Long gone are the days when college professors kindly asked students to turn off their cellphones and give their undivided attention during class. Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube have all tapped into higher education, providing an online environment where students and professors can engage in conversations and informational linking to interesting websites, videos and news stories. As members of the class of 2012 don their caps and gowns during this year’s graduation ceremonies across the nation, the social networking world will be there to capture every moment with hashtags, likes and mentions.
Keeping everyone connected
Not all friends and relatives can make it to your graduation ceremony. Instead of recapping one of the most important moments of your life weeks later with a photo slideshow, social networking communities let you catalogue events as they transpire, including those embarrassing moments when you trip and fall before getting your diploma (believe me – it happens).
Tom Testa, Assistant Vice President of Public Relations at a Boston-based school, told Metro News that internet programs such as Twitter and Facebook are opening up a dialogue between students, faculty and their loved ones during commencement ceremonies.
“We share things, whether photos or musings going on,” Testa told the news source. “Given that everyone is online and everything is on peoples’ handhelds, it’s another way for people to connect. It’s a better way to give it that personal touch.”
Photos, videos and shout-outs
Numerous colleges and universities encouraged their graduates to keep their smartphones on-hand during commencement speeches and ceremonies while taking photos with friends and posting them on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. With a hashtag, every special moment was catalogued on university websites. Like an instant photo album or yearbook, schools’ Twitter pages became a place where graduates could sift through hundreds of photos to find their closest friends, connecting online when they couldn’t connect in person.
“[We] have to look at where technology is going and direct how it is going to help us tell stories,” George Comeau, director of digital and interactive communications at another Boston-based university, told the news source. “You used to tell people to leave their phones at home because basically, your participation was passive. What has changed, in a great way … is that the audience is now integrated as part of an event like this.”