Knowledge is Power BUT… you have to keep it up

The following is a guest blog post from Susan Roberts. Susan is an E-Recruiter and began working at Lethbridge College in September 2010.  She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Bachelor of Management in Marketing , both from the University of Lethbridge.  When Susan is not tweeting or crunching recruitment stats, she enjoys travelling, whether it’s jet-setting or travelling to her hometown to play in the dirt.

Social Media Unplugged - May 7, 2011

Social Media Unplugged 2011

A mere eight months ago I discovered Twitter. This was not an exercise that happened by chance. Lethbridge College had an opening for an E-Recruiter and although I wasn’t entirely sure was I what getting myself into, the job did sound interesting. In addition to the traditional ways that recruiters connect with students, I was tasked to connect with them in the online realm. My first thought was, “Awesome, Facebook at work!”  I was comfortable with this channel, as it had been my favorite partner in procrastination while I was in university. Twitter though, I will admit, scared me. Sure I had heard of this tool, as it was leading headlines on popular culture television shows, but I never used it. I remember a guest lecturer in my university Consulting class told us that, if we were a marketing student, we should be on Twitter. My immediate reaction to that was, “Ya… I’ll get right on that and Ashton Kutcher and I will soon be swapping tweets on our favorite places to eat in LA.”  At that time, I didn’t see that there was more to the conversations and that I would soon have an iPhone attached to my hand.

When I graduated from university one year ago, I hadn’t taken any classes to prepare me to enter the social media arena. My classes did acknowledge that social media was growing and my Advertising and Promotions textbook (that was published that year) had less than a page devoted to social media.  When I began using social media, I had conversations with my manager (@nbuis) and Mike McCready and I attended a “Social Media Bootcamp.” I took advantage of all of these opportunities to learn and I listened. I also listened to the social media channels that I was about to become a part of.

I jumped at the chance to attend “Social Media Unplugged” when Mike offered to help me get there.  I found that many of the presenters and the organizer were like me – any of them too had only discovered Twitter about six months ago. They all presented excellent case studies of ways they had used social media as a tool to achieve their business objectives. They did it well! I heard many of the presenters (some modest) express that they are not experts. This concept resonated with me, as I think we are all learning. Social media is ever-changing and it is difficult to be “all knowing” about such a vast medium. The nature of social media does allow us to collaborate – and that is a thing of beauty. While the presenters at “Social Media Unplugged” imparted their knowledge, attendees shared, interacted, and discussed via Twitter (#smuplugged). I could have stayed in Lethbridge and read numerous articles on social media, but I think I learned so much more by attending this conference. The presenters spurred a conversation where each participant listened, synthesized and contributed. I will continue to search out all opportunities to learn about social media, but I know that I enjoyed the opportunity to learn in this interactive way.

  • Patti

    Susan,

    Thanks so much for your blog entry about Social Media Unplugged, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to present, but an even larger pleasure to meet a few people and hear their stories, the things they found most successful in their businesses and watch them connect with eachother.

    I only found out afterward that there were quite a few people from outside of Calgary, and considering Johnathan had only marketed the event via social media, it was fantastic to hear about where some folks had driven from for the day.

    I think the most important thing for all of us to do is learn from each other, especially since social media seems to have so many different things to both offer and present for each individual and organization.

    All the best in your role at the Lethbridge College, I was raised in Lethbridge and attended there myself.

    Sincerely,

    Patti Blackstaffe

  • http://twitter.com/LethColleg_eR Susan LethColleg-eR

    Thanks Patti, it was a pleasure to attend and almost as much fun to write about. It was a great opportunity to meet social media users from so many networks. Jonathan did a great job getting the word out to the Lethbridge tweeting community.

    PS. We invite all those who’ve studied at Lethbridge College (@LC_Alumni) to check out http://www.lostalumni.ca/ to reconnect.

  • Natasha

    Susan, you have a very honest and authentic voice. You should consider writing more posts :)

  • http://twitter.com/LethColleg_eR Susan LethColleg-eR

    Thank you for the kind words. I will definitely consider your advice.

  • http://kempedmonds.com kemp

    We are all learning. There are no experts. Lifelong learning and social networking are two courses majorly lacking from most post-secondary education.

  • http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog/ Mike McCready

    I completely Kemp. I love learning about technology and social media. I look at everyone that works with social media as being on a spectrum. There are some that know more, and some that know less. But we are all learning. The minute you call yourself an expert is the minute you stop moving on that spectrum.

  • http://twitter.com/LethColleg_eR Susan LethColleg-eR

    I agree, the best kind of learning is when we teach each other. I think knowledge of social media in the academic world is on the rise. Print textbooks may not be able to keep up with changes to social media but I think instructors are taking note. Both Mike and I have had the opportunity to present to classes at Lethbridge College. It’s an interesting discussion to have with students as many of them are heavy social media users. When they see how social media can be incorporated into business practices, they are intrigued.

    While recruiting I had one high school student ask me, “How do I get your job?” My recommendation: Higher Ed is a great foundation that life-long learning can build on. Then again, I’m biased. After all I’m still a college recruiter.

  • http://twitter.com/ConnieMcKnight Connie McKnight

    Susan, Last Fall I realized that if I didn’t start taking advantage of social media I was going to get left behind. I jumped in with both feet and now I can’t imagine life without it. I didn’t know which platform to focus on and I was told I would come to realize which social networking site I would feel most comfortable on. They were right. I now love Twitter, for I am an information junkie and there’s a wealth of knowledge to be shared. There certainly is no shortage of information if you want to learn.

    The people I have met on Twitter are incredible and so supportive. I’m so glad I just jumped in and glad you were encouraged to use it.

    Thanks for sharing your insights. It was interesting to here the opinion of someone who has just graduated.

    Connie

  • http://twitter.com/LethColleg_eR Susan LethColleg-eR

    Thank you for sharing your experience as well. I find it reassuring to hear from others who have recently joined Twitter. As you’ve mentioned, Twitter has created great online communities.

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    Hey Susan, I saw the pic most are girls! Girl Power! Be responsible, think before you click.

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