NYU’s Media, Culture and Communication department and the NYU Communications Club hosted a panel titled #NYUnities yesterday to discuss trends in the university’s social network communities.
The panel focused on the evolution of social media in the mainstream of society and how it has affected academia, college social experiences and career networking.
“We get criticized a lot for not having a campus and hence, that equals us not having a community,” Communications Club president and Steinhardt junior Jasmine Yook said. “So we decided to bring on four experts in their respective fields to talk about these various topics.”
Panelists for the event included MCC professor Danah Boyd, NYU Memes curator and Steinhardt senior Alec Foster, Huffington Post college editor Jessica Kane, and Marketing Communication Manager of HashtagNYU and 2011 alumnus Nick Jensen.
Kane focused on the networking opportunities that social media provide. After tweeting at a Huffington Post contact to arrange a meeting, she decided to apply for a position.
“I got accepted as a fellow originally, and then I got my actual job by tweeting the college editor who ended up interviewing me for this position,” Kane said.
Boyd said new modes of interaction online are just as important as face-to-face communication.
“There is power in actually getting to know people who come from such a different worldview who can open your mind and really transform how you think about the world,” Boyd said. “And the thing about online communities is to think about the power of strangers because I think that often gets discouraged and it really shouldn’t.”
Foster has enjoyed his interactions with new people through NYU Memes.
“I hardly talk to my friends about the page,” Foster said, “So I appreciate being able to meet people that only know me through the page.”
Jensen said HashtagNYU aims to bring the university’s students closer together.
“We try to shrink NYU down,” Jensen said. “We’re kind of the digital cheerleaders of the university.”
All the panelists said they hope students will use social media to their advantage.
“I hope the students will feel empowered by the panel and realize how much control they have over the media and the news world,” Kane said. “Publications are literally adjusting their management and theories to fit this demographic.”
Boyd said she hopes students have a new perspective after listening to the panel.
“My hope is that it will prompt students to consider their activities in a new light,” Boyd said.
Steinhardt sophomore Nicole Hajjar, after hearing the perspectives of the panelists, said she would pay more attention to the what she sees on social networks.
“A lot of things that I do see online, I’m looking at them for less than 10 seconds,” Hajjar said. “Now, I probably will spend more time looking at the memes, looking at the tweets or Instagram, seeing what really goes into it and how they’re trying to connect with the students.”
Andrew Spohn is a staff writer. Email him at [email protected]