Before September 2012, I rarely used social media either personally or professionally. I had a handful of Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, and LinkedIn Connections. Although I had a Blackberry, I didn’t take advantage of all its smartphone features. I primarily used it to makes calls, check my emails, keep up with my work schedule, and take a picture every now and then. I did some blogging, but there wasn’t a core focus. While I could see social media was becoming more critical to the world of higher education, my attempts were feeble.
But then something happened: I moved to Canada and started working at Ryerson University. Little did I know, Ryerson University as an organization embraced social media in multiple ways, ranging from the top executive level to student sponsored programming. In fact, Ryerson ranked second in Canada in social media influence by retweets and third for retweet reach, the highest potential audience for each retweet.
So, armed with my first iPhone (the iPhone 4s), I started to seriously use social media, including Twitter (with hashtags), LinkedIn, Blogs, and Facebook. In a short amount of time I was able to accrue couple hundred followers on Twitter, over 500 connections on LinkedIn, and a growing number of blog views on The Institutional Diversity Blog. I learned that I had to just jump in and go for it. I set goals for myself. For example, I had a goal of tweeting and re-tweeting (RT) at least once a day on Twitter. On LinkedIn, if I came across someone from Ryerson or in Canada, especially Toronto, I accepted the connection. More importantly though, I realized that social media was a great means of connecting with my new Ryerson colleagues, Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) professionals in Toronto, and a way to advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) across the globe.
This leads me to my next Social Media venture: A Hashtag Chat Series on Diversity – #DiversityCAN (focused on Canada) and #Diversity4US (focused on the United States). Once a week, I will pose a question or make a statement to promote or provoke discussion on a wide array of EDI topics in North America. Both hashtags have double meanings. For #DiversityCAN, the chats will focus on the power diversity has to transform, disrupt, and innovate, essentially what diversity can do. It also gives credence to how diversity is evolving in CANada. For #Diversity4US, the chats will focus on aspects of inclusion and will have a greater emphasis on the diversity conversation in the United States.
I hope you join me and follow along in our upcoming Hashtag Chats. CHEERS!