LinkedIn, often called by some of my fellow peers to be the “corporate version of Facebook”, is becoming a popular method for university career services to connect with alumni who are spread out across the country. While many universities also use Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is becoming a preferred method of connecting via social media because of its level of professionalism. Unlike other social media platforms where connecting with someone may also include seeing photos of their most recent vacation, LinkedIn highlights current and previous jobs, professional skills and recommendations, and educational credentials.
Alums can join members-only alumni groups of the universities they have attended, network and participate in discussions through group posts, and have access to a wide breadth of information related to what institutions or industry sectors other alums are working in. This wealth of data is easily to access and even usually much more up to date and accurate than what the university is able to keep on file for their graduates.
I found this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education written by Hannah Winston to be very interesting and creative, especially in regards to connecting with alums who may be miles away from their alma mater. Despite LinkedIn’s gaining popularity and user-friendly design, not all universities or career services departments are embracing its use. As reported by Winston, according to an administrator at Syracuse University, rolling out the social media strategy has been somewhat challenging. For example, when the school’s career services department began using LinkedIn, some alums who did not have an account called to report that they felt left out by the process. Other universities and institutions approach LinkedIn with a similarly cautious approach, according to Winston’s article, seeing it as potential competition to carefully designed fee based membership programs meant to offer similar alumni connection networks.
In my own experiences working in higher education, I see more benefits and strengths than weaknesses for embracing technology and social media platforms such as LinkedIn. However, I also believe that universities shouldn’t immediately abandon more “old school” methods of connecting such as email or mail in favor of LinkedIn and other tech tools. What is certain is that LinkedIn is definitely a game changer in terms of how we understand and initiate the networking process.
Questions for further discussion and thought:
– Do you use social media to network? If so, how?
– What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses for using social media platforms such as LinkedIn? How have your experiences confirmed these observations?
– What do you think are the “best practices” for embracing the benefits accorded by technology to bringing a dispersed group of individuals together?
- The Best Ways To Rally Alumni Support (socialmediaclub.org)
- How LinkedIn exploits our need to network (jessicaleeman.wordpress.com)