Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Siesta? - Can't Social Media Never Sleeps

As a college professor, I always dreamed of summers off. I pictured myself relaxing, watching television, hanging out with family, going to the beach and just enjoying the lazy days of summer. This, my friends, is not the life of a young, aspiring tenure-track professor. I work hard in the summer. I work full days on many research and work projects. I am especially busy because I've decided to engage the use of social media for many of my projects.

I'm the co-editor of HBCU Experience - The Book with Howard University alum Christopher Cathcart. We engage those interested in the project via our web site (www.blackcollegebook.com) , Twitter using @HBCUbook and on Facebook at HBCU Experience - The Book. It's nearly a daily drum beat to grab attention, get followers and engage our potential supporters and writers. We've found many friends in the HBCU social media community who give us support and spread the word, including @HBCUDigest and @HBCU_Lifestyle.

Oh, and I also taught a social media class in the spring, which really gave me a greater understanding of social media. It is also the reason I am presenting at the 97th Annual National Communication Association conference in November 2011. I'm sitting on a panel titled "Demystifying Voices: Running towards and not away from Social Media in the Classroom." It is also the reason I am helping to organize the first annual Social Media Technology Conference & Workshop being sponsored by Howard University and Bowie State University. It is set for September 29-30, 2011 on the campus of Bowie State University. This will be an affordable, engaging and very practical introduction into the world of social media provided by practitioners, students and academics. You can follow our progress on Twitter @smtechconf2011 and on Facebook at Social Media Technology Conference & Workshop.

With the social media conference, we've just started to set up the social media accounts. It's easy to set things up, but it's the engagement of the world that is the larger hurdle. I've learned to cross promote using the various outlets for myself, and I plan to do the same with the conference and book projects. For example, you can see my Twitter feed is on my blog, and it is also present on my LinkedIn account. I get it, but it's not easy to get the exposure you want overnight. There's lots of advice out there, and it's mind boggling to figure out which advice to take. Mashable once noted there was over 15,700 social media experts on Twitter. Social media experts, a controversial label, offer contradictory advice, and it's hard to even know who is correct.

What I have learned is that you need daily, engaging content. To me, this is the most important aspect of social media. You must provide daily content that people want to read, hear and see. If you don't do it, than you will be a faint whisper in the wind that people will soon forget.

So, I'm back to my busy summer schedule. I'll be writing, researching, tweeting, posting and updating until the first day of class and beyond. Godspeed to us all.