Blog by Amy Jo Martin
Historically, college universities would take a look at a potential student’s transcript, college application and SAT score before sending an acceptance letter or a “we’re politely passing on accepting you” letter. Today, they have access to a student’s entire history via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and everywhere else they’ve left a digital track.
So scary, right? WRONG. This is good news. Why? Now students get to organically ‘sell’ themselves, their character, hard-to-quantify successes, interests, passions and personalities vs. just promote their brain’s ability to calculate x+y+z+lmnop or where Shakespere went on his first date.
This is not a fad, it’s not going away and there’s an upside to growing your personal brand online PRIOR to even reaching college. Dare we say middle school and high school? Gasp!
Why? Universities are starting to recruit based on the strength of personal brands and influence. They’re starting to realize the WIFM (what’s in it for me.)
Quick hypothetical example:
A university has one last spot in a special fancy program and they have two candidates that look exactly the same on traditional paper – grades, SAT scores and similar applications. Student applicant A has 5k engaged friends on Facebook, 3k engaged followers on Twitter and they have a smokin’ hot YouTube channel (many views) which all tell the story of a stand-up, solid and passionate kid who would be an asset to any college. Applicant B, has intentionally stayed away from these forbidden evil sites because their parents threatened to take away their car if they did otherwise and they believe ‘social media’ can be incriminating. (Especially to anyone conducting typical high school behavior.)
If Candidate A spends four solid years on a university campus touting to their thousands of friends about their hallmark college adventures, do you think the university will see the value? You bet they will. Colleges are in the business of generating tuition dollars and the more students interested in their campus, the more money they make. Candidate A instantly becomes a powerful, natural, word of thumb advocate and RECRUITER. $.
The other big factor is the university’s job placement rate. Human relations departments (potential employers) evaluate candidates based on personal brand influence and every single industry is impacted by social communication. We know this because we’re providing training to these very HR departments about the power of using social media to recruit. Psst … this is not media. It’s simply communication.
Are there dangers? Yep. Of course. But there are also dangers in letting children walk home from school alone, chew huge amounts of bubblegum and swim in the ocean where sharks live.
Parents need to be educated, teachers and faculty need to be educated and students need to be educated too. It’s 2012. We are smart people. Why haven’t we accepted this? Because we’re not often educated on the upside, only warned of the downside! This is what I call an innovation allergy. We don’t like what we don’t know. We don’t like change, we’re scared and ‘we’re too busy’… to help our kids?
What if educating yourself and your children/students about the benefits of social media could be the differentiating factor, the edge, to get them to into their dream school or getting them that dream job? For years, I have personally hired people specifically because of their social media presence – many times. We can stwalk (twitter stalk) them and better understand who they are before even reaching out for an interview.
This is the reason Digital Royalty is giving away classes to early education teachers. For every class purchased on Digital Royalty University, we’re giving a class back to teachers through our Teach For America partnership. Teachers are learning how to connect with student’s parents via social media and get them engaged. This education is building a communication bridge. Studies show that students perform better in school when parents are more involved. (Our world needs them to perform better.) Also, teachers are able to educate students about the benefits of social media and teach them how to avoid the “evil” pitfalls.
For many parents, it’s about accountability. If you were connected with your child’s teacher or principal via facebook or twitter would you be more likely to get more involved in your child’s homework, school functions and overall education?
We all have personal brands. Even at age 10. The sooner we own our brands, the better. Our brands do matter. They’re the equivalent to a credit score. Before we know it, our level of influence and digital footprint (track record) will be a factor in many aspects of our lives. Health insurance, lenders, colleges, potential employers and the government all have access to this ‘data’ about us. It’s better to show up in a positive way on a consistent basis rather than to be nonexistent as if there’s something to hide.
At Digital Royalty, we’re thrilled to be working with many schools and universities at all levels. If you’re a faculty member, professor, a student or parent and you’d like to implement the Digital Royalty social media curriculum into your school’s program, please email us at info@TheDigitalRoyalty.com We’re quite passionate about people owning their voice if you haven’t noticed. We’d love to talk.
Also, during this holiday season, watch for special rates on Digital Royalty University classes. Remember, for every class you purchase, we’re giving classes back to teachers. Why not give the gift of education?