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In Your Facebook!

Gotlieb forum tonight explores making most of social media

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Chances are you regularly check out Facebook to see your friends’ latest pictures or log on to Twitter to tweet your opinions about anything from politics to movies. But a forum tonight, sponsored by the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, will provide you with tips and tricks on how to make the most of social media, both personally and professionally.

In Your Facebook! at Mugar Memorial Library at 6 p.m., will be led by three BU social media–savvy experts: John Carroll, a College of Communication assistant professor of mass communication, Stephen Quigley (SED’87), a COM associate professor of public relations, and Eleanor Cartelli, associate director of marketing and communications at the Center for Career Development. They’ll discuss how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to look for a job. And they want to hear how you currently use social media, the horror stories you’ve encountered, and any questions you have.

Social networks have become integral background sources for many hiring managers, who use them to glean information about job candidates. An embarrassing or inappropriate photo or tweet can cost an applicant a position. And social media have become an indispensable tool for filling jobs. According to Jobvite.com, 80 percent of employers report using social media networks to recruit.

“The Gotlieb Center is always looking for opportunities to give students a sense of history through their archival collections and at the same time give them a sense of the present and how they are interconnected,” says Carroll, who came up with tonight’s forum topic.

BU Today spoke with Carroll (below), a media analyst and active Twitter user, about tonight’s event.

John Carroll, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Boston University

BU Today: Why did you choose this topic?

Carroll: We wanted to do a social media forum since so much of students’ time is spent on social media. It has become an arena where students interact with each other and where they keep up with the news. We thought this would be a good time to have a conversation with people who spend a lot of time analyzing social media. It’s a forum for people to share their experiences and insights on what they know—for instance, how does social media further someone’s professional goals?

The objective of this event is to take a step back and think what’s the best medium for your message—Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn—and how can you make the program work effectively for you on both a personal and professional level. Nowadays, many graduates will experience some sort of social media in the professional world, so it’s a valuable tool to learn how to use.

Students also have to have the ability to control what they do and the results of their activities on social media. There’s a downside to social media in that sometimes you relax too much. But you have to remember that a permanent digital record is created. Sometimes you need to be more cognizant of how to manage your digital persona and how to make sure it is an accurate and positive reflection of you and your abilities.

So what kind of digital behavior is appropriate or inappropriate for students?

I think students are much more aware these days of the random beer pong photo and how that can hurt them. There have been enough warnings about prospective employers and people in the community keeping tabs on Facebook.

Students need to view social media as part of their résumé. You want to control it in the same way you would manage the résumé and cover letter you send to someone. Be aware of this, because the internet doesn’t forget. There are ramifications for things you do on the internet.

How can social media help in finding a job?

I think that goes beyond Facebook and Twitter, to LinkedIn, because it is much more geared towards the professional world. Students may think they shouldn’t be on LinkedIn, but I think it gives them more professional opportunities, a wider ranging sense of what is out there, and exposure to prospective employers.

Facebook is great and does a lot of things, but it doesn’t do everything. I think that you need to combine different types of social media to find which programs yield which outcomes. This is part of what we want to get at in the forum.

Are there certain fields where social media works better in finding a job?

The communications field is one where social media is going to be more prevalent. But any forward-looking business is going to look at social media and think, how is this going to work for us. It’s going to work for those companies that are digitally oriented, communications-oriented, and it’s also going to work from a sales standpoint. Since this is a growth area, I think there will be a lot of opportunities for social media across many industries.

Have your students found jobs through social media?

Yes, I’ve had students who have found job contacts this way. I also have had students who have been hired for social media jobs. A lot of companies who aren’t familiar with social media want someone to guide them, someone who is enthusiastic, energetic, and can go out there and use social media to the company’s advantage. That is a tool that most students coming out of BU have. Not only can you form contacts and find opportunities through social media, but it is a skill that is in demand right now. Companies are trying to find out how social media fits into their marketing and customer relations, and other aspects of their business. Students who have a facility with social media have an extra appeal when they go out into the job market.

What should you avoid doing when using social media?

That’s what students have to come to the forum to find out.

In Your Facebook! is tonight, September 19, at 6 p.m. at Mugar Memorial Library, Richards-Roosevelt Room, first floor, 771 Commonwealth Ave. More information is available here. The event is free.

2 Comments
Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

2 Comments on In Your Facebook!

  • Wendi Vaughn on 09.19.2011 at 11:29 am

    Hi! I’m a BU distance learning student in Los Angeles CA. Our class is dealing with many topics regarding social media. Just wondering if this discussion will be archived in (video/audio). Very exciting stuff!

    • Amy M Laskowski on 09.19.2011 at 4:19 pm

      Yes! The event will be filmed and I’ll post a link when one is available, most likely in the next few days.

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