LinkedIn for Improved Student Self-Perception and Maturation
By Professor Brill de Ramírez, author of Make College Work for You
LinkedIn and other professional social media sites are invaluable for professional networking and career development. As a Professor of Business Communication, I regularly work with college students as they develop their professional social media presences on the web. And, as one would expect, this also means damage control of prior social media presences that the students now realize are no longer how they want to present themselves to the world.
LinkedIn Account Development in College
In my Business Writing classes, students are required to create, develop, and begin working with their LinkedIn accounts. Virtually all college students today-- whether in the traditional 18-23 year old range or older non-traditional aged students--are familiar and comfortable with social media. Most often that means Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, as my students begin working to set up and develop their LinkedIn accounts, I have noticed a fascinating phenomenon.
New LinkedIn account development and active LinkedIn account participation change student self-perceptions, contribute to students' growth and maturation, and also influence students to seek more suitable social media presentations through other platforms.
Today virtually all students are very comfortable in the digital worlds that they inhabit. The logistics of setting up and developing their LinkedIn accounts comes very easily to most of them. They are, more often than not, digital natives. But there is one aspect of their work in becoming part of the LinkedIn community that is deeply transforming: their perceptions of themselves change in big ways!
As my Business Communications students begin their work on their LinkedIn accounts, they begin to think of themselves less as post-adolescent college students and more as pre-professionals planning for their post-graduation jobs, careers, and lives.
Even though college students have heard over and over again the importance of using the internet and social media in appropriate ways, it is not until each person gets a clear understanding of the importance of that for their present and future lives that the message really sinks in.
As college students become active on LinkedIn, they begin to perceive themselves as the grown-ups they are and want to be. And as their self-perceptions mature, the students do not even need reminders to review their other social media sites. They want to do so to present themselves to others and the world in new ways.
5 Ways That LinkedIn Changes Self-Perceptions
- Heightened sense of purpose through a focused job, career, and service orientation.
- Increased persistence and "grit" through illustrative examples of highly professional, successful, and hard-working individuals
- Increased confidence through supportive professional communities, organizations, and other groups.
- Maturation and growth that gives students a greater sense of adulthood, personal dignity and value.
- Appreciation of being respected by others and conveying a presentation of self that would garner the respect of others.
- Increased commitment to behaviors of value in the world (e.g., volunteerism, internships, jobs).
LinkedIn is valuable for any person interested in professional networking. It is in the arena of self-perceptions that it is that much more important. LinkedIn is invaluable for students' (and employees') senses of self. As a professor who has watched my students' growth and development during their LinkedIn account development, let me say, "Thank you, LinkedIn."
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