Social Media in Higher Education

By Josh Lawson | @JoshKLawson


Social media can be a hard concept to grasp. Most people say you need to be a master in something before you try to teach it to others. That way you can reword difficult concepts to students who don’t understand it. The medium of social media is constantly evolving and expanding. It’s often used in higher education to offer social CRM, but for students. It humanizes professors and can give a sense of ownership on the content we create.


The fact that social media is changing means that whoever teaches it needs to evolve with it. The platforms will change, but the basics will always stay the same, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t a time-consuming industry. You constantly have monitor several different account and hashtags, learn everything that changes with each update, and experiment with new features that each platform offers.

Many students, faculty, and sometimes even professionals have no idea how to use any aspect of social media. This means there is a huge disconnect between the brand and the consumers. The most successful accounts on social media platforms are those who show the most personality in their content, have a social CRM strategy, and act like an actual person instead of a computer generating lackluster content.


Someone who teaches social media needs to have an excellent grasp on every concept surrounding the different platforms, rather than just the numbers and analytic data about them. Yes, that information helps, but not as much as hearing what it’s actually like to work in the industry using those tools and those platforms.

The information learned from someone who has professionally worked in the social media industry is invaluable. Those skills cannot be learned anywhere else. There is something completely different about learning vicariously from someone’s experience than learning from a PowerPoints and TEDtalks without trying to explain those any further.


The skills learned with social media are based in customer service, public relations, journalism, and ethics. We learn these skills leading up to this course, or at least some of those skills. We don’t need to be learning the data and statistics for these platforms, but rather we need to be learning how to use social media in the real world.

Finding Balance Pt. 1


Got it here.

I think we can all admit being an adult is tough, we start to realize it in college. Now in my fourth year as an undergrad it is really starting to it me. How do people do this? Balance school, work, internships, and still managing to have a social life and not get caught up in it. People do it all the time, and I convinced myself, I too can be an adult. Over the last few months I have started to find a method to the madness.


First is setting goals, they can be the smallest things– as long as you are checking them off your list. It helps if you set realistic goals as well, otherwise you’ll just beat yourself up about not achieving them. For example, I plan out my weeks and write it out in my planner. I set three goals I would like to achieve by the en of the week then reflect on the next Sunday. It really helps and boosts my mood giving me the sense of accomplishment, (and hey I’ll take all I can get)!

Second is learning to study effectively. We can all relate to the countless amount of studying we do, and times where we look back and ask “what the hell did I just read” because we retained absolutely nothing. This could be that the method that you are using is not beneficial to your style of learning. It is not good to wear yourself out studying either, it has been proven to be quite unhealthy, and have more of a negative impact. Also, studying too little or having cram sessions almost always are a disaster. Try to develop a study method that works for you.

There is so many more things that are apart of our lives that we have to learn to juggle, but I’ll keep this going on the next blog.

A home cooked meal to sooth your homesick soul while not breaking your college budget

We all live on budget on a college budget. Every penny counts when we go out to the grocery store, but this does not mean we have to down ramen noodles every night! There are tons of under $10 dollar meals out there that are easy to make and taste just like your mom’s home cooking.

With Thanks Giving coming up I’d thought I’d share one of my very favorite recipes that will feed you for a week and only cost you $12, ten minutes of prep time, and crock pot. You may be thinking “a crock pot? Really?”, well shut up. You can buy one of these suckers at Walmart for ten bucks and you’ll have an appliance better than a toaster oven and a hot meal every night of the week.

So let’s jump into this. If you like that honey glazed Christmas ham your mom makes once a year, then you are going to LOVE this! I’m going to show you how to make an Apple Cinnamon Pork Tender Loin. How impressed is your mom going to be when you go home and tell her you made a freaking Apple Cinnamon Pork Tender Loin?!

We will start out with an Ingredients list and then I’ll show you some pictures from there.

1 Pork Tender Loin – $6 or less

3 large red apples or 4 small red ones – 99 cents a pound or about $ 1.30

1 yellow onion – 89 cents

1 small bottle of honey – $2





This is not an expensive meal, but it will look and taste like one!


Now let’s get into how you’re going to cook this thing, with pictures.


I bought a Pork Roast because it was cheaper $6.47, there is NO taste difference between the loin and the Roast, I have made both. Grab the cheapest one.

First take the apples and onion and slice them into slices:


Then take your new favorite appliance, that 7-quart crock pot, and line the bottom of it with some of the apples and onions, not all of them you will need the rest for later!


Now you’re going to take that lovey loin of pork and lay it over the apples and onions.

Once you have it in the crock pot you are going to cut apple slice sized cuts in a row across the loin


In each of those cuts you have made into the loin you are going to pour a generous amount of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a dash of salt and pepper.


After each of the cuts are seasoned you are then going to place an apple slice into each one.


Take the rest of your apples and onions and place them on top of the loin and then pour a drizzle of honey over the whole thing, not too much just a drizzle. Put a sprinkle of cinnamon, salt, and pepper to finish it off.


You are then going to plug in your crock pot, do not forget this step (I have before).


Turn it to cook on LOW, and then walk away for eight hours (remember you have to start this in the morning). Go to class, go see four movies in a row, go do homework, go to work, anything for eight hours.


When you come back from doing whatever your apartment will be full of a lovely aroma and your dinner will be done!

This is what “done” meat looks like:


It will be white-ish brown. If you see any pink leave it for another hour.

Here is your Finished meal!


If you are cooking for one this produces left overs forever. It will easily feed a family of four. Share with your roommates or eat like a king for a week, up to you! Whatever you do your stomach will thank you, and your mom will be so proud you didn’t eat ramen for the seventh time in a row! You can do this!!

Here is where I originally found this awesome recipe:

Some tips:

Red apples are sweeter than green, if you have the extra spare change Honey Crisp apples are the best, but they more expensive.

Always buy your pork tenderloin from Walmart. I am usually not big on meats from Walmart but it is the cheapest best place to get loins from. If you get a small one you could only pay four dollars for it, I stay below six dollars always.

More cost efficient east meals:

Salmon filets – $7 – season, stick in the oven, eat with white rice ($7 for Salmon?? I know right? you can litterally eat way better than you are right now!)

Alfredo pasta – $5 – pasta .99 cents, cheese $3, 4 oz heavy whipping cream – $1 – mix the cheese and milk over the stove till it melts into sauce and our over your pasta, done! For 5 more dollars you can add chicken.

Chicken and dumplings – $10 – Chicken $5, Carrots $.99 cents, Celary $.99, Bisquick $4. boil everything in a pot of water, make dumpling batter and put in when everything else is cooked, done.

You can eat like you’re still at home and you don’t have to break the bank. Eating ramen noodles or any cheap crap food is really bad for you. I can tell you from experience, you will not be okay. Eat healthy and stay on budget!

My PR Experience in College

By: Meredith Erikson

Student photo shoot
Photo via

In an interesting blog on “PR News” by Seth Arenstein called “Report Card from the academics: next wave of PR Pros Lacks Sharp Writing, Presentation Skills” he discusses how public relations is taught at universities. I wanted to discuss my college experience learning public relations and compare it to what the PR professionals say us college students need to know.

The PR professionals mentioned that we must have advanced writing skills. They aren’t talking about the skills that will get you through a 1000-word essay, but writing for communications; which involves being persuasive and succinct. According to College Magazine, “since writing is the most important skill to have as a PR practitioner, get ready to spend the next four years with your hands glued to your keyboard.”  I’ve had the privilege of having great professors at UNT who have taught me how to write for various types of public relations documents. Word choice is crucial in creating these documents and audience awareness is something that must be kept in mind. Press releases, web content and crisis responses all have different audiences yet should be concise and effectively get the message across.

Another mentioned skill that PR professionals think we should have are oral and presentation skills. Every class, I’ve had the experience of speaking in front of an audience. From 12 to 100 people, I’ve presented in front of a range of audiences. I find it necessary that professors give the opportunity for students to practice presenting because as much as I despise speaking in front of an audience, I have gained more confidence in speaking the more times I’ve done it. Having to speak in front of real-life professionals has helped me prepare even more, especially when I had to present my communications plan. One-on-one communication practice is just as valuable. I’ve had the practice of doing a mock interview for a crisis communications situation where I had to think critically to give the best responses that would protect my “company’s” reputation. This training is beneficial for me if and when I have to communicate with clients and the media. Lastly, knowing how to conduct research is acrucial in all areas of PR. In my classes we are trained in ethics and PR law. We’ve learned to perform in-depth research, how to conduct surveys and the importance of ethical decision making.

UNT has provided me with valuable skills that I hope will one day be up to these professional’s standards.


Arenstein, B. (2016, September 19). Report Card From the Academics: Next Wave of PR Pros Lacks Sharp Writing, Presentation Skills. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from

Augero, A. (2014, December 2). Everything you need to know about a PR degree. Retrieved September 25, 2016, from


Journalism, Social Media, and You


Traditionally, news broke the next day. Newspapers would gather information, write stories, print overnight, and the previous days news would spread like wildfire. Before newspapers had access to telephones and other high-speed communications, this process sometimes took even longer. Imagine this process could be brought down to its purest form and shortened to a matter of seconds.

This is what social media has done to the world of the news.

Twitter, Facebook, blogs, Instagram, reddit. Social media has provided several platforms for immediate breaking news that has created a world of “I want it now, as it happens” news. And it’s entirely possible. Twitter, specifically, allows journalists and media companies to post updates to new stories as they happen, exemplifying the role of watchdog.

In events that aren’t quite as immediately necessary, news companies are able to create a short summary of a published story, link to the full story, and post to reach a mass audience. The use of “hashtags” allows this reach to increase even further beyond people following these news organizations to people following the “hashtag” and past narrative itself.

According to a study published by the University of Indiana, over half (53.8 percent) of journalists use microblogs such as Twitter on a daily basis. Of those journalists, the most common uses for social media were to check for breaking news, follow other organizations, find story ideas, and stay in touch with their audiences.

Social media has also vastly increased the value of citizen journalism.

In 2011, the Arab Spring took place in northern Africa. Because of huge political protests, Libyan and Egyptian governments were shutting down communications  and censoring media. Information in and out of the countries was basically stopped. Through the use of Twitter and YouTube, however, “social media became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom.” elkhafaifi_soldier_resize

Hussein Elkhafaifi


Despite this increase in the power of citizen journalism, professional journalists must act with caution. The ability of information to be spread by anyone, anywhere is helping to shrink the size of newsrooms. According to the study by the University of Indiana, 62.6 percent of news rooms have shrunk in size in the past year. The professional journalist’s main attraction over citizen journalism is the credibility of their publisher and the extensiveness of their reporting.

-Jake King