The New Social Media Education & Our Future Leaders

I just had an experience that took me back to college, and pondering what I learned, who I learned from, and the people I had access to that would lead my future path.

While I look back fondly at the experience, I did not have a role model I looked to for career planning. I went to college for, and did what, I thought I was supposed to do. And followed suit for 16 long years…

As guest lecturer for one of the first Social Media Marketing Programs at the MBA level, led by the reknown JD Gershbein at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, I learned a lot about the power of social media.

Yes, I learned about social media from that room of students, and I am excited!

I am excited for our future; how social media is enabling our future leaders, educators and entrepreneurs.

They were in that room and they were eager. Soaking in all they could about the research, career and relationship building power at their fingertips. Asking insightful questions and engaging with zest.

LinkedIn did not exist when I graduated college, but even as it grew in popularity several years into my career, I never would have considered I had the “permission” to connect to a CEO, business owner, speaker or educator. I didn’t even know what an entrepreneur was let alone that I had a choice to be one! I probably thought it would be an accompaniment to an expensive dinner.

“Yes, I’ll have an entrepreneur with my filet please, on the side…”

After my session, I came home to a series of Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn connection requests from a roomful of mostly 20 somethings.

This is an enormous testament to how social media can accelerate the process of relationship, mentoring and shaping the future. JD is leading a powerful charge with his curriculum and empowering his students to make connections, learn and network in a way historically would not have occurred unless someone lost a job and found themselves in search. (And sadly often, this mindset persists.)

A roomful of bright students sat before me, who know they have a choice to create the career of their choice with dedication and hard work. They are exploring and using the tools available to them to make connections they never would have had the technical or physical capability to make with such ease, not too many years ago.

Think of the acceleration in education, experience and networking social media is providing them! There is so much talk of the ‘entitlement’ generation. I saw none of this attitude here.

What I saw was excitement about future potential, understanding not only technology but best practice, strategy and application. A desire to create a life and career of choice with all the new creative options before them. How powerful!

The fact is, whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay and ever changing. What this generation undertands is that it will touch every facet of their professional life in the future. They embrace it. They are creating a future of choice with it. And they are eager to learn more about how they can use it for profession, advanced education, social cause, creative expression and more.

This type of empowerment provided to such youth is thrilling to me! I am excited for them, and us, as they begin to lead us through the next social media revolution.

Thank you JD for the opportunity to experience your students! And thank you Reyna Hoerdeman for joining us to give these amazing students another role model to look to for entrepreneurship and a future in social media!

Keep track of their journey & send them some Twitter inspiration at #IITMAC516