What makes a good social media role model?

# Following on from his previous post Mark Dykeman takes a look from a contrary point of view and says that being a Role Model 3.0 may not be such a great thing due to the time involved in out reach.

His model of the different role model types shows that role model 3.0 will have a high authority but, in my view this does not automatically imply a high availability.

What is a role model?

To use the same definition as Mark:

"a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, esp. by younger people."

In a social media context this would mean someone who "gets it" and therefore is an authority on what social media is can how it can be used effectively. As such , people are going to want to emulate their online behaviour.

In the context of my previous post where we are looking at how ordinary people can be educated about social media and it can be made a mainstream means of communication it is the role models who will obviously be blazing the trail.

To twist a well known phrase:

"With authority comes great responsibility"

Mark expresses concern over the time a role model may have to devote to their "status" but, surely it is better to have a role model who demonstrates how social media can be used in conjunction with our existing lives and not instead of them. They would, by necessity need to unplug and not be the type who spends all their time on twitter when they could be doing something else. The average person would not want to emulate this behaviour anyway so, by definition, the social media addict couldn't actually be a role model.


If we are to encourage those people with normal lives, normal jobs and families to use social media then the best example to set is one of balance. We don't want to create a world where people only communicate virtually; social media is a facilitator, not the end product.

We must show how social media can be used responsibly without detriment to other aspects of life otherwise it will always be seen as the playground of the geek who is "always on" and thus never go mainstream.

Your take

What do you think makes a good social media role model? How can we lead the way and educate those who have not yet experienced social media or realised what it can achieve?

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  1. Clara says: #
    The challenge is processing all the information available. Perhaps a social media role model can speak to people with different levels of understanding about social media. It's part awareness of the media and how to use it, and it's part awareness (perhaps compassion?) for those who want to learn it and are not sure how exactly to get there. And that's not easy because how do you explain what a watermelon tastes like to someone who's never had watermelon? ;)
  2. Mark Dykeman says: #
    This is a little tricky to respond to because I see this issue as being bigger than social media - perhaps it is, strictly speaking, a time management problem. It makes sense to emulate people who can balance their hobbies with their other responsibilities. It's also admirable when they devote their time to help the less knowledgeable. But, as Stephen Covey said, as on of his book titles, "First Things First." Mark Dykeman's last blog post..Being a role model might not be much fun
  3. Colin says: #
    Mark, Yes, it's definitely a bigger issue and social media will become just another addiction for the masses much like games consoles. The difference may be if the role models can nip the addiction in the bud by promoting responsible use but I doubt it. It's a tough one. Clara, Exactly! Part of any evanglism is explanation, if you can't show how and why you can't hope to have an impact.
  4. It makes sense to emulate people who can balance their hobbies with their other responsibilities. It’s also admirable when they devote their time to help the less knowledgeable. Thanks...