Monday, December 1, 2014

Assignment: Action Plan for Sharing Content

Let's consider sharing
This semester my students have created short personal essays and also one-minute videos. We are connecting these (the videos refer to and link to the essays). Now it is time to consider audiences. Doing so may in fact help in deciding on final revisions either to the essay or to the video each student is doing.

For their blog post due on Friday, December 5, 2014, I would like my students to brainstorm and list specific people and outlets for sharing their content. If they do not feel comfortable naming those people in a blog post, they can refer to them by first name, or by initials, or indirectly without names ("a certain friend from high school," "a former teacher," etc.). Even if anonymous, I want my students to have in mind individuals and not just general outlets like Facebook.  I want them to develop an action plan for sharing content. The steps for this are:

  1. Name Specific People
  2. Propose Specific and Diverse Sharing
  3. Cultivate Interest by Showing Interest
1. Name Specific People

First, I would like my students to consider and plan to disseminate their content to the following types of people or outlets:

  • Homies.
    This includes partners, close friends, and family members. Who are some of those people with whom you can share anything, and with whom you would be willing to share your essay or video?
  • Social networks (online).
    What social media do you use, and on which would you fee comfortable posting this content? 
  • Social networks (offline)
    What are some of your social circles, and among these are there groups or people with whom you could share your essay or video, either in person or electronically?
2. Propose Specific and Diverse Sharing
Once my students have brainstormed prospective audiences for their content, I want them also to think of sharing this content in three separate ways:
  • Posting either one's own essay, and/or one's own video; posting a link to the whole blog or YouTube playlist.
    Which friends or audiences would respond best to your essay, your video? Which might be interested in watching all the videos or visiting the blog where the final essays will be?
  • Face-to-face.
    With whom would you be willing to share your essay, face to face? (Someone different than if you've done this previously with a draft.)
  • Direct digital contact.
    Who are some people with whom you could directly share either your essay or your video (via email, or some sort of direct messaging), and whom you could ask for a response?
I do not expect my students to contact or share their content yet, but in considering these audiences early, this can allow them to prepare the way for sharing their content. This leads to the third part of the action plan: 

3. Cultivate Interest by Showing Interest
The is the principle of reciprocity: people are likely to show interest in your content if you have first shown interest in them and their content. This could be as simple (and possibly superficial) as "liking" their content in anticipation of sharing your own. But a better way of approaching this is thinking in terms of refreshing or renewing relationships. That could mean various types of interaction, each of which begins with the other person's life in mind. Each student should answer the question, "How can I show interest in the people with whom I hope to share my content? Can I show respect for their lives and interests before expecting them to have the same for me and my academic work?" 

After listing these people and considering these questions, I want my students to boil this down to 6-10 specific people or audiences and the actions to be taken. At least two of these need to be referring to essays or videos by other students that one might share (as in the last two examples in the list below).

Example Action Plan

It was fun to think through a lot of people that are meaningful to me now or have been in the past. Some would be more interested than others in my personal essay or in my video. Here are the ones that I settled on and the approach I intend to use with each:

  1. My cousin Greg. We don't speak often, but have had a good relationship. Maybe sharing this little essay with him would be a way of reconnecting. I'm not connected with him via social media but we exchange emails from time to time. I'll write him this week and ask about his family. When he writes back (which I think he will), I'll tell him I have a short essay I'd like to send him in a week.
  2. My former teacher, Mike G. Recently I was contacted via Facebook by my old drama teacher from Jr. High. He even sent me a picture of me playing Huck Finn in a production he did when I was about 13. I've always really admired him. I'll ask about whether he is still teaching and see if I can watch and comment on his recent posts (I haven't seen any lately).
  3. My old mission companion, B. W. This man has been on my mind because we've been out of touch for a long time and I've been worried about him. I'll see if I can find him on social media and comment on any recent photos or posts.
  4. My artist friend, Marty. Marty reached out to me recently and asked my opinion about some things. We used to be in a book club together and also we were in the same ward for years. He's given me some of his writing before to look at, so I feel very comfortable sharing with him right away. He'd probably be okay with me just knocking on his studio door one day and reading it aloud to him.
  5. My former student, Tim Z. Tim is working for the church and specifically on missionaries using social media. I'm sure he'd be happy to watch my video and comment on it. Recently he asked my help on some research at the MTC and I'm sure he would feel happy to reciprocate with some feedback. He may even have some ideas of where to go next with this.
  6. My colleague, Fred. Actually, I think Fred would be interested in viewing all of the videos produced by our class. I will email him the link to the playlist. 
  7. My instagram followers who have liked my religious drawings. There are a number of people (some I know, some I don't; some LDS; some not) who have liked my religious drawings that I've posted on Instagram. I will show some added interest in their posts over the next week and maybe they will feel good about responding to a direct invitation for them to view my video.
  8. My friend Mark would let me read my essay to him. He's always reciting song lyrics to me and having me listen to his songs. I've shared some of my other writing with him before so he should be game to listen to my short essay.
  9. Paul Bills - This is a grad student at the U of U whom I really think would enjoy Hailey's essay about her Mom as a video gamer. He recently asked for some feedback on a prototype he was making in his video game production program, so I'm sure he'd be happy to respond.
  10. KJR - This is a relative who I think would profit from reading Mandy's essay about escaping a bad relationship. She often posts on tumblr so maybe I will revive my account there and begin commenting more. On second thought, I'd probably just like to call and chat about her life right now and get back to her later with the essay.

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