Once thought to be a fad, social media has proven to be a resourceful tool for communication, branding, promotion and marketing. It is a computer technology now solidified in the online realm. Similar to student loan debt, social media does not appear to be going anywhere soon.
Jackson State University’s social media team – an extension of the Department of University Communications – has spent the past few months engaging JSU freshmen and students from Wingfield High School and the Career Development Center on social media best practices.
“We talked to them about monitoring and managing their content, being careful of content they’re tagged in and understanding how to be very selective with what they post as a student,” said Spencer McClenty, director of social media.
“They really were not aware how much information a person can receive about them just by viewing their social media,” he added.
According to their research, a person uses social media from the moment they wake up until the time they go to bed at night. McClenty said he believes the habit has become as natural as yawning. “With social media being so prevalent, it can actually be a very detailed and accurate record of who you are as an individual,” he said.
JSU social media associate Kentrice Rush was amused by the students’ reaction to learning that the medium can be an income-inducing occupation. “This is something they do on a regular basis, so to be there and say, ‘Hey, we have a career doing this’ – I think some students were shocked to know that we get paid to be on social media,” she said.
The team also schooled students on the intrusiveness of social media, advising them to post with discretion due to employers using applications such as Facebook and Twitter to learn more about a potential candidate. Rush warned that hitting the delete button does not always equate to permanent removal.
“It may take it out of plain view, but it can still be recovered in some way. Even if you put it out there for a second, you don’t know who may have taken a screenshot or shared it in that second,” she said.
Although students agreed that inappropriate pictures and cyberbullying are social media don’ts, Rush said she feels the team was able to reinforce social media fundamentals students may have previously received from their parents or teachers.
“Hearing it from a professional, who works in the field and who’s constantly on social media, I think helped seal the deal for them,” she said.
Kari Thomas, who shoots and edits videos for social media, gave the Wingfield students a detailed account of her experience as a videographer. “I talked about the things we think about when we shoot. For example, will people find this interesting? How long should the length of a video be and why people don’t like to watch lengthy videos,” she said.
The teenagers were treated to Jackson State’s remake of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and a segment from the team’s JSU Arts’ series, which celebrates the university’s creative and musically inclined student body.
Overall, McClenty said he is pleased that schools and organizations are calling on his team for social media assistance.
“It indicates an effectiveness in what we’ve done here at Jackson State. People are watching it, and we appreciate that. We feel honored to be asked to make these presentations and to talk about social media with the students.”