Social Media Trends

by Amanda Surgens, Resident Director

I’m pretty hip… I have a myspace. Wait, myspace isn’t hip anymore?

I can’t keep up with this online stuff – it’s too complicated and there’s way too much to try to do and still get my work done.

How come no one knows what’s up in our department – we’re sending emails!

If you’ve said these things in the past six months – you might need some refreshing with social media trends… Ed Cabellon is just your man!

On Tuesday, February 8, 2011 during the lunch hour, Ed Cabellon (man of many talents, including Director of the Campus Center) hosted a Professional Development session about Social Media in Student Affairs.  About ten people attended, but many more could benefit from the information presented at this informative session!  Have no fear, the blog is here!

Ed talked about the three popular Social Media Trends.  First up:  Facebook!
Brought to our attention was the fact that many clubs and organizations and departments on campus do have a Facebook fan page, but are they using them in a way that engages students?  Participants were encouraged to enlist their students and their audience to respond to statuses, pictures and media posted on the site.  Engage your students by asking questions and using your facebook fan page as more than just a one way conversation (much like your website already does for your organization).  He also shared ways that your fan page can entertain its viewers or “like-rs”

Clearly, many of us know, use, and love Facebook.  Therefore that social media trend was easy to buy into and share the excitement about.  However, it seems that the Social Media Trend 2: Twitter; just plain has a bad rap.  I too admit, that before hearing Ed talk about the professional benefits of Twitter (at a previous presentation, I was a skeptic and pretty much anti-twitter).  However, Ed explains that Twitter is a way of helping you to connect with people you WANT to know – whereas Facebook is a connection to people you DO know already.  Twitter is a great place to connect with other people who do the same thing you do at a different area, school, state, region, or country.  If you haven’t crossed over and become a twitter user, Ed explains that you can sign up and observe others using twitter before you fully commit!  Some of us need to see how others are doing something before we jump in… with Twitter, that’s ok!

The third Social Media Trend discussed was the use of a Blog.  Ed explains that having a departmental blog can give your students a place to reflect and share.  Ed gave great tips on how to manage who posts to your blog, what is posted, how to monitor the content and schedule the updates.

In addition to discussing the three popular social media trends, Ed talked a lot about your own digital identity.  How to figure that out, how to get the most out of the services you do use and how to minimize the time spend but maximize the result of your social media usage.

There was a good conversation had about how some people have no problem tweeting during a presentation while still paying attention but others not only couldn’t do it, find it distracting when others are!  Ed suggested having conversations about this and setting limitations when it comes to different presenters allowing people to be tweeting during the presentation.  I think this has to do with different learning styles.  Some people can type, listen, react, and participate with no issues.  Others need to be completely engaged without any distractions.  For me, I find even someone leaning over to whisper something to me is a big distraction – way more than someone else typing in the seat next to me.  But to each his own, and I think that’s how Social Media is for everyone…

What’s your take on Social Media?  Are you on the same page as your students?  Could you be more effective in engaging them if you were?


About cindykane

Director of @BSUInvolved and interested in leadership and professional development strategies. Mom, scholar-practitioner, looking to make an impact!
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5 Responses to Social Media Trends

  1. Mike Goodhart says:

    Firstly, thanks for starting this Student Affairs Professional Development blog – and for Amanda, this great blog post!

    I had a few thoughts based on the points presented here. While I’ve used a personal blog, I’ve never considered the use a blog would have on a departmental level. The SAPD blog is a great example of ways we can reach out to each other in student affairs, especially for us introverts who could do more to collaborate with fellow colleagues! I love to write… so I feel comfortable in these settings! Blogs seem to work very well for students at conferences they attend to get the word out about the information they learn and discuss. In terms of departmental blogs, I’d love to see some examples of them.

    The idea that Twitter is a way to get to know people you WANT to meet was a profound concept to me. I honestly utilize Twitter infrequently, and I plan on learning more about ways to use it – but the only people I follow on Twitter are people I already know. So Ed Cabellon’s idea is interesting to me, and it makes sense the more I think about it.

    Facebook fan pages are so easy to create – we have one for the Great Hill Student Apartments, for instance. But it most definitely is more of a one-way communication to students from the RLH staff. I like the idea of making it more interactive and inviting students to participate in discussions and provide questions for comments from the residents.

    Overall, I know I could engage students much more via social media. We could learn a lot from folks like Ed!

    • Ed Cabellon says:

      Thanks Mike for reading and your comments!

      Many folks use Twitter with a “Facebook” mentality because that’s what their frame of reference is for “social media” tools. In reality, when you look at Twitter for what it is, an “information network”, you begin to peel it back for what it is, a central place to connect with the people and brands you want to get to know better. Sure, Twitter can turn “social”, but it’s primary function is to share information and ideas quickly. As I’ve said before, it really is, the best professional development tool out there and the Student Affairs community is amazing… and growing!

  2. Eric Stoller says:

    Nice post Amanda. As someone who tweets and blogs quite a bit, I found your words to be extremely validating for the work that we do. Keep tweeting / blogging!

  3. Joe Sabado says:

    Right on point Ed! I’ve already had facebook for a couple of years but Twitter is definitely where my learning started. Through twitter, I met folks in student affairs via #sachat. If you look at my favorites –!/JoeSabado/favorites – you’ll see the links about leadership, IT, mobile web, higher ed and social media.

    These favorites are also being saved on diigo – automatically. If you look at my bookmarks on diigo, you’ll see additional pages and pages of materials similar to my favorites on twitter.

    I also added Linkedin as another networking site and connected with other SA folks I follow on twitter.

    What social media (specifically twitter) has given me is a perspective of looking at years beyond now like tech trends in SA (enterprise vs consumerism), and getting ideas based on what other universities are doing now.

  4. Thank you Amanda for sharing your insights from Ed’s presentation. I work in an office where we started with a blog and just this academic year added Facebook and Twitter. Twitter is the one we have the most student engagement on. It has also allowed us to connect with offices similar to ours around the country, through which we’ve learned new ideas of how we can engage with our student population.

    I agree with Joe, that LinkedIn can also be a powerful networking tool. Since I’m in Career Services, I have the opportunity to share with students how they can utilize social media, especially LinkedIn and Twitter, to connect with and research organizations for their job or internship search.

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