Saturday, October 9, 2010

Seek First to Help, Then be Helped

Business networking site LinkedIn has a slogan, “Relationships Matter”.  Those two words sum up our lives, whether we’re referring to relationships with our friends or family, or in the case of LinkedIn, relationships with CEO’s and business professionals.  Relationships are all about connections, and very few know about connections on LinkedIn better than Steven Burda.

Relationships on LinkedIn are based around connections and recommendations. Steven Burda has over 38,000 connections and almost 3,000 recommendations. He is the most recommended person on LinkedIn, and is the person with the 4th largest number of connections. He holds an MBA and is also pursuing a doctoral degree. He says he has found personal development and growth through the connections he has made. He enjoys the opportunities to meet and to connect with people of various professions that he otherwise may not have had the opportunity to encounter.

On LinkedIn, Burda is considered an open networker. As an open networker, Burda connects with as many people as possible and will give anyone a chance. If you are connected with Steven Burda and you would like an introduction to someone else on LinkedIn, chances are Burda can make that introduction happen. And if he can, he definitely will. In fact, he writes on his LinkedIn profile: “All you have to do is ask... I will help you if I can.” He is more than willing to help others with their networking needs and will provide his contacts with a digital introduction. Burda merely seeks to help others. It makes him happy – he expects nothing in return. He is just trying to use his connections and recommendations to pay it forward. In the long run, though, he has been provided with many opportunities that he wouldn’t have otherwise received. That’s Karma for you. What comes around goes around. Keep spreading the good.

Relationships do matter, and this “pay it forward” concept of helping should be prevalent in your networking and relationship building endeavors. In Connected Culture you will find the quote “Seek first to help, then be helped,” These are words to live by – extend a hand to help others, and you will get help in return. This is the very heart of networking, online and offline. Start helping others, and you will get that help returned to you.

Share your story of how you paid it forward by entering your comments below.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Study shows Women Wake Up, then Facebook

A recent study by Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research found that 34% of young women between the ages of 18-34 make Facebook the very first thing they do each morning.  That’s BEFORE they even get out of bed! Here’s Mashable’s take on this social phenomenon.

This is an important statistic to note for both parents and educators.  This desire to get connected to people and then stay informed about what they are doing speaks to their very strong need to be a part of a group—a social circle.

And there are ways to use this desire to change our own lives and to change education.  Here’s an excellent, less than 3 minute video by Shelly Terrell that explores reasons why we connect.

Why do you think it’s so important for people to feel connected? How do you think social networks will change education? Do you Facebook before you get out of bed? Please share your thoughts and comments here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Why You Need to Connect with the Digital Generation

As discussed in an earlier post, the Digital Generation communicates and socializes using digital media that allows them to contact one another and get the information they desire almost instantaneously. They feel as if their lives are made much simpler by this technology, meanwhile educators and administrators who are not comfortable with the technology may feel just the opposite. This gap in technological understanding will create an even larger communication gap. We must bridge this gap and help schools connect with today’s students on their technological level.

If words like “social networks” and “texting” make you feel uncomfortable and confused, it’s time to take some steps towards understanding the technology. These words are part of a student’s life and everyday vocabulary. Connected Culture will define these subjects in plain english, explain their uses and describe how you can utilize this media to your advantage and your schools’ advantage. Do you really understand Facebook, Twitter and search engines? These topics and more will be covered in Connected Culture so that you can learn how to harness their power to connect with the Digital Generation.

Digital media is such a huge part of students’ lives that in order to connect, communicate and interact with them you must have a greater understanding of the internet and mobile technology. Connected Culture is the way for you to make that connection and bridge the technological communication gap.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who Are the Digital Generation?

Have you ever said to someone: “What did we ever do before the internet?” or “How did we manage without cell phones?” Those questions may have come out of your mouth more than once, but the under 25 generation will never ask those questions. They are the Digital Generation and they were born with a mouse in one hand and a cell phone in the other. They are today’s students and they are a generation whose lives revolve around digital media.

Students today won’t open up an encyclopedia to do research for a paper. They’ll Google the topic to conduct their research. Today’s students will text message and instant message.  They will use “LOL” in their everyday speech.  They connect through Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. They are focused on media and devices that will allow them to connect and socialize with one another at a moments’ notice.

So how do you connect with these students who appear to exist in a whole different world than you have come to understand? As administrators, it is vital to understand how today’s students communicate and socialize.  In the next post, I’ll discuss why this understanding is so important and how Connected Culture will help you connect with the Digital Generation.