With the growing importance of social media, as well as its embrace by many members of the HR community, I thought I would add a social media component to my "Introduction to HRM" class this fall. Students were expected to join our class Facebook group, Twitter, LinkedIn, and SHRM Connect, as well as start a blog on Wordpress or Blogspot.
The first assignment was to use Twitter for 48 hours. Students would set up follower lists with their classmates, and they were required to make 6 tweets and respond to two of their classmates tweets. After the 48 hours were over, students were expected to post a blog on their experience.
I had expected students to take to Twitter like a fish to water, given its similarity to texting. Instead, students disliked the experience by a two to one margin. What might explain their resistance or dislike?
1. The use of twitter.com. I suggested students use twitter.com as their tool. Several of the students did not like that twitter.com did not allow them to see who responded to their tweets. Perhaps using something like Tweetdeck might have made it more user-friendly.
2. Few web-enabled phones. To truly embrace Twitter, one needs a web-enabled phone that enables one to post and respond at a moment's notice. While all students have cell phones, few had phones that allowed them to run a Twitter app. As a result, students would have to be "chained" to that desktop or laptop to participate.
3. Facebook. Students preferred the Facebook interface and were comfortable with it; that was their comparison point. Similarly, few of their friends were on Twitter, as compared to Facebook.
Again, the above experience involves a pretty small sample size and was primarily anecdotal. Perhaps there is a research paper in here somewhere down the line.