Since arriving in Aggieland, I have had the great fortune to become friends with someone who I have called a “Social Media Savant”, @BrianFLeDuc. If you are reading this, there is a better than average chance that you know who he is, and what types of things he is doing for the #sachat community. Perhaps the biggest is creation and maintenance of #sagrad chat on Monday nights at 6:00 PM Central Time.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to moderate the chat a few weeks ago. I had never done anything like this before, so it was an awesome opportunity for me to get more involved in the Social Media Student Affairs community. Additionally, the topic was something that I am very interested in and recently was highly involved in, the first job search post graduate school. Being a first year professional, I was more than willing to help out others, especially knowing I was in their shoes a year ago.
As the moderator, I worked to develop the questions that I would ask during the chat. These ranged from “What functional areas are you searching in” to “How will you know when you have achieved institutional ‘fit’”. However, I ended up taking something much larger away from the chat than just my own professional development.
I left being excited about the next group of student affairs professionals. The students that participated gave me new energy with their passion to improve the field and bring #sachat to the forefront of student affairs. I don’t know how they realize how prepared they are to start the job search process just based on their experience engaging other professionals on #sachat. I ended up leaving the chat that night with a fresh outlook, and a few new followers.
Since then, I have reflected on how I can help support #sagrad as a professional. I came up with a short list, and hopefully these will be helpful for you as you, hopefully, embark on the same mission to promote #sagrad:
- Take the opportunity to moderate #sagrad. It will only take you an hour, but I think it may be one of the most inspiring hours of your week. Seeing passionate graduate students always makes me want to be a better professional.
- Encourage graduate (or even undergraduate) students at your institution to participate. The more people get involved, the better the discussion and network will be. If people are already using Twitter, it makes it easy. If they are not, show them the possibilities around through their involvement.
- Examine what skills you want graduate students to have when they begin working for you, and suggest them as #sagrad chat topics. If you think graduate students need more knowledge on how to take control of their own professional development, suggest they talk about it on Mondays. If it is something more abstract, like ability to engage with people different from themselves, suggest a topic like Diversity Education in their programs.
- Be aware of what the #sagrad community is doing, and support it. Re-tweet their topic polls. Promote their chat times. Lurk on Monday nights. Read the #sagrad daily. If you have people at your institution participating, ask them how it is going. If your direct reports are participating, make it a part of your 1 on 1. Follow @SAGradMOD.
- Sign up to be a #sachat Mentor for a #sagrad with @EdCabellon. This is a new initiative that he started, and I am a proud mentor for a student currently. For more information on this, check out this link: http://thesabloggers.org/2010/11/mentoringsagrad/
I know that I wouldn’t have entered this field without strong mentors from my Undergraduate career. I truly think that it is up to the people in student affairs to promote the field of student affairs. With the growth of Twitter and #sachat, mentors aren’t limited to students same institution anymore. Pay it forward, and we will grow as a field in result.
So now I put it on you. How are you going to support #sagrad chat this month?