long and enjoyable relationship formed with the Digital Marketing Institute which is ongoing to this day. When I joined Core Media in 2012 I was giving internal and external training to staff and clients which was then packaged into Core Knowledge courses resulting in an 8 month series of lectures in UL. And last year I began lecturing in IBAT college on the Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing and Social Media.

Now, don’t get me wrong – it is tiring. After a long day at work, the concept of talking social media for 3 hours seems crazy. So why do it? Well, I think it’s good for teachers as well as students. 

  1. Docendo Discimus – By teaching we learn

In my dear Mum’s house, (a music teacher in St. Aloysius School, Carrigtohill for her entire career), has this lovely plaque on her wall -“By Teaching We Learn”, and I couldn’t agree more. Teaching and achieving true communication requires a dissection of the topic and logically rebuilding it before an audience. This has been important to me in challenging and testing my perception of social media marketing as it was and as it is now and the reasons why it’s evolved the way it has. Explaining and articulating those changes on a regular basis has helped me learn about the psychology driving these changes helping form predictions on future trends.

A framed plaque stating

Docendo Discimus – By Teaching, We Learn

 2. Learning and Anticipating Pain-Points

When explaining emerging formats and principles to students of varying experience you can identify regular junctions that students find tricky. Some students find Twitter marketing a mystery, some overlook the importance of succinct copywriting, a few haven’t heard of remarketing; all of these are commonplace when dealing with new clients also so it helps identifying these issues ahead of pitches, briefings and Post Campaign Analyses. If a student has found something difficult there’s a chance that same challenge may be confusing a client so it’s wise to spend time explaining it further.

3. Presentation skills

I’ve been told I’m a good presenter which I can only put down to plenty of practice. With regular lectures, a teacher can accurately read a room, craft a narrative to hook attention and pace a lecture to ensure communication. And like a second-rate comedian,  you can learn which social media jokes work well and which ones you should leave behind you in the lecture hall. 

Cian presenting Social Media usage

4. Be Challenged

In at least every second course I teach there’s a seasoned Social Media skeptic and I welcome them with open arms! I actively seek them out by asking “Who here loves Social Media and who here hates it?”

And when they proudly out themselves I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of winning them over. Which I always do!


5. Learning from the students

I always welcome and encourage active dialogue in my lectures and I’ve learned quite a bit in these open conversations. As well as dissecting campaigns that I’ve worked on students often discuss current campaigns they admire or campaigns they’ve worked on themselves. I always invite social media usage stories from those I’m teaching to understand how audiences are using social media. One of the most enlightening things I learned was from a work experience student who explained the difference between her Rinsta and her Finsta! 

Rinsta V Finsta - an image showing the difference between a teenagers use of Instagram for public consumption like a debs/ prom and their Finsta - the "real person's activity" under a pseudonym

Rinsta V Finsta

6. Build the Agency’s Competencies

Albert Einstein Quote “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.”

Albert Einstein said:

“Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.”

Having an agency team that can learn skills and critical thinking and then apply that to client work is a valuable asset which is why I’ve tried to build a culture of learning at Leading Social which includes a weekly hour-long session called “The Leading Social Academy”. This hour every Thursday afternoon is dedicated to teaching and learning, where I’ll lead a class or one of the team will share their experience or skill. We’ve also had guest speakers in to share their industry experience with the team to ensure our learning isn’t overtly insular. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with the team citing continued learning as a vital intrinsic reward of working with us. 

I’ll close this blog with the deliberately quirky words of Australian Comedian Tim Minchin from a recent graduation speech.

“Be a Teacher. Even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you’ve learned and spray it.