why i use social media as a new faculty

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I dig social media.  Not just as a new faculty, but as a human in general.  How else can we keep up with jobs, marriages, bad life decisions that ended up on someone’s smart phone, sonograms, videos of puppies stuck in boxes, Halloween costumes that would have been better left from our memories, pictures of meals that are unrecognizable in dim light, your fungus in your big toe, the person who posts over 30 things a day on kittens, and 100 photos of your kid at the beach crying the whole time because they hate the water?

All jokes aside, social media is a fantastic tool that new faculty should learn to embrace.  And yes, I am guilty of posting a lot of stuff from time to time (or regularly depending on who is my social media friend/connection). Do you literally have to hug it every time you open Facebook?  No.  But the ability to keep up with friends, colleagues, and family members, not to mention students, current events, local events where you live, restaurant reviews, conferences, and other professional work is also important.  I consider myself an ‘early adopter’ so it’s easy for me to log on to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, my email(s), Pinterest, and WordPress all at the same time to keep up with what’s hip.  Is it always about work?  Another no. Does it consume me when I know that it shouldn’t. Yes.  I wholeheartedly admit it and juts like any technology, discipline is required.

Social media can be a valuable tool for a professional.  I like to see what my colleagues are doing, what they’re highlighting, what’s important to them.  I understand that once I put something on the Internet, it’s open to public scrutiny and while I try to keep things pretty light, I find a lot of things in this world pretty humorous that others may not.  Not everyone agrees with me and that’s usually ok because I take it with a grain of salt.  Some days, the grains are much larger or smaller than others, but nonetheless, it’s always meant in good fun. All in all, it’s a great way to learn what others interests are.  It’s a great way to open a conversation, prompt students in class, find talking points with colleagues, or just share things in general. Perhaps you need to do a little recon work on potential students–head to the Internet and find what you need.  Will it cast a shadow on someone?  I sure hope not, but as the information age matures and we move from Web 2.0 to 3.0, it’s important not to shun social media from your daily, weekly, or regular repertoire.  Some might think it’s the last thing a new faculty has time for but I argue that you SHOULD make time for it. Simply “liking” a Facebook status shows that you are paying attention, reading, consuming, and producing other content.

Taking the time to subscribe to some regular feeds via rss or email can be valuable.  As someone in STEM and education, I subscribe to a few daily emails that I actually take the time each day to read.  Gleaning teaching tips, facts or research are positive side effects of what social media has to offer.

As a new faculty, how do you handle social media?  What do you wish you could do with your social media that you don’t have the capability to do right now?  Maybe your idea is the ‘next big thing’ that will catapult us into Web 3.0. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

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