5.1 Social Media and Online Communication – Do or Don’t?
Where to find your mentee in the online space
When one thinks about mentorship, one of the main things they consider is the real, human connection that’s created between two or more people. This image takes us back to the before social media and technology era. Mentoring involves thoughtful conversations, brainstorming and generally has a ‘one to one’ format. However you see it, mentor/mentee relationships like this are beneficial for their in-person, intimate and focused approach. All things considered, that does not mean that online mentoring cannot function nor that it eliminates its intimate character or lessens its impact. Mentoring has undergone a paradigm shift from a process of transmitting knowledge to a process of ‘learning and development’ through conversations and a two-way trusted relationship in which everyone takes part, learns and grows, both personally and professionally.
In 2016, around one in five adults with low levels of educational attainment across the EU reported distance and/or the lack of suitable learning provision among the obstacles. Thus, when considering learning opportunities for adults, the concept of flexibility is of utmost importance. (European Commission, 2021) The 2016 Council Recommendation on Upskilling Pathways emphases flexibility in adult education and training by referring to a three-step approach consisting of (1) skills assessment, (2) the provision of a tailored, flexible and quality learning offer and (3) the validation and recognition of skills acquired. (European Counsil, 2016) Distance learning is commonly seen as one of the approaches that can enhance the flexibility of education and training. Contrary to traditional learning, which requires learners to organise their personal or professional commitments around their studies, distance learning allows learners to organise their studies around their commitments.
The digital transformation of everything has opened various doors for mentoring and distance learning as well. Now mentoring is not limited to the mentee’s location or country of residence but has become a ‘global learning opportunity’ in which people from different countries can connect and learn from each other. All of that happens from the comfort of one’s home and at a time that is convenient for all the involved parties in a mentoring relationship. Thus, there is a response to the previous need for flexibility and more opportunities as more and more opportunities for distance learning arise through the years, especially after the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Technology has changed the way we communicate and reach each other. Nowadays, we can connect with people living in another country or even on another continent. For that reason, it is essential to use the tools provided by the online space to reach your mentees. There are various platforms where one can find mentees eager to learn and engage with them. However, oftentimes highly disadvantaged youths (our target group) are not very eager to learn, and thus we should promote opportunities for mentoring in an appealing way in order to catch their attention. To do that, we can employ social media and especially the ones that are very popular among youths. Some examples of these platforms are:
Facebook is a very well-known social media platform which is being extensively used by a lot of professionals as well. Mentorship is also available through Facebook within selected groups. Group members can choose their mentorship partner and get one-to-one support from another group member. Mentorship can last up to ten weeks and once completed, both parties are still able to see everything that they have previously shared. Group members must be aged 18 or over to offer or request mentorship.
Steps to follow to become a mentor through Facebook:
- From your News Feed, click Groups in the left menu and select your group. If you don’t see Groups, click See more. (Try to join relevant groups with the mentoring you want to offer in order to have more impact and success)
- Click Mentorship below the cover photo.
- Click Become a Mentor on the right-hand side.
- Add some information about yourself and the topics that you can help people with, then click Submit.
- You’ll be notified when people are interested in mentorship, and you can decide who you want to mentor.
You can also create a mentoring group in Facebook and start offering mentoring opportunities from there.
Steps to follow:
- From your News Feed, click Groups in the left menu and select your group. If you don’t see Groups, click See more.
- Click Settings in the menu on the left-hand side.
- Scroll down to Add extra features.
- To add a mentorship, click Add next to Mentorship, then select a category and click Save.
- For additional support, click Education Centre in the left menu of your Facebook group.
LinkedIn Learning platform
LinkedIn Learning has thousands of professional courses to build your business’s most in-demand skills. You can apply to join the passionate instructors who share their expertise and knowledge with the world. You’ll collaborate with some of the industry’s top producers, directors, and editors so that your content is presented in the best possible light. (Apply here)
As a LinkedIn Learning instructor, you can:
- Help people reach professional and personal goals
- Learn valuable skills applicable to your professional life
- Benefit from the massive visibility this platform provides
Online Mentoring platforms
Over the past few years, and more intensively after the rise of COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of online mentoring platforms were developed. Through these platforms, mentors and mentees around the globe are connected and can form trustworthy and meaningful relationships in which both can grow and learn new things. These platforms are a very useful tool to find your mentees online without struggling too much.
Examples of platforms:
- Mentspot is a platform where mentors and mentees can find each other and connect. According to Mentspot, ‘to get somewhere in life, business, study, relationships or anything else, it’s important to get guidance from a mentor’. Even though sometimes finding a mentee or mentor can be difficult, Mentspot provides a simple way to get connected with mentors and mentees in any category.
- COM is an EPIC (Educate, Propel, Inspire, Communicate) mentor network focusing on lifelong learning utilising mentoring and master mining. There are over 1400 categories of mentoring programs in which you can register to become a mentor.
- Chronus is a mentoring software that enables people to learn and develop while delivering strategic value. Chronus connects people through a hybrid workspace and offers different mentoring programs and subscription opportunities so as to cover different needs and audiences.
- You can find more platforms here.
Reflective questions for the reader:
- Think about your own group of mentees. How do you think it will be best to reach out to them?
- Think about your mentoring style. Which platform do you think will be more appropriate for the program that you have to offer?