30 days to learn 30 new digital and social media skills
Continuous learning is a good way to force fresh thinking and develop new habits. Set yourself a new 30 day project. Google’s Matt Cutts created the 30 day project to learn new skills.
Thirty days is the length of time it takes to form a habit or shed an old one. 30 hours is a reasonable chunk of time to learn a new skill.
We’re typically lousy at continuous professional development in marketing and public relations. Unless you’re motivated and committed to learning there’s limited immediate reason to study.
Learning is a good way to expand your mindset and force yourself to be open to new opportunities. It’s a good way to get out a rut.
I hit a brick wall and got stuck in a rut over the summer. Photography and writing lost its magic. Social networks became irritating. That’s not cool for someone that works in the business.
My 30 day project: #PRbullets
I created a 30 day project to break the cycle.
I’m lousy at drawing so I challenged myself to draw a chart related to digital communication or public relations on a Post-It note and share it via LinkedIn, Tumblr and Twitter.
I’ve revisited the Barcelona Principles, Grunig and Maslow and I’ve explored the history of social media and performance of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
It’s forcing me to think through different areas of practice and then simplify and summarise each one in a diagram.
It’s improving my drawing and visual communication skills. It’s also starting conversations with people who are challenging and helping develop my thinking.
I've missed the occasional day and run over the 30 day deadline but I never escape the discipline of thinking, developing and communicating ideas.
Scott Guthrie has developed a project with called Short Thoughts with the same motivation.
I’d urge you to create your own 30 day project as a way of developing new skills.
30 days to kickstart 30 new skills
To get you started here are 30 skills that you might want to consider doing every day for the next 30 days.
#1 Shoot and post a themed photo to Instagram: a colour or location is a good place to start. #2 Research and write a series of blog posts on a topic of personal or professional interest. #3 Contribute to a Wikipedia article (avoid conflicts of interest). #4 Download a new app. Use it and review it in the App Store. #5 Post a review of a cafe, restaurant, location or tourist attraction to TripAdvisor. #6 Read the summary and first 15 reviews of a business book on Amazon. #7 Join a new community on Google+, LinkedIn or Facebook and participate in a discussion every day. #8 Explore a new tool from #PRstack. Share your views via a social network. #9 Read and comment on a Slideshare presentation. Share it via your favourite network. #10 Find a new blog. Read and comment on a post. Share it via a social network. #11 Connect with someone new on Twitter and engage in a conversation. #12 Sign up to a new social network. Build a network and share content. #13 Download and listen to a new podcast each day. Summarise and share it in three words. #14 Record and post a video blog each day using YouTube. #15 Use Google Trends or Twitter Trends to spot a topic to newsjack. Write a short pitch.
#16 Participate in a Twitter conversation relevant to your area of expertise. See the Twubs Chat Schedule for inspiration. #17 Create a piece of content using Canva and share it with your favourite social network. #18 Sign-up to Soundcloud and record a 10 min audio reflection on the days’ top news stories. #19 Share a news story and comment on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Observe the dynamic of each platform. #20 Offer to act as an editor to your colleagues and provide critical appraisal of their written content. #21 Build a community on Facebook or Google+ and host a conversation around an area of interest or expertise. #22 Draw a cartoon, chart or image every day and create your own version of #PRbullets. #23 Find and read an academic paper relevant to your work using Google Scholar. #24 Read a book relevant to your work for 30 minutes. You’ll read two or three books in a month. #25 Follow #AskTwitter for 30 minutes and help people out wherever and however you can. #26 Sign-up to Reddit and join a sub-Reddit relevant to your job or interest. Share a story that you discover each day. #27 Pick up the phone and speak to someone every day rather than responding by email. #28 Refuse to meet in a meeting room. Insist on heading outside for a waking meeting instead. #29 Head to an art shop and pick a new medium. Create a piece of art daily using your new media. #30 Follow, listen and engage with someone new every day using LinkedIn on Twitter.
Please add your own suggestions for 30 day challenges in the comments and let me know how you get on.