Ever wondered why you feel like jumping on social media and sharing your powerful thoughts through memes, posts or creative videos? Maybe there is a noble future calling out to you!
Do you get excited every morning to check out the latest trends on Twitter? Is your mind occupied with posts that could create meaningful conversations on Facebook? Do you love to debate on the silliest of the Instagram stories with your friends? Or are you that anonymous blogger who is winning your colleagues’ or friends’ hearts?
If the answer is a big YES, then you are a highly sought after digital-age thought leader the world is looking for!
Although, the role of a thought leader, a motivational speaker or a mentor has always been important, but, it is time people realise the dire need of thought leaders or mentors in current times, who can guide others on a path to empowerment of individuals and the society as a whole.
Now, more than ever universities and corporations aim to encourage thought leaders to work towards greater good with digital media at its very core.
If you are unsure about how to break into this profession, the simple answer is just GET INVOLVED! Because the truth is you will never be ready!
You can find your path through your school or University programs, or when you have the desire to share your experience or even when you are in a company that resonates with your big idea.
If you have just stepped into your University, hurray! The first step is to look for student leadership or peer mentor programs that will get you involved in this profession very early in your career.
The article a student leadership program empowering international students by Karen Zhou, a student success advisor at MIT, states that these programs develop maturity, utilise professional skills, inculcate confidence in students and further stimulate ideas for student success. These students implement their creative ideas through social media and the universities feel confident to rely on these digital wizards to get their message across.
For example, I work as a Peer mentor at the University of Melbourne and a Vice President of a student club (SMAC). I have harnessed technical skills through project management software like Trello and communications software like Slack. I use MyUniLife app to interact with my mentees, publish posts and conduct webinars.
These experiences develop professional work ethics, understandability, strategic use of the digital media platforms and above all, empathy. Moreover, some students also utilise the digital platforms like podcasts and interactive apps and these new age techniques set them apart from their previous leaders.
Similarly, The University of Southampton, also aims to create these results through the use of social media to enhance peer mentor experience for the participants. The University recommends these initiatives for creative people (journalism, TV, design or films) with big dreams as it provides professional management and leadership platform to practise their skills.
If you have already graduated, do not think you have missed the train. Look around for inspiration, for example, the list of Instagram influencers or motivational speakers. They started their journey when they found a good cause to talk about.
Check out this health and fitness guru whom I follow – Ranveer Allahbadia. He took to Instagram and started his Insta handle named @beerbiceps, when he realised the importance of fitness and wanted to share his life changing experience with the world.
The use of a visual publishing platform made his stories more relatable, genuine and approachable. Through Instagram he could post his top fitness regimes, secrets and go live with his fans; which helped him create a personal connection with his followers. Now, you would wonder what is exceptional in using social media? “Even I can do that!”
You are absolutely right! You are a digital-age baby and you are at an advantage to become a digital-age thought leader. Your expertise is valued greatly even in corporate sectors, where being a digital-age thought leader is the next big trend!
Michael Gale, writes in his article that corporate businesses are in great demand of digital-age thought leaders, as business leaders now seek ways to digitally transform their companies. These leaders are very different from their predecessor and have an eye for business that will be dictated by AI influencers and podcasts in 2030.
Only 28% of the leaders at present, have been able to digitally transform their businesses. This clearly depicts the demand for digital savvy thought leaders. To clearly understand the job of a digital age leader, I strongly recommend the article from McKinsey called Six social-media skills every leader needs.
So, friends, if you have got the talent and the intent, jump on and choose the path you like and just get involved. You never know how beautiful the journey is until you start!
But, before we part our ways today, I want to share an insight from a research done by a Unimelb PhD candidate. In her research study she identified that motivation of University students to utilise social media for leadership positions were found to be only limited to self affirmation, consciousness, common purpose or controversy on civility.
Based on this study, I am curious to know that when you decide to step in this field as a digital-age thought leader, will you be contributing towards the community and the greater good of society? Or will you also be limited to the factors highlighted in the research above?