I came early to social media, creating accounts on all the early networks as they appeared. For example, I entered Facebook in 2005 when it required an .edu email to register. I had used Friendster and MySpace before that and I viewed social media as something I needed to know about for my teaching more than something I needed in my personal life.
I teach in the graduate program in Professional Technical Communication at NJIT. Social media became part of that program a few years later when it was clear that corporations, government, and big and small businesses all needed the expertise of specialists in social media.
After several years of using social media for myself and then working with clients to create strategies for their organizations, I started teaching courses in the theory and practice of social media, and in the design of social media strategies. My current academic project is creating a new course in social media ethics and law.
My most recent social media work has been with the non-profit National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). I worked for three years as the social media coordinator for their higher education affiliate groups creating an overall social media strategy, and scheduling daily content to networks with a focus on higher education communities. The three groups – the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), Two Year College English Association (TYCA), Conference on English Education (CEE) – were brought into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram. I provided content for humanities teachers and scholars on issues, initiatives, and programs related to professional practices.
I also worked to create a social media strategy for using video. In recording, editing and posting video to NCTE’s YouTube channel, we started to move the organization, as other organizations had already done, into the use of video as social media.
As I tell my students, the strategy for using social media is very similar whether you work with a small business or international corporation. Yes, the neighborhood restaurant and a national restaurant chain have differences in scale, but concerns about ethical and legal use of networks and messages, and building community and engagement exists in organizations of all sizes.