Many have extolled the virtues of how Social Media is social. The naysayers opine that it is not, since they only see the heads down peering at the smart phone or tablets. It’s too easy to say that it’s not social. Most can attest to the ways in which Facebook status updates, texting, and sharing of messages and photos have allowed people to connect in different ways that has a marked feel from good, old email. I want to share how Social Media has changed the ways that I communicate with my prospective, current, and former university students. This is how I mentor with Social Media.
Social Media has increased the level of engagement and I’d offer that it’s about 90% positive experience for me. I can get an advising query via Twitter and respond within minutes. I can also get a reminder to post a reading on our online learning platform (Moodle in this case). Students also share news stories, good news, and just check in. My research assistants use text messaging while they’re conducting research or running an errand and again, they get an almost immediate response to make sure that they get the right article or book from the library or schedule the correct date and time for a meeting with the team.
I have found that I mentor more students via Social Media than ever before and given that 2011 and 2012 was really about my mentoring mandate which suits me and my strengths. I have conducted phone calls, email conversations, and even Twitter chats with mentees at my current institution and across the globe. Yes, I’ve mentored undergrads and graduate students who I will probably never meet. I have also found that some students follow me on Twitter and are not from my department and are now seeking me out due to what they feel is a more hands on approach. While I welcome the opportunity to help students, I remind them to check in with their respective department advising team.
My point here is that Social Media has allowed me to engage with and mentor more students and do so in a faster, if not better way. Sure, I might respond with a message, tweet, or text that reads: this requires a face to face meeting or a Google Chat Hangout, but the first point of contact was thanks to Social Media. Social Media platforms have allowed me to be a better mentor. My next post will speak specifically to Google Chat Hangouts!
This is me, I’m Janni Aragon, and I am a mentor.