Student Spotlight: Kyle, PR Major & Aspiring Social Media Community Manager

This student spotlight is on Kyle Dempster, a public relations major at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a focus in social media. Kyle is an aspiring social media community manager and HootSuite Campus Ambassador.

Kyle DempsterWhat is your background in social media?

I began in the early days of Myspace when social media was just starting to take off. I was in ninth grade and had no idea what it would become by 2013. I migrated to Facebook in 2007 or 2008 and began using it extensively. I really like the options and ways to connect with people. I was on social media way more than my friends at the time but I saw social media as nothing more than a fad. I joined Twitter in 2008 because many of the podcasts I listened to were promoting its use for connecting with fans — little did I know how prevalent it would become.

When I entered college in 2010 I went in as a secondary education history major, but soon decided I wanted to interact with people more. I changed my major to public relations because I knew I could pursue social media work through that track. For a couple of years now, I have frequented Mashable to learn more social media information and to keep on top of changes in the field.

Furthermore, in July of 2012 I visited HootSuite’s site and noticed HootSuite University for the first time. I decided to take the certification course and quickly fell in love with the company’s atmosphere. This led me to join #HSUChats on Twitter, and through that I was recruited as a HootSuite Campus Ambassador.

You can find me on almost any social network under the username KyleDempster7.

Why do you think social media is such an important component in business?

I think social media is a fantastic way for businesses to connect with their customers and it is really important in an age when we have so many products to choose from. Because of this huge influx of choices, organizations need to stand out when it comes to their customer relations.

People love to be heard and sometimes all it takes to make them feel heard is a ReTweet or a simple thank you in response to their comment. I also think it is a great way to forge bonds with people that would never have been heard before social media. This gives businesses the chance to create brand ambassadors as well as create mutually beneficial relationships.

I would love to become a community manager someday; talking to consumers via social media really gives me a thrill, not to mention pride in my work.

@kyledempsterHow has your online presence helped you to network or job search?

This interview, for example, is all thanks to meeting Kayla, and learning about this blog via the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program. I also find it very useful to have respectable social networks setup that I can direct future employers to. I’ve even gone as far as creating business cards with my Twitter handle on them!

What is your favorite aspect of social media?

This is a tricky question…I love the changes and new opportunities to connect. I’m a big techie at heart so I also love seeing social media integrated into devices, like the iPhone.

What advice do you have for other students?

Read, read, read! Not books published years ago, but articles by reputable social media organizations like Mashable and HootSuite. I think books and theories have their place, but social media is cutting edge; it’s fast and it can be unforgiving, so make sure you know the lay of the land.

Kyle DempsterKyle Dempster @kyledempster7

Kyle Dempster is a public relations major at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a focus in social media. He is also the Public Relations Chair of his school’s chapter of PRSSA and its public relations firm, Rock PRoductions, a HootSuite Campus Ambassador, and works at the Office of Residence Life as their social media manager. Learn more about Kyle on his website.

Student Spotlight: Adelyn, Grad Student in New Media Management at Newhouse

Adelyn in Class

Adelyn and classmates at Newhouse

Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Adelyn Biedenbach, a graduate student at Syracuse University, who is currently enrolled in the New Media Management program at Newhouse. See what she has to say about her grad program, her work with Dr. William J. Ward, a social media professor at Newhouse, and how social media plays a part in it all.

Why did you choose your grad program at Syracuse?

I chose my graduate program at Syracuse University for a number of reasons. It is an intense one year program which also contains classes in the business school and both the speed and the variety appealed to me. My undergraduate degree is in Journalism from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where I am originally from, and while I learned a number of storytelling and writing skills there, I felt that the management and business side of the media would bolster my ability to understand and operate in the media sphere. Newhouse is also an outstanding facility with a range of dedicated faculty and opportunities for guest speakers and events to get a glimpse of what’s going on in many aspects of the media world and I am happy with my choice!

What kind of work do you do with Dr4Ward?

Dr. William Ward, aka Dr4Ward, teaches a number of courses at the university in social media and engagement. I am his instructional associate (IA) for COM 400 which is Social Media U Need 2 Know and is open to undergraduate students. As his IA, I work as a community manager to facilitate in-class social media discussions on a number of platforms including Twitter, our class Facebook group, LinkedIn and Google+. I also help to score weekly to do lists of tasks which immerse students in the activities needed to brand themselves socially and learn how to professionally make use of social platforms including Storify and HootSuite social media certifications.

In what ways do you showcase your experience using social media?

Approaching graduation, myself and a number of the senior students in my classes are focusing on representing their experiences online. There are a number of different approaches, but I like to use several different platforms. On LinkedIn, I try to include not only my internship experience but also my coursework and links to real projects that I have worked on in class. I also try to keep a consistent profile photo between social accounts. This can sometimes be a challenge, but if an employer or someone would come across you on Twitter, you would want them to also recognize you on Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.

Adelyn LinkedIn

What is your favorite aspect of social media?

It’s so difficult to choose one aspect of social media that is my favorite; so many parts of it keep me coming back for more. ūüôā However, if I had to choose, I think it would be the access to information of all kinds in real time. I read somewhere that the average person has access to more information on the front page of a newspaper then they had in their entire lives in say the 1700/1800s. Now imagine that amplified by a few minutes on Twitter or a few hours with flipboard. Its an amazing way to be informed, connected and constantly learning.

Adelyn BiedenbachAdelyn Biedenbach @adelynlee

Adelyn Biedenbach is currently finishing up her graduate degree in new media management at Syracuse University. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA her undergraduate degree is in Journalism from Point Park University. Her passions in media include social media, media strategy, interviewing and analytics.

“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – Ben Heyman’s Online Persona

Meet Ben Heyman, a student at Boston University who knows the influence social media can have on your online persona, as well as your job search. Hear what he has to say:

Why is having an online presence important to you?

In today’s competitive landscape, you need more than just a resume to stand out. While applying to jobs is still very much a thing, it has changed. Recruiters look for you. They look for your online presence to get a better feel for who you are and what you stand for. I maintain an online presence to help recruiters get a better sense of who I am, to establish my credibility and to network with people who have similar interests as myself.

Ben's Website

Ben’s Website

What types of things have you done to showcase yourself online?

I blog and promote those pieces on various social media channels, maintain an up-to-date portfolio, constantly share articles I find interesting and relevant, and participate in Twitter chats. I am constantly finding stories on LinkedIn and Google+ and adding my comments where I can.

How has your online presence helped you network?

Twitter chats have been amazing. I have had so many people reach out to me who are willing to help me connect and find a job. I landed an interview with a company recently because I participated in their Twitter chat. It is also a good opportunity to share my blog, connect with people on LinkedIn, etc. I cannot say enough about how my online presence has helped me network. Keeping a consistent voice and message through all of my social media channels has definitely helped me create a strong personal brand.

Ben's Vizify

Ben’s Vizify Profile

How is your online presence helping you in your job search?

I have grown my Twitter following tremendously. I have had many people reach out to me after taking notice willing to assist me in the job search however they can. The networking opportunities that have arisen because of my online presence are numerous. I feel as if the time I spend maintaining my online presence will pay off in the long run.

Ben HeymanBen Heyman @heyheyman

Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Ben Heyman is a senior at Boston University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations in May 2013. He is passionate about technology, social and new media and public relations. He is fascinated by the idea of using technology and social media to enhance our lives. Ben is actively looking for full time employment to begin his professional career. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!

Becoming a Certified HootSuite Professional

Certified HootSuite ProfessionalIf you haven’t heard of HootSuite, it is a brilliant social media dashboard that makes managing social media accounts a breeze.¬†¬† As a HootSuite Pro account holder, I am able to add unlimited social media accounts and streams to one dashboard for easy and controlled management. For Community Management, HootSuite is a life saver.

Having used HootSuite for quite some time now I decided it would only be fitting to become a Certified HootSuite Professional.  In order to do so, one must enroll themselves in HootSuite University Рa series of online tutorials and webinars that walk you through the many uses of the HootSuite Dashboard.  After completing the required courses for certification, you are awarded a certification and badge.

I am proud to have completed my certification today – so of course I am showing off my new badge!

Lesson 1: What is new media?

In order to understand what new media is, one might wonder what is old media?  Well, what you might think of as old media is what we call traditional media Рnewspapers, magazines, and television.  If we are even more detailed, traditional media also might include radio, books, and all other print publications.  New media is the digitization of traditional forms of media, meaning pretty much everything that exists on your computer and the internet!  And these days new media exists on not only our computers, but our cell phones, electronic tablets, PDAs, music players, and every other electronic device we might own.

Some examples?  This blog. Wikipedia. The pages you like on Facebook. Online newsletter archives. The videos you favorite on YouTube. The photos you peruse on Flickr. And the list goes on and on.

The Future of Social Media

There is a series of articles hosted by Gist, titled Future Of Social Media Series that explores the roles social media is expected to play in various fields of business.  I was particulary interested in the article How Job Seekers May Use Social Media in the Future.  Not only are students like me learning how to market themselves for jobs using social media, but companies are beginning to use social media for recruiting.  LinkedIn is a great example of this; however, I was surprised to read that some companies have their employees post on their Twitter and Facebook accounts that the company is hiring, in hopes of recruiting potential hires that are friends of friends.

Note to self: Never underestimate social media as a job seeking tool!

The Beginning

Why am I really writing this blog you may ask? (Besides the reasons in¬†the “About” section.)¬† For several reasons, but the most prominent is in order to create my Senior Honors Thesis for the Colorado State University Honors Program.¬† Luckily, an Honors Thesis is different than a Graduate Thesis in the respect that it doesn’t have to be a research paper (WooHoo!), but it can be a creative project – something that reflects my interests in a unique way.¬† Therefore, this¬†site will serve as the creative project for my Honors Thesis, as well as a way for me to share my journey as an Honors student.¬† So, bear with me while I tackle my thesis and try to be creative!