Post, Comment, Like, Share, Tweet, Snap, Repost, DM, Chat, Swipe Right - Can you keep up?

Can there be a thread that connects the various accounts people carry in their pocket every day?

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Have you seen my new post on Facebook about that article? No. What about the tweet I just retweeted from Obama? No. Tell me that you saw the video I posted about what my students found funny? No. Well, I mean I just posted these things within the past hour, so they are getting old. You have to keep up.

As an online college adviser, my students love the ease that comes with meeting or chatting with me. They can message me - Google Voice, Google Hangout, Remind, Signal Vine, Facebook, Twitter - they can talk to me - FaceTime, ooVoo, Skype, Facebook, Google Hangout - or they can email me - My professional email, my professional Gmail, Mail Chimp. By expanding the various platforms I have used, I have been able to reach more students. However, this has caused more stress on me as I have to make sure I check all of my platforms constantly, sometimes I have to use multiple platforms at once as students like to traverse across platforms, and I have had times where I did not get a notification about a response I received.

Lately, I have been asking students a few questions about their social media usage. Which ones do they use the most? How often are they on them? Why do they like the things that they do? I have, for the most part, been receiving the same answers. “Mr. Douglas, I mostly use Facebook and Twitter,” or, “I’m more of an Instagram person,” and my favorite, “I only sents the snaps Mr. André.” They all agree that they use it all the time. It’s mostly whenever they get a notification from the app. And they all share whatever they like that will get them more likes, comments, and shares.

My online advising program uses Facebook and Twitter to connect to students, so I’ve asked whether no not they clicked on the social media links to sign up. Their responses were very simple. Either they think it’s a scam or they don’t want to mix personal with professional. The first answer surprised me as most of them share, like, and post spam and scams all over social media platforms. The second question, not so much. Now my questions became specific. Why did you think it was a scam/spam? What can we do about merging or separating the private from the personal?

I can think of two initial solutions when it comes to these items. The first is just legitimacy. Programs created need to be solidified not only by celebrities but also people in the inner circles of our students (i.e. teachers and counselors).  Secondly, students need a way to create multiple accounts that are somehow connected. What typically comes to mind with this is the idea of Gmail accounts and how easy it is to switch between multiple accounts.

Social Media is a relatively new tool with endless possibilities. As we move forward, not only with this collaboration but also technology in general, it will be exciting to see what happens next. This article can go on and on, but here is what I have found from my research with students and just in general when it comes to creating a popular social media platform:

The platform must be simple in design and allow users to share their unique personalities (i.e. Profile Pictures, Videos, Backgrounds, Songs)

Creating a platform that doesn’t require students to start all over (Tinder uses Facebook)

Starting a platform that has legitimacy from the initial phase and is supported by educators globally (Facebook groups used by colleges and clubs to spread information)

Having a platform that allows students to act professionally at times and at other times they can act like themselves without any consequences (Gmail having multiple accounts)

Students must be able to access this platform anywhere (Mobile and Desktop Versions)

Most importantly, this app must have appeal to it somehow. Maybe a rewards feature such as scholarships or trips to visit colleges or go on programs for free.

All of these items are elementary in thought of course. Hopefully, as we all collaborate and move forward,  progress can be made to somehow unite education and social media in a more appealing and efficient application. I’m not suggesting we create a brand new site or platform. Recreating the wheel has always been proven to be the least effective method. What I am proposing though is collaboration across industries, ideas, and future pathways. Facebook and Google, are you both listening?

[Optional] Synthesize a little! In one sentence, describe what you learned from your empathy exercises or analogous research. (Ex: Good advisors make a difference.)

Utilization of social media would sure make life easier.

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