Guest Speakers

I can’t hog the stage for an entire semester. I’m trying to introduce multiple ways of thinking about communication. What better way than to invite people into the classroom discussion who have developed an understanding of communication strategies from their professional perspective.

GeorgeLast week, my friend George Wacker presented on new social media platforms. He’s an independent communications consultant who specializes in social media (and local pride and humor.) Not only did George illustrate some of the newer platforms, but he told stories of how he used social media to reach communication goals. He also talked about experimenting with platforms and just plain having fun. Because, why not? I did ask him to tell the story of meeting the Chief of Police at Spring on 4th.

JasonToday I had the [former] Chief of Police present his use of social media to reach community engagement goals. And HIS side of story of meeting George Wacker. He also mentioned seeing all of George’s friends back away when they thought he was going to be arrested for the @BethlehemHorsePD stunts he pulled. Priceless.

I’m still stunned when Jason pulls up a screen shot of my infamous tweet, “I picked the wrong game to stop sniffing glue” that opened a conversation about authenticity. He also had some great perspective on innovative leadership with regard to transparency (my word) in developing relationships through mutiple social media platforms.

The first time Jason made his presentation to my class, it was the fall semester 2012; after Lehigh beat Duke, after scaring the pants off George Wacker, and after the [original] “How Not to Get Arrested at Musikfest blog post.” Since then there’s been a change of city administration that has resulted in a significantly less presence of civic conversations on Twitter led by an authentic and transparent leader in our community. It’s hard not to wish for what was. But I’m hoping that because my friend is willing to share what he learned about the tools that helped him reach community policing goals, the students will come to see that effective communication strategies are as much about listening as they are about thoughtful ways to engage with the people you are trying to reach. That’s what this cop did – and we were all that much better for his continuous learning.

Later this evening, I heard one of the student bands at the big vocalPALOOZA encourage his fellow students to following them on Facebook and Instagram. No Twitter. Cold it be that both of those platforms are about posting and rarely engaging in conversations? Is it only “likes” that matter?

Twitter is about conversation; listening and responding. Are 19-21 year olds interested in conversations via Twitter? Is this digital generation programmed NOT to talk to strangers on the internet that Twitter is too uncomfortable? Maybe a sign of maturity is curiosity about others, and not so much a need for validation? Of course I’m generalizing. Some of my students are engaging with Twitter – but not to the extent that I see them on Instagram.

And then there’s this video making the rounds today:



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