Use Social Media, Teach Social Media, Model Social Media in the Community College

Girl with Cell Phone Using Social Media: Photo by Sony DSC

Instructors in the community college should not be afraid to use social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Embrace these powerful tools to engage students. As you use social media, you can model for students the proper way to use social media.

Social media tools are not only a great way to engage students in your class but are also a means of preparing students for careers after graduation. Students should learn how to use social media to find jobs, research companies, collaborate on school projects, and build professional relationships.

Teach students how to use social media responsibly. Young people need to know that many potential employers check their Facebook page before they check references listed on their résumé. Students should be taught how to create a strong social media presence and an all-around positive digital footprint. What information will the potential employer find when the student’s name is Googled?

Faculty should make sure that students follow precautions.

Privacy settings continually change. Any information that you post should be considered public. The information that you post can be viewed by others in one form or another.

Social media is not private. Anyone can copy and paste your comments or tag you in photos. A supposed friend can show your comments to unintended recipients.

Young people need to know that the lines between their personal lives and work lives are blurred. Individuals look at your social media Tweets and Facebook posts and tend to “read between the lines.”

Ask students how they want to be perceived. Your online reputation can be a valuable asset or a huge liability. Always consider any comments that you post to be as public as a billboard on a busy intersection. Think, would this comment embarrass me if my mother or future children read this post.

The article Social Media, Students and Getting a Job by Rob Croll provides guidelines to help students develop a strong online presence.

Students need to learn how to build connections with their peers and industry leaders. Teach students how to use social media effectively so they can reach their career goals.

Stating that you have a blog is one of the best things students can put on a résumé. By researching and writing a blog, students can brand themselves as professionals in an area of expertise. Students do not have to be experts before they start a blog on a topic; they can share the latest news and trends on a subject and add their opinion. In the mind of some employers, an active online presence can make up for their  limited experience.

One of the biggest challenges for instructors in the community college is to make sure that all students have access to the technology. Many students and faculty have computers and smart phones, but what about the students who do not have access to this technology? How have you handled this challenge? I would appreciate your comments.

You may also want to read:

Social media backlash continues against Troy Mayor Janice Daniels over gay slur (Michael Wayland)

Businesses hiring private investigators to do social media checks on competitors (The Associated Press)

Leaked social media policies emphasize Apple’s secrecy mantra (Mickey Campbell)

Social media, students and getting a job (Rob Croll @fullsail)

Social media for creative (Speider Schneider)

Tweeting to succeed (Jeff Hargarten)

How social media can and should impact higher education (Mark Blankenship, From Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education)

How to brand yourself for the job hunt (Lindsay Olson)