"How does social media influence your international education job?"
As the New Media & Research Assoc. at API, social media plays an active role in my position. As many of us use social media as a main source of communication, research, etc., a significant portion of my time is dedicated to creating, managing and monitoring our online presences.
"How did you get into social media?"
In 1992, I created my first e-mail address, began blogging in 2001, created a Facebook profile in 2005 and signed up for Twitter in 2007. I studied advertising with a focus in new media, creative research and strategy. During this time, I spent a year researching social media infrastructures and developed a new social media model to support our converging online/offline communication behaviors. I’ve held various internships and jobs in the field and was one of the contributing authors to The Project 100 (a collaborative book on marketing in the era of social media). I suppose you classify me as a digital native, but the truth is, I’ve always been interested in the relationship between and convergence of humans and technology!
"What is one social media tool you cannot live without now?"
As there are so many social media tools with such different purposes, it really just depends on the end result I’m looking to achieve. With that said, one tool I’ve really found useful is Google Analytics. I’ve learned quite a bit about online behavior via analytics tools.
"What is one thing you wish you knew about social media that would have made getting involved with it easier?"
There are a handful of insights I’ve picked up over the years.
Authenticity: Be yourself, be genuine, be transparent, be interesting, be entertaining and if you do make a mistake, acknowledge it…we’re all human!
Collaborate/Connect: How can you collaborate with people in a meaningful way? How can you make it easier for people to communicate with one another?
Details: Don’t be hasty! Though the message may be brief, take time to think through what you are saying. Before publishing, take a breather. Read. Re-read. Then click send.
Measure: There is so much to learn by monitoring analytics. Quantitative results are important but don’t forget about qualitative results!
Research: Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, Digg, Skype, Blogspot, MySpace, Wordpress, Flickr, Slideshare, Ning, Flickr, Delicious. Whew! Just because it’s available doesn’t mean it should be used! Make sure to research before diving in – watching, reading, listening, collecting, and conversing. What are people saying? What are people looking for?
Strategy: Of course it’s necessary to understand the functions of new media, but it’s just as important to understand people’s motives for using these platforms. New media will come and go, but human behaviors and patterns will always be around.
What do you think is social media’s biggest impact has been on international education?
The web was originally created to display static documents – more of a monologue model. However, the web has evolved into a dialog model, where social elements have been incorporated. Now, people are not just looking to “experts” for answers, but crowd sourcing their respective social networks for information.
It’s important to remember that social networks are not new. We’ve formed social circles for thousands of years. Social media merely adds an online element to our offline worlds.
With this said, I believe incorporating sociability into communication strategies has been the biggest impact social media has had on international education.
Why do you continue to use social media?
As long as the relationship between technology and people continues to evolve and my curiosity remains, I’ll continue to use social media. (:
Kim Karalekas is the New Media & Research Coordinator at Academic Programs International (API), specializing in online user experience, research, brand strategy, new media & web development. Away from work, she enjoys salsa dancing, playing the violin/piano, and geocaching. To connect with Kim: @API_KimK I http://www.linkedin.com/in/kimkaralekas I firstname.lastname@example.org