"How does social media influence your international education job?"
It has completely changed the way my job was done before I started. Using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn & WordPress, I have been able to communicate with more students to get the message out there. I work with business students and historically they did not see how they would be able to fit a study abroad semester into their academic career. In 2001 we sent 17 business students to two different locations. Last year we were able to send almost 200 students to 22 locations so the word is getting out. When students are going to a new place, I ask them if they are interested in blogging and give them a video camera and set up an account on WordPress. I have a script of suggestions for topics that they can talk about but the students really take and run with it. Some blogs are more http://www.fox.temple.edu/ciber/blogs.html
"How did you get into social media?"
I like listening to local bands and music that is not played on the radio. After a show one night, someone directed me to their MySpace page. I can’t remember when I opened a Facebook account but I had a MySpace account before that and also Friendster, years ago. I’ve always thought they were interesting mediums of communication. I was using it personally, didn’t start using it for work purposes until 2004.
"What is one social media tool you cannot live without now?"
I’m always checking Facebook but TweetDeck is the easiest to use so that I can update everything at once. Also Skype.
"What is one thing you wish you knew about social media that would have made getting involved with it easier?"
I wish I would have known about TweetDeck earlier, it would have saved a lot of time.
"What do you think social media's biggest impact has been on international education?"
Getting the information out about little known programs in different places. Showing students the process so that they are not blindly searching for anything to get them out of the country. Also giving them a bird’s eye view of something outside of their comfort zone via other students who blog. The students also give good travel & housing tips in country.
"Why do you continue to use social media?"
It’s the easiest & quickest way to get a message out to students and have them respond in kind. Especially with everything that has been happening lately with political unrest & natural disasters, we can communicate with them and get a rapid response to see if they are alright. It’s a great marketing tool that reaches the masses. I also like it because students who graduated a few years ago and are looking to reconnect or chat about what has been going on in their lives find it easier to reach out. Several alumni have actually contacted me with internship opportunities for current students so the outreach widens and starts to influence other areas.
About the Guest Blogger
Gloria Angel is currently the Assistant Director of the CIBER program at Temple University. She is extremely involved with NAFSA at the regional level and has coordinated this year's conference in her hometown of Philadelphia, PA.