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Social media, “Not a Fad”

I’ve spent a lot of time recently talking with students about NC State, social media, Founder’s Day…that kind of stuff.  Grounding myself on State, Raleigh and college life in general.  Also got to meet Mr. & Mrs. Wuf.  Good stuff.

Joe & Wulfs

I heard that “social media is not a fad” from many of those I talked with.  Not that this surprised me, but kids today have grown up around social media and its now just part of their everyday life.

Of the 30 or so I talked with, 100 percent were big users of Facebook.  Have it on all day.  Check in every hour.  First thing I check out after my alarm goes off in the morning…and that alarm is the cell phone sitting next to the bed.  Mashable says that 98 percent of today’s college students have Facebook accounts and that 95 percent of them use it everyday.  I heard nothing that would lead me to believe otherwise.

But to be effective, social media have to be, well, social!!!  “The one way message does not resonate well with this audience, ” one senior told me.  “You’ve got to actually talk to people on Facebook or Twitter.  You can’t just talk about what you’re having for lunch, or what movie you’re going to see.  If you saw Twilight, tell me what you thought about it, and don’t just tell me it was the best movie ever made.  Why was it the best movie ever made.  Did the werewolves scare the hell out of you. Did the vampire story make you think about your own life, or about your family.  What.  Why.  Talk to me.”

So what I am hearing is pretty straight forward, this isn’t a monologue, it’s a dialogue.

Another said you had to “translate your voice to Twitter.”  140 characters might seem to limit most, but students today want to feel your emotions through Twitter and Facebook.  That’s a skill many in my generation have failed to master.  Get to it folks.  A dialogue with feelings, one sentence at a time.

I think the issue about translating your voice to Twitter is pretty interesting.  Before I left UF I had started a discussion with the Athletic Association about giving a voice to the University’s mascot, Albert Alligator.  Just what does he talk about (tweet about.)  Gotta be more than athletics, but how much more. Does he talk about tuition, the state’s economy, his wife (Alberta, no kids yet) and friends, the challenges of living on campus, etc.  What.  And when he talks/tweets, does he have an accent?  Good question.  We should be having the same discussion about the Wuf’s shouldn’t we?  If this social media thing is not a fad, we need to be all over it.

While a lot of people out there don’t give a hoot about what I might say, or what the Chancellor or football coach might say, they would listen to Mr. Wuf.  Wouldn’t they?  I don’t know.  Could be part of our communications planning process.  I’ll leave that up to the committees, and the Athletic Association.

Another provocative comment was about the “delivery system” for social media.  Could it be that in three or four years everything will look the same?  Well, not exactly, but many students believe that Facebook, Twitter, Television, class lectures, movies, etc., will look the same.  “Same little box; everything displayed on a screen will have to use the same format.”

Not sure about that, but with the new G4 network coming out next year (that’s less than six weeks from now folks) your cell phone will be capable of receiving and delivering  streaming video real time.  Why wouldn’t “everything” migrate to a similar platform.  For years television has been the dominant platform.  The box in your living room providing programming that evoked all kinds of emotion.  Next, the cell phone.

Too heavy so I’m going to say all for now.  This week will probably be a short week for Hiceschool.  Headed south for the holidays.

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