DEMA Show 2010 Las Vegas Day 3

Sorry about the delay in finishing this series, the life of a professional Social Media Marketer goes a little nuts over the holidays. Plus I had some weird iPad issue that lost this article and the next one, so I’ve had to re-create from notes.

Friday was probably the best day so far with several classes about social media marketing. I wasn’t teaching them, but I like to see what other people are learning.

Way Too Early

Jason Heller from Dive Photo Guide gave a presentation far too early in the morning, especially considering he had hosted a party that went fairly late the night before. I showed up about 5 minutes before it started and ended up sitting on the floor because the room was packed. Big thumbs up to the people who attended since this industry needs to get in the game with their social media marketing.

Jason is a great guy and he knows his material really well, but I almost wonder if he overwhelms the crowd sometimes without giving a good first step. I’ll go into this more later as we look at some of the other presenters.

The New PADI Divemaster Course

As they said multiple times, the goal was to throw out the bath water, keep the baby. While that motto didn’t excite me, they were all on point which is typical (and good) of PADI. They always do a great job with having a consistent marketing message.

I’m impressed with the new program. As an instructor, I’ve attempted to teach at dive centers outside the one where I was initially trained and always get the same speech: we train at a higher standard, we’re tougher/better/faster/stronger, your credential doesn’t mean a thing until we initiate you, etc. Then I’d help and laugh inside about the speech.

Perhaps this new Divemaster program will help with that. There is a much stronger emphasis on experience. More dives required to start. More mentorship. More in water work.

Dive theory is dumbed down (I am hesitant in using that term) to what they will actually use as divemasters. This also creates a gap between the dive theory they learn as a DM and what they’ll need to pass an instructor exam. As an Instructor Development Course Staff Instructor, I can appreciate this on a lot of different levels. For instance, the DM that goes to an IE five years later has probably forgotten a lot of the dive theory, so having them learn it as part of the AI/OWSI is a good idea. Dive Theory is also available online, so I can opt to not take more of my time to teach it to AI’s. Better for divemaster students, better for instructor students, better for IDC Staff Instructors and Course Directors. Better.

I know when I was teaching divemasters, they had to do tasks that fit perfectly into Search & Recovery and Deep, now they’re officially part of the course. There’s also guided/critiqued practical application in dive site setup and management and dive briefing. Again, I did this before, I’m sure many of you did also, but it wasn’t REQUIRED until now. This is what makes me think we might see a bit more openness towards shop transfers since DM’s actually MUST have this better level of training. Only time will tell though.

One last note on that last part: the Search & Recovery and Deep specialties will count towards portions of the new DM course, so as an instructor, I can now more easily issue two more certifications.

PADI does good with Divemaster, not so good with Social Media

I attended every social media seminar I could. Since social media is what I do for a living, there wasn’t much new to learn, so I focused on the audience response to the content being provided. Unfortunately, the social media seminar I attended put on by PADI left me very frustrated.

To begin the seminar, the “instructor” stated that they didn’t really know social media that well and that the slides were put together by someone else, so they may have to defer any questions. Sounds fine, reminds me of my active teaching days when I occasionally had to answer “let me get back to you on that”.

There were several incorrect statements given, but I didn’t want to contradict the instructor and appear rude. However, when the person was giving examples of businesses that use social media well, I could take it no longer.

First, they showed a Facebook “Page” for a business that wasn’t a Page, but a Profile. I know this because I was following along on my iPad and it had a big “Add as Friend” button at the top instead of a “Like” button. Pretty much a dead giveaway. I pointed this out to the instructor. They said, “What makes you think it isn’t a Page?” I explained the Add as Friend vs Like button. They said, “No, it’s a Page” and that was that. This would have been an opportune time for the instructor to say “let me get back to you on that”, but instead chose to prove to the group that they didn’t understand the material and were rude to someone who has repeatedly tried to help.

Next, they showed PADI as a good example of how to use Twitter. If by auto-feeding from Facebook and never replying is what I mean by a good example. (To give them some credit, they did reply to me after DEMA to show that they do sometimes check their Twitter account).

I don’t expect everyone to understand social media as well as I and other do. But I do expect that if you’re going to teach your members, you should teach them things you know and use good examples. It makes all PADI members look bad regardless of our individual social media efforts when the mothership can’t do it adequately.

PADI, my offer still stands to help in every way I can to help bring up the quality of your social media marketing. You know how to reach me.

This post is long enough, any questions/comments/concerns/quotations?

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