By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

The #140cuse conversation continued to the east of Syracuse University last night, as students, faculty and staff at Hamilton College talked about social media communication now and in the future, and what many students and practitioners are doing already in the space.

The night before, a mini version of #140cuse was also taken to a Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) audience. The programs at both colleges were designed as previews to Syracuse University’s #140Cuse conference slated for April 19.

Aside from hearing about the state of social media discovery, products, and uses today, the group heard from a Hamilton College alumnus. Eric Kuhn, a 2009 graduate, who has worked in social media for CNN and now with United Talent Agency, was Skyped into the event to talk about the multi-million dollar impact social media buzz has on movie ratings and profitability. The correlation between social media mentions and box office success is direct and measureable, Kuhn told the group, and consequently, the industry-changing practice is now is part of every movie’s promotional effort.

Students also heard presentations by School of Information Studies (iSchool) Associate Professor of Practice Anthony Rotolo, and #140Conf founder Jeff Pulver.  Rotolo told the group how social media use in his classes has positively affected student interaction and engagement, with him, with other students, and with course content.  That connectivity enhances the learning experience, he said, because “students become friends in these courses in ways I hadn’t seen before, because they use social media to communicate with each other.”

#140Conf founder Jeff Pulver, who also presented at the RIT event the night before, spoke of how amateur radio was the means he used to connect to people, and through various careers, he has discovered how “peoples’ voices matter.” He urged students to be unbounded in tackling whatever pursuits they envision. “I’ve learned you don’t always have to know what you’re doing, but if you’re passionate about something, you can do anything,” he advised.  Pulver suggested that students always remember to “Listen; connect; share; engage. That’s not marketing speak, that’s human speak. It’s allowing yourself to be open, vulnerable, and allowing yourself to be a human being and to connect with another human being.”

iSchool students Sam Morrison and Steve Rhinehart presented their  10-minute burst presentations to illustrate the kind of programming students would experience at #140cuse. Sam discussed the next step he is taking to crystallize a product based on his year-long effort to do a backflip every day. Steve offered an illustration of how his “Counter Talk” coffee-brewing leads to information sharing, then conversations that he can present for others through his blog.

Several Hamilton College presenters also provided 10-minute insights into various applications of social media they are using or have experienced.

Coby Berman, a Hamilton senior, discussed his internship at Foursquare, which focused on business advising. Kate Bennert, also a senior, talked about using social media to write as a humorist and about pop culture.

Hamilton College staff members Ted Fondak and Glynis Asu presented their concept for “sandboxes,” as forums where anyone from the Hamilton community can conduct conversations about any topics. Angel David Nieves, faculty member in Africana studies, along with Janet Simons, instructional technologist, offered information about the College’s Digital Humanities initiative, illustrating how social history mapping is taking place in Soweto through new media mechanisms.