Community Colleges Prepare Graduates for Jobs in Today’s Market
At Jefferson Davis Community College, I teach a special topics class called Social Media 101. One of the instructors in my division (also a very close friend) refers to my class as the Twitter class. Others wonder why we are teaching a class about Facebook and Twitter when it seems that students are always on Facebook or tweeting.
Social media skills are in demand. These skills involve much more than a Facebook profile or a twitter account.
Community colleges realize it is important to offer classes in social media. These classes offer students an opportunity to develop the strong social media skills in demand today. Social media skills should not be ignored. Strong Social media skills can help to strengthen chances of getting a good job in today’s job market.
Large companies like Dell have trained over 6,000 of their employees in the use of social media. But most small businesses are looking to hire employees who already have these skills.
Understanding how to effectively use social networking is now considered a basic skill. Mastery of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, blogs, and Google+ are pretty much mandatory for many businesses.
People want to learn social media, but they feel overwhelmed. They may think it is too late to jump on board. Community colleges are in the best position to prepare students for today’s workplace.Community colleges keep classes small so they are able to give individualized instruction to students. Some classes in social media are offered online through the community college.
In the social media class at JDCC, we cover the major social media platforms. We begin with Twitter. Students set up a twitter account the first week of class and interact with the instructor, students, and the content throughout the semester.
What is Twitter?
Let’s first look at Twitter’s home page for a definition:
Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting. Simply find the accounts you find most compelling and follow the conversations.
Twitter has been around since 2006 and has grown rapidly worldwide with over 140 million active users according to Wikipedia.
- Twitter is a microblogging tool made up of Tweets. Tweets are spurts of information no longer than 140 characters including spacing and punctuation.
Tweeting is easy and fun.
Why Should Community College students learn to Tweet?
Six Reasons to Consider:
1. Twitter makes it possible for community college students to connect instantly with family members and friends. It is a fun way to let your family members know what you are doing and to keep up with them. You can get these updates via your cell phone.
2. Twitter is a convenient method for community college students to stay engaged with their academics and with other students.
3. Twitter is a great way to make new friends who share your same interests. Community college students have an opportunity to follow interesting people that they would not have met otherwise.
4. Community college students should learn to use Twitter to prepare them for their future careers. Twitter allows businesses, both large and small, the ability to engage with customers. Many employers are looking for people who can help them with social media tasks.
5. Twitter makes it possible for community college students to connect with people around the world. Twitter is in almost every country around the world and is available in more than 20 languages.
- Twitter is a great tool to rally people around a cause.
Learn more about Twitter here https://twitter.com/about
Precautions to Consider
- Just like on Facebook and other forms of social media, it is probably not a good idea to say you and your family are leaving for Gulf Shores for the week.
- The world is full of lunatics and many of them are on social media such as Twitter. So use common sense. Do not post too much private information.
- Don’t post anything you would not want others to read on a billboard unless it is a direct message. And even then be careful because others could retweet your message that you considered to be private.
How Do I Get Started?
Go to Twitter and open your free account. https://twitter.com
Follow these tips:
- If possible, use your real name for your username. This is how you will be known on Twitter.
- Michael Hyatt recommends using initial caps and in-word caps so that your username will be more readable and memorable. For example, CarolHBates not carolhbates.
- Once you click Create My Account, you’re ready. Twitter will offer some suggestions for popular people to follow. You may want to skip this step for now. Twitter will also give you the opportunity to search your contacts for people who are already on Twitter. This will not be helpful to you unless you use one of the supported services such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL.
- Tweak your Settings. From the Home Page on the right hand side choose Settings.
- Choose the correct Time Zone.
- If you choose “Protect My Tweets” your tweets will only be viewed by those you approve. Your tweets will not be seen publicly. I suggest that you do not choose this option because you will limit your influence and limit the value you receive from Twitter.
- Upload a Profile picture (Profile Tab). We will discuss more about your Profile picture later. For now, include the best shot you have of yourself. You do not want to be an “egg head” which is the default picture assigned to those with no picture. Note: Your picture must be 750k or less.
- Make sure to complete the Profile description. We will give more thought to your Profile later. For now, complete your description in 160 characters or less.
- Connect your Twitter account to your website or blog if you have one. You can also connect to your Facebook account. This will post all your Tweets to your Facebook account, but is generally not recommended. You can always go back and change later.
- When you are finished, be sure to save.
- Choose the Settings link.
- Click on the Mobile tab. Enter your phone number and click on the Start button.
- From you cell phone, you can Tweet using SMS (text messages). I had been on Twitter for some time before I learned to use this feature. Text message the code Twitter gives you to 40404. You will receive a confirmation notice from Twitter that your device is registered.
- If you have an iphone, you can set up your Twitter in the Preferences. This gives you the ability to Tweet from within many iphone applications.