Use a social media tool as the gateway to access general computer facilities
Promote and encourage the use of your social media site
The staff team behind a social media initiative must find ways to encourage young people to participate, but the vast range of online activities (eg. games, social networking, video etc) available to young people creates impossible competition. At SHMU in Scotland, membership and use of a Ning socila network was used as an incentive to young people wanting to use a brand new computer suite. Staff made it clear that any young person could use the computer, but they must first login to the Ning site and add some comments and view the latest activity.
- Tools and resources
This strategy was developed late in the Incluso project, but one of the projects which hosted an Incluso pilot and which is continuing with the social media initiative has since reported back that this strategy does work. The suite with the new computers is an incentive, but the youth workers try to avoid forcing the young people to go online. They feel they have found a good balance, where the young people now visit the Ning site to have a look round, write some comments, upload some photos and look at others’ entries before they then go to other sites they wish to visit.
This method is simply a means to get young people to visit the site you have created. Once they are there and their eyes are on the site other techniques are required to engage them and to help them learn.