Putting the “Social” in Social Media

Inviting Simple and Meaningful Visitor Expression

Four Speech Bubbles(You can download this job aid as a handy, one-page reference)

Social Media is just that – social. It’s a space for interaction, sharing, and engagement. Everywhere you look there’s a comment box. There’s so many opportunities to like or share content you appreciate. We use emojis to cheer each other up, offer hugs, well wishes, or accolades. And we talk to each other too – in big and small conversations.

Social media is social! Asking visitors to join a conversation is as simple as asking a question. But what questions should you ask?

The best dialogic questions to ask in social media spaces ask for easier engagement – they’re the types of questions that center on personal stories and memories that swim to mind right away. Paired with a concrete way to engage, these sorts of “green light” questions open a dialogue about personal experiences. They allow for sharing and social bridging.

They also help visitors build analogies between their personal experiences and the stories of the park’s powerful resources. They can understand triumph in the park’s story because they’ve felt triumph in their own life. Or love. Or community.

Some Example Questions to “Steal” for Your Posts

Love | Family | Kinship

  • Who have you chosen to call family?
  • When have you felt love for someone else?
  • What’s a moment when you forgave someone?

Ecosystem | Community | Connectedness

  • When has someone accepted you for who you are?
  • How do you rely on those around you for support?
  • When has your choice unexpectedly impacted someone else?

Habitat | Home | Landscape

  • What’s a memory of a place you call home?
  • Where do you feel comfortable being yourself?
  • What’s a place that calls to your soul?

Change | Loss | Difference

  • What big change in your life had positive impacts?
  • What’s a favorite memory of someone you’ve lost?
  • What’s a place important in your life that’s no longer there?

“Do You Really Want to Hear What I Have to Say?”

InterrobangThat’s the question you never want your audience asking when you ask a question. So be up front about it! Put your question first in your posts. Then, follow up with encouragement on how they can share their answer. Explicitly saying something like, “share your answer and read others’ in the comments,” can help stoke response and engagement. Oftentimes – though they may really want to express themselves – answering questions like these in a National Park Service setting is new and different.

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