Today I spent the first half of the day teaching a seminar, Social MEdia 4 Students. I was very excited to be invited by the local community college whose Tech Prep program works diligently to take high school students through career exploration and encourages those not in the academic curriculum to seek some type of post-secondary education, whether a technical certificate or associate degree.
The focus of my topic was to create awareness at an early age of the lasting impression of digital footprints, the importance of reputation management, personal brand building and how to use new media to advance one's career goals.
Very few of the 40 or so students were familiar with anything other than Facebook, Myspace, YouTube and last.fm. The were not aware they could join niche industry groups, search blogs by professionals in the fields they're interested in, create an online portfolio, host an internet radio show, be a citizen journalist.... so many things.
I applaud LIU18, Luzerne County Community College, the Tech Prep team and the sincere remarks made by President Tom Leary about how the college will be ready and welcoming to each and every student in the auditorium today when they are ready. I know it's true, I am an alum.
I have a heavy heart however. There were students who had no clue, had no guidance, had no role models. It was so apparent. Some nodded off no matter how animated I was and how many questions I asked. Some filled out the evaluations saying the presentation was "stupid". I can only imagine these students have no one encouraging them to stretch their imagination, be innovative or explore how technology can benefit them.
I'm asking you to become involved in your school system & community based groups that deal with youth. Offer your expertise to young people who may not have anyone at home to give them the guidance they need to the obtain an education that will enable them to attain employment at a wage that will be family sustaining. Mentor them, be their friend and role model.
Volunteer.... it takes a village. Tomorrow I'm going back. What will you do?