• Tech Talk: Big Tech Trends in 2013-14 Included Visuals, Videos, Data, and #Hashtags

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    May 14, 2014

    by Shannon Kelly

    Shannon Kelly

    With the 2013-14 academic year coming to a close, it’s time to not only reflect on what was big in the world of social media and technology this year, but to consider where (and if) these trends fit into your strategy.

    What did you learn this year? What technology or social media trend caught your attention? What are your goals for the 2014-15 year? I’ve been asking myself these questions a lot in the last few weeks and would like to share some of my reflections to help in your own:

    • Visuals—Between Instagram, infographics, GIFs, Tumblr, the new Twitter profiles, and hero images in LinkedIn Groups, visuals are everywhere and a must for your online presence. Images convey a message almost instantly, draw in your audience, and, more importantly, showcase moments and values that represent your organization’s identity. For me, incorporating a visual component in our communications as frequently as I can is a priority for upcoming year.
    • Videos—Move over YouTube, Instagram and Vine are redefining videos online. Short video clips and the auto-play functions on Instagram and Facebook add a new level of media to social networks. These tools are a great way to instantly share quick advice from students, alumni, recruiters, and other members of your community.
    • Data—“ROI,” “SEO,” “Insights,” “Click-Through” … these analytical buzzwords mean one thing—data, data, DATA. With all the technology and social media platforms available today, it’s increasingly important to assess your offerings to keep your content on track and measure their effectiveness. Hootsuite, SproutSocial, Google Analytics, as well built-in features, such as Facebook Insights, have given us access to plenty of data. But what will you do with that information? Will you move on from a platform? Seek out a new tool that can streamline your services? In the year ahead, it’s important to put the data you collect into action.
    • Hashtags—Twitter introduced the “hashtag” concept to the world years ago, but this past year, hashtags have moved on from just the microblogging network. Now, posts on Facebook, Google+, and Instagram incorporate hashtags. These #keywords allow us in the career services world to join the larger conversation, as well as create a discussion all our own with custom #hashtags. For example, custom hashtags for large events like career fairs have taken off because they engage employers and students before, during, and after these major events.

    These trends caught my eye over this past academic year, and perhaps grabbed your attention as well. They are a reminder of how quickly technology and social media continues to not only change, but create opportunities to innovate and improve to drive our profession forward.

    Shannon C. Kelly is an associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania. You can follow her on twitter at @shannonckelly or www.socialatedu.com.