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Thoughts from Princeton University Social Media Day

The Office of Career Services at Princeton University recently held a Social Media Day. The day consisted of a variety of workshops, presentations, and conversations about all things related to social media, communications, and career development.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate on a panel of journalists and media representatives. As the lone blogger on a panel that included experts from print publications and television news, I was definitely representing new media. During the discussion, I had the opportunity to field a couple of questions that were focused on issues in higher education.

Here are the HE-specific questions and some of my thoughts that I shared last week:

In light of recent events on campuses, have you seen changes in higher ed administration that can be attributed to social media--is the dialogue between the student body and administration any different now because of social media?

It's always difficult to speak with specificity when you're on a panel. Each campus is unique in how it addresses campus activism and social media commentary/controversy. However, there has definitely been an increased focus with how administrators are using social media for listening and engagement in the past 5 years. Additionally, social media channels allow campus activism to spread far beyond the boundaries of a brick-and-mortar campus. What used to be an internal matter at a campus is now national news. This can be quite challenging for administrators as they try to lead on campus and provide information for external audiences. Student affairs professionals have to be well-versed with social media channels and strategic communications.

Any cautionary tales about social media adversarially effecting students' academic careers or potentially derailing their future professional plans?

I asked how much time I had to answer this question as there are myriad examples of students who have posted things on social media that could affect their career development. I cited a recent student here in the UK who had reacted poorly to an invitation to an event on Facebook. With surprising speed, his social media missteps were national news and he was subject to harassment on campus. I spoke about the need for campus leaders to reach out to him in a meaningful way. I also stressed the value of social media for teaching, learning, digital literacy, and employability.

In addition to being on the media panel, I had the chance to give a presentation on digital identity.

Thanks to Evangeline Kubu and Princeton University Career Services for hosting a great educational experience. It's a great model for all career services offices in higher education. Here's a wonderful Storify of the Social Media Day sessions.

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