Thursday, December 27, 2012

Social Students?

What social tools are young people using? As a (internal) social media advisor for several companies I'm very interested in the answer to this question. So, when I get a change to talk for students, I'm honored, but also very curious what they will tell me.

Recently I was asked to guest lecture for students at the Radboud University of Nijmegen. It's the university I went to years ago. I was asked to share my experience with using social media concepts and tools inside organizations. I basically used a shorter version of the slides I use for my guest lectures for a college, but spent more time on the conceptual, philosophical if you will, side of 'social'.
I also asked them which social tools they use and why they use them. What did they say? Here's what I learned (there were 40+ students attending my lecture):

  • None use Google+. Why? Nobody/none of their friends is there.
  • All except 3 use Facebook. The 3 that didn't use FB, just didn't see the value of using the service.
  • None of the students blog. Some said they didn't because they thought nobody is interested in what they have to say. Some said they wanted to but didn't have time.
  • There are no Hyves users in this class (Hyves is a Dutch social network).
  • 75% uses Twitter. Most use it to consume information, not publish/share it.
  • They know Foursquare but don't use it.
  • All have a LinkedIn account, but don't use it. It's for after their student-life.
Interesting, I find. It's pretty different from the usage pattern I collected while lecturing at a college. To me the most worrying answer is the one about blogging. At college and university hardly anybody blogs. I usually point to my blog and tell them what it brought and brings me. I hope that inspires them...
What's worrying to me is the reason why they don't blog: because they conclude what they think and would share is not interesting to others. And these students will be paid to think in the future. Wouldn't it be great if these young people would share their thoughts with us? I think so and hope they will in the future. The big question is: how do we get them to share?

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