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Things my students have learned from social networks

WHILE TEACHING third level college students how to effectively carve out their online social profiles, I learn about those social spaces by listening to feedback from those students. I've used a Slideshare deck to summarise where the students have set up their profiles and plan to use this blog post to capture feedback from my current students about the social networks they believe offer them the greatest professional benefit.

Everything in the slide deck is public knowledge already. The profile links come from public networks along with the images and associated photographs. In the past, I'd hesitate to put a cluster of student work onto the internet but I know our successful graduates start interviewing in October for paid positions they will join in May. That timeline is true for Honours graduates and that same timeline exists for our students who expect to be paid interns as part of their third year curriculum. So everything I do to promote the standing of successful students pays big dividends.

I also know there is exceptional value in peer review--the reviews of those who read my online content and the reviews of fellow students who click into links of content developed in the modules I teach.

This is greatHere is a cross-section of reflections by my current students as they look back on the online profiles they've created.

 Colette Nash writes, "Twitter and LinkedIn are the most important Social Media tools for me, before now I didn't even have a twitter account, I am now on several TechNews lists and could not live without my regular Technology updates!" Twitter's connected news flow appeals to Jess McNamara too. "You can share anything your tweet to another online location by simply clicking the share button."

The musician Calvin Cooke believes "Instagram gives the most professional benefit to an artist as regards PR and marketing." He explains, "Pre-internet, you had to wait until a magazine interviewed your favourite celebrity or a documentary just happened to be on television. Instagram gives a direct and instant unfiltered view into the life of a celebrity or entrepreneur. People love being able to see where they can't go."

Jack Allen points to Microsoft Sway because it "is an efficient way to keep a website current and fresh." We used hands-on time with Sway to create short snippets of information that would attract the attention of viewers who are accustomed to short and relevant content.

Kieran Holland thinks "Flickr provides the greatest professsional benefit" because it gives free storage and offers the opportunity for people to connect and share imagery in groups. These capabilities allow others to see your work. Holland explains, "In photography today, it's important to see and be seen so you can grow your skills."

Michael Gately likes Twitter, a social network where you can share information after you "link it to any other social site." The frictionless linkages and cross-promotion allow him to "do new things without telling Twitter what to do." David Maher, another creative multimedia student, also likes the ease of sharing enabled by Twitter's platform.

Along with her colleagues Alanna France, Conal Conroy, Dylan Cronin, Lotte Orum, Blaise Walsh, Tara McAuley and Mark Nolan, Rachel Ray believes "LinkedIn provides the greatest professional benefit because it is possible to build connection with people in the industry that you are preparing to work in." Rachel discovered that by "following influencers like Tim Robbins, a New York author, I have been able to think about motivating myself to work in the creative multimedia industry." Mark Nolan sees LinkedIn as "a less common social network where a lot of the people show common interests and skills as I do." That sentiment is shared by Lotte Orum. "LinkedIn users have stayed away from chit chat topics that are shared on other social networks." 

 These first-hand observations by students making their first steps into a cross-section of social media will help inform the judgment of others who follow while learning effective social media for business in a third level module taught on both the creative multimedia degree at LIT-Clonmel and the Sports Management degree at LIT-Moylish.

+++ Bernie Goldbach teaches creative media for business for the Limerick Institute of Technology.