I wish I had time to explore all the fresh tools and apps designed to inspire or help us to become more effective and efficient. There are some cases where I will be first in line to test a new product or service. Then there are times when I want to observe how a person or company is using a product or service. I downloaded Snapchat early, but I did not actively use the service. I could understand why teens were using Snapchat to communicate, but did it make sense for me or my professional life? This summer, I began to see how various communities were thriving with Snapchat and why publishers and marketers were salivating for a reason to snap. Keeping up with the Jones’ was not an excuse to determine if my company should be using Snapchat, but it did give me the motivation to brainstorm various angles of use.
What better way to explore a product or service, than becoming dependent upon it for a certain length of time. I am talking about becoming immersed in the community. Not simply observing, but actively participating. I wasn’t going in alone. I needed other viewpoints and skill sets. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce team immersions – where I invite and challenge my team to only communicate using one tool/product/service for 24 hours.
You guessed it. The first immersion on my list would be Snapchat.
I wasn’t a Snapchat super user, but I knew one of my team members actively snapped. In vain, she had tried to get her teammates to join in her obsession. No dice. This immersion day would giver her a chance to demonstrate how and why she uses Snapchat. She would be the perfect teacher for my team. I asked her to compile a super simple training session two weeks before our scheduled immersion. This gave team members enough time to download and play with Snapchat without the fear of first snap learning in front of a professional audience.
There was some grumbling. Snapchat is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some folks communicate better with words than pictures. Using Snapchat forced our team to use whole-brain thinking. Pun intended – this assignment required one to look at the world through various lenses and document the experience.
Yesterday, our team immersed ourselves into the world of Snapchat.
For some, caffeine intake was the sole focus of the day. Others used animal superstars to convey humorous captions to the workday. Snaps are fleeting, but the impression of the immersion is not. Whether we continue to use Snapchat personally or devise a way to use for our organization, our team now understands the friction points of the experience and how each of us viewed the world so differently during a 24 hour day…just as each member of our communities. If nothing else, this invitation for a team immersion was a wakeup call for empathy across all channels. It is so easy to become comfortable in our routines on mainstream social media networks. There are other ways to tell stories. Emotions are captured beyond emojis. We know Snapchat better and can think strategically about how and if/when we encourage snapping.
An added benefit? We know each other better. This is the foundation of success for any team…especially a virtual team!
Follow me on Snapchat: VargasL / VargasLMV
Our next team immersion is in September and we will be using Periscope.