A simple thank-you tweeted to an author with 40,000 followers on Twitter turned into a unique opportunity for students in Shelley Jack’s St. Bonaventure University graduate course.
Erik Qualman, regarded by many as the leading expert on the evolution of social media, returned Eddie Perry’s tweet and offered to speak to him and his New Media classmates via Skype, the voiceover Internet application that allows for phone and video conferences.
“The fact that he answered Eddie was astounding,” said Jack, a visiting professor in the Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication. “We had the privilege of a 15-minute Q&A with him last night (Dec. 7).”
Qualman’s book, “Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business,” is being used in Jack’s Integrated Marketing Communications class (IMC 560).
Often called the digital Dale Carnegie, Qualman speaks about social media all around the world and has been highlighted in numerous media outlets, including Business Week, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Mashable, USA Today, Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, CBS Nightly News, and The Huffington Post.
Jack shared some of Qualman’s responses to her students’ questions:
What’s your advice to graduating students interested in the field?
• Employers are no longer saying, “Tell me what you’ve done.” They are turning the laptop in the direction of the job candidate and saying, “Show me what you’ve done.” You must have a presence in the digital space.
• The digital and social world moves so quickly that it can be overwhelming. Don’t try to master it all. Pick an area and be an expert (blogging, viral videos, Twitter, mobile, social media monitoring).
• Some companies are still saying they don’t have time for social media. That’s like saying you don’t have time for your customers. It takes time to develop online relationships. You have to start now. Millennials will need to help convince their employers of this imperative.
• LinkedIn is the most important tool you should be using in the social space for job seeking. Make sure that your profile is at 100% completion. It is the primary online tool for human resource departments and recruiters seeking qualified candidates.
What are the key areas to watch in social media?
Social commerce, social search such as the recent partnership between Bing and Facebook, and geo-targeting/location-based services like FourSquare.
What are your thoughts on the current WikiLeaks controversy?
One of the larger issues here is around transparency. Because the social space is transforming the way we communicate, people have a greater expectation of transparency from both corporations and government. The WikiLeaks controversy is forcing us to further consider these issues. There is always a learning curve when it comes to new technology and part of this issue is the learning process of understanding how social technologies are affecting our expectations as a society around communication.
What do you think of the new Facebook messaging?
It’s a changing way of digital communication that merges all of our tools like e-mail and IM chat and Facebook messages into one. It has lots of potential benefit, such as not having to remember and keep track of multiple e-mail accounts. Assuming that the interface gives us a better, easier way to communicate with one another, it represents an important shift and could easily replace e-mail in the near future.
Are there any small players/social networks to watch?
There are a number of small players doing exciting things. A few that come to mind include Tuenti, a social network out of Spain, and Live Mocha, a crowdsourcing tool for language learning. Crowdsourcing uses the collective intelligence of a group or the public at large to achieve a task.
About the University: St. Bonaventure is ranked 29th in U.S.News & World Report’s 2011 ranking of Northern universities that offer master’s degrees. It has a history of accomplishment and service that extends back more than 150 years. At the heart of St. Bonaventure is the Franciscan affirmation of the dignity and worth of the entire created order. Fundamental to this vision is an awareness that it is within relationships and community that individuals discover and develop their potential.