For several years now, we’ve hosted a category at the Annual Shorty Awards for best in Social Media. This year, it was the Best BN Student, a community award for the most social college student who most effectively utilizes social media in their life and on campus. Finalists were determined by online voting via Twitter. We spoke with several of our amazing finalists and got some great tips for social media, how they find time for it all and plenty of advice for all you aspiring Social Media Mavericks out there!
L.E. Charles @lauren_eliz3
Ty Autry @JTyAutry
Foluke Tuakli @FolukeFiasco
Haley Barnett @ChikHaley64
Q: When did you first get interested in Social Media?
@FolukeFiasco: So, like any of other skeptical old soul, I resisted social media, at first. Social media gradually took over my friend circles and catalyzed conversation, so I eventually gave in and joined MySpace (#TBT, right?). I enjoyed creating a brand and analyzing other people’s brands even before I knew what a brand was. I definitely started using social media because it was the “cool thing to do”; I stayed because of the opportunities for customization and for networking. I love social media because it does a great job of empowering the individual and increasing the connectivity of a community. Also, the gifs.
@ChikHaley64: I have loved social media and technology for as long as I can remember. I didn’t start realizing the impact it had on the world until a little over a year ago. When I started watching people like Tyler Oakley, who use their social media presence as a way to make a difference, that is when I started a YouTube channel and started branching out onto other platforms.
Q: How do you balance your school life and commitments while keeping up with your Social Media life?
@lauren_eliz3: A big part of being a communications student is finding ways to integrate the use of social media into your everyday life because that is the way that society is progressing towards. I have actually had classes that encouraged us to tweet during lectures and the professors would do an exam review on Twitter. I am a self-proclaimed “professional multi-tasker” so I find myself checking my twitter feed for updates in between classes or while I’m grabbing coffee.
@JTyAutry: Social media is a part of it, to be honest. If social media feels like it is a burden, then either it isn’t for you or you are doing something wrong. For example, I’m not on tumblr because it just isn’t for me and didn’t mesh well with what I did. On the other hand, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat fit well into my lifestyle and I have no issue with going to class, working, and performing while also keeping up with my social media.
@FolukeFiasco: Well, social media helps me a lot with school life and commitments. My campus is a very social media friendly. From organizations and clubs to President Loh to UMD squirrels, there is always “informative” informative and “entertaining” information about the University of Maryland on social media, especially Twitter. Social media at UMD definitely helps make a large university small. It’s also a great way to connect with group projects, for instance through groups on Facebook. The “read” receipts on messages are SUPER helpful in holding group members accountable. Also, my new favorite form of procrastination is the UMD My Campus Story on Snapchat. Ultimately, social media enhances my college experience and makes me feel more connected to my campus. For every productive use of social media, I reward myself with about 5 recreational uses of social media.
@ChikHaley64: I am not going to lie, it is difficult at times. I am also a Resident Assistant at my university and that in itself can be time consuming. The biggest challenge is trying not to divide yourself between two different worlds. Don’t let it turn into a fight between the real world and the online world. There is a balance in everything.
Q: What’s your favorite part of having a Social Media presence and persona?
@lauren_eliz3: I like to use social media as a platform to share different thoughts I have throughout the day. I’ll see something that I think is weird or funny and then I tweet about it because everyone can relate to the daily amusements that you encounter in life. My taste is very satirical so I’d like to believe that my persona is a comical voice that has societal critiques that I share with my followers. I love that Twitter helps me develop as the kind of comedy writer that I aspire to be.
@FolukeFiasco: #1, obviously, is the validation. #2 is broadening the scope of my influence, whether its imparting a smile from my humor or giving someone a new perspective or letting someone know about free food or shedding light on my opinions of live events, TGIT, and Beyoncé.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years, and do you see Social Media in your future?
@ChikHaley64: I think every YouTuber dreams of hitting that 1 million subscriber mark. If I haven’t reached that within 5 years I will consider a career change. Haha! But really, after I graduate I hope to have moved to NYC or LA and experience a different part of the world.
@JTyAutry: In 5 years… I see myself on Broadway or on tour for a show. By that point, I want to have solidified my career in acting. I really do see myself using social media at that point and possibly even more than before. Acting really is a field where you have to market yourself and connect with your fans. What better way to do that than with social media!?
Q: As you know, here at B&N College, our main focus is our students and their success both in and out of school. What advice do you have for other students hoping to create a Social Media presence like your own?
@FolukeFiasco: Be authentic. Raise your brand.
@ChikHaley64: Be genuine. Individuality is a gift and those who don’t define themselves with a label tend to be the happiest… and the happiest people make the greatest Social Media Presence.
@JTyAutry: Be yourself is the main one. People can smell “fake” and they don’t want to follow someone who portrays something different from what is really going on. On that note, though, don’t be a negative person. Bad stuff happens, but a lot of good also happens – showcase those moments to your followers. Also, make sure your social media is similar, for example make sure you go by the same name across the board and use similar usernames (if not the same one) it helps people find and remember you.
@lauren_eliz3: Social media is a valuable tool in marketing yourself in whatever area you are interested in. Whether it’s business, journalism, science, or communications, everybody is looking for people who know how to use social media for branding. So, take your passions, broadcast them on the internet, and make people excited to hear what you have to say. At school, I have my own radio show and my co-host and I really took social media by storm in order to market and brand our show. We would not have been as successful with our show if we didn’t establish such a following through the use of social media.
What do you think? Feeling inspired? Check out our finalists, their videos for the Shorty Awards, and of course follow them all!