Using Social Media for Professional Development


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Presented at the Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Spring 2012 Conference.

Although this presentation was crafted for financial aid administrators, the strategies are applicable to anyone wishing to use social media for professional development. Examples are specific to employees working for institution of higher education.

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  • Why are you here? Are you skeptical? Excited? Let me know what you want to learn in the next hour.Why am I here? To inform and inspire. To train and guide. To evangelize, if you’ll let me.
  • Social media is used by the majority of people of all ages, regardless of their color, location, socioeconomic status, education level, or gender.It’s free. In a time of declining funding for professional development and conference travel, using social media to connect with colleagues is a no-brainer.
  • This is a really basic way to use Twitter or Facebook for professional development.
  • By being more intentional, you can reap greater benefits.
  • You may have heard hype over the last two years about personal branding. Social media gives you a platform to develop your professional brand. What areas do you excel? Who are your best collaborators? These things all become apparent over time on social media. Consider the “expert rule” – you’re only considered an expert 100 miles away from your campus. SM will help you develop expertise.
  • Has anyone here made the leap into connecting with peers on social media? Care to share your thoughts?
  • I’d like to tell a quick story about my experience with using social media for development. Over time, it can have amazing impacts on your career.
  • Over the last two years he has pushed me harder than I thought I could be pushed academically. He’s added an entire new level of rigor to my doctoral program. For the entire first year of my classes, we had still never met in person. There was a good chance the first time we would meet would be at my dissertation defense.
  • I was asked to do this article because of my presence on social media. It was my first national publication.
  • This was a surreal experience, unlike the tweetup I participated in at ACPA. There were approximately 50 people there. We had a private room. And I realized that when you get to know someone on Twitter, you hug them the first time you meet them. There’s no need to break the ice, because you know what they’ve been doing day-to-day for the last few months.
  • Not only was this important to continue to form professional connections, but our network on Twitter was following our every move. They wanted to be there with us.
  • Meanwhile, while doing research for my dissertation, I’ve been getting to know Greg through his work as an academic. We had never tweeted or met in person, but he was connected through my network.
  • Conducted a week-long research project at the University of Florida. Met with staff from the doctoral program. Had a great time. Realized this was my “dream team” of collaborators. We all have a different focus, but the same overarching interest – data-based practice for social media in higher education, both in the classroom and out.
  • In March we gave our first panel presentation at South by Southwest EDU, and we’re currently working on an academic paper to submit for publication.
  • Your story is likely not going to replicate mine. So how do you get started?
  • Melissa also has a list of WASFAA members she’s aware of on Twitter.
  • When you reach out to people, you’ll have a deeper learning experience…and eventually you’ll find that people are reaching out to you.
  • If you have the privilege of attending a conference, you can pay it forward by tweeting or blogging great content for people who couldn’t make it. But don’t go overboard. Twitter will limit you. They’ve limited Joe twice. 
  • ACUHO-I is an organization for housing professionals around the world. It’s huge, and traditionally the only way to get involved was to join a committee. When I was involved in ACUHO-I, I recognized common names in the newsletter, but I didn’t have a relationship with anyone. In the last few years, that has changed.
  • GLACUHO is a regional organization for housing professionals.
  • Once you begin to create a professional brand on social media, you can leverage it to benefit your organization. Ann Marie has done amazing things for ACUHO-I’s foundation by tweeting about opportunities to donate and offering matching donations during crucial time periods.
  • Word is the WASFAA innovation committee has tried this at least once.
  • Has anyone here made the leap into connecting with peers on social media? Care to share your thoughts?
  • At this point, does anyone have any questions?
  • I wanted to save the “social media 101” for the end, so people who already feel comfortable on social media didn’t have to sit through it. Is there anyone here who would like a getting started tutorial on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+?
  • Using Social Media for Professional Development

    1. 1. Using SocialMedia forProfessionalDevelopmentLiz GrossWisconsin Association of Student FinancialAid AdministratorsSpring 2012 Conference@LizGross144#WASFAA
    2. 2. Social media isn’t just for kids.
    3. 3. Who uses social media?Men 60% White, non-Hispanic63%Women 69% Black, non-Hispanic 69%18-29 83% Hispanic 66%30-49 70% Urban 67%50-64 51% Suburban 65%65+ 33% Rural 61% 65% of all internet usersSource: The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, April 26– May 22, 2011 Spring Tracking Survey. N = 2,277 adults, including 755 cellphone interviews. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.
    4. 4. My campus is not supporting out of state travel. I use Twitter to stay connected to my professional colleagues & to keep up with trends.Beth Moriarty, Ed.D.Director of Res Life & HousingBridgewater State UniversityAdjunct Student Affairs Faculty
    5. 5. I specifically used Twitter to connect with people in student affairs prior to the 2010 ACPA conference. I generally am not comfortable with networking, so Twitter helped ease thatChristophe discomfort as I hadr Conzen already “broken the ice”Director of with a number ofCampus Activities colleague. I continuedSuffolk County those connections…CommunityCollege
    6. 6. through Facebook, which helped me to grow even closer with some colleagues and also use that to have some more one-on-one conversations that eventually turned intoChristophe collaborating onr Conzen conference sessionsDirector ofCampus Activities and publications. I’veSuffolk County now done moreCommunity conferenceCollege
    7. 7. Your Turn Has anyone here made the leap into connecting with peers using social media? Care to share your thoughts?
    8. 8. A social media story… March 2009: ACPA Conference • My first conference tweetup • Attendance: 7 • Conference hashtag: slow but steady • Rey & Greg present about Facebook
    9. 9. A social media story… October 2009: My Couch • Begin participating in #SAChat • Meet Ed • Rey jumps in a few weeks later • I geek out because I “know him”
    10. 10. A social media story… Summer 2010: In Class • I need a mentor for doctoral program • Realize Rey would be perfect • Ask Rey to be my mentor and member of my committee • Rey says yes!
    11. 11. A social media story… January 2011: My Inbox • Asked to write an article for ACUHOI • Co-author with TJ • I have no idea who TJ is. We email.
    12. 12. A social media story… February 2011: Chicago • Crash the ACUI tweet up • Meet many twitter buddies, including Ed, for the first time
    13. 13. A social media story… March 2011: Austin, TX • Attend South by Southwest • Meet Rey in person for the first time • Develop wonderful professional relationship with Rey and Ed
    14. 14. A social media story… May 2011: Miller Park • Ed and I “overhear” a Twitter conversation between Rey and TJ • Within a month, we’ve planned a week-long research project in Florida • Turns out Greg will be there
    15. 15. A social media story…August 2011: Gainesville, Florida
    16. 16. A social media story… March 2012: Austin, TX
    17. 17. How do you find people?
    18. 18. Build your bio• Name• Job title/function• Personal & professional interests• Location Without a bio, people have no reason to connect with you.
    19. 19. Start with who you know• On Twitter… – @MelissaHaberman – @ThisItalianGirl – @karynjoygraham• Stalk their followers & who they follow• Ask for recommendations• Get lost in Twitter lists – Try Melissa’s financial aid pros list
    20. 20. Seek out groups• On Facebook – “The Student Affairs Collaborative” – “Women’s Leadership Institute Participants and Friends”• On Twitter – #FinAid – #AskFAFSA – #WISA or #WLSALT – #SAChat
    21. 21. Seek out orgs & events• On Facebook – WASFAA ( – ACPA or NASPA• On Twitter – #WASFAA or @WiscFAA – #NASFAA or @nasfaa – #ACPA or #NASPA – #EMChat – #HigherEdLive
    22. 22. Reach out to individuals• Conference presenters• Article/Book authors• Researchers• People featured in this presentation 
    23. 23. Social media is a great tool to make info come alive. I can process/question info with multiple perspectives and sometimes I get toLisa connect with the personEndersby behind theStudent Experience article/presentation/etcAdvisorUniversity of Ontario to get more in depth withInstitute of the information.Technology
    24. 24. I try to give encouragement and feedback to professionals that are finding their voice (and expect my network to do the same for me since I still seek thatJoseph encouragement,Ginese feedback, and helpDirector of the Centerfor Student finding my voice).Involvement When attendingNichols College conferences, I try to
    25. 25. How does this apply toprofessional associations?
    26. 26. Social media reframed how I interact with my professional association. I thought ACUHO-I was for chief housing officers, not entry- or mid-level professionals.Stacy Oliver Through social media IAssociate Director of connected withResidence Life members thatLake Forest College encouraged me to be involved – present, write, etc. Through
    27. 27. Social media helped GLACUHO become an organization that serves its members outside of the time they’re together as a group. It allows us to share resources andStacy Oliver have dialogue aboutAssociate Director ofResidence Life current events.Lake Forest College
    28. 28. The #wihsng network developed a social media committee and plan to tweet at specific times to meet a need. They’ve added to the number ofDeb women who know about the network.Schmidt-RogersDirector ofResidentialEducation
    29. 29. Its a way to promote free professional development (webinars, etc). It also allows me to develop and promote the brand of the orgs I support and/or lead. I use it as a tool forAnn Marie influence, donating, andKlotz fundraising, tooAssistant Director ofResidentialEducationDePaul University
    30. 30. Better conference calls
    31. 31. Your Turn Brainstorm in groups of 3: How can WASFAA or NASFAA use social media to benefit the association?
    32. 32. Recommended Practices• Use Twitter and Facebook to connect members in between conferences – Facebookpage(s) or group(s) – Twitter account and hashtag• Try committee meetings using Google Hangouts• Offer continual social media training so new members or late adopters don’t feel left out• Designate social media coordination to a small team.
    33. 33. Now that you’re inspired, it’s time for Social Media 101