It is 4:00 a.m. I am still up, working. That I am still up is not unlike some of my students. That I’m working is very much unlike them. After all, who stays up until 4:00 a.m. to study accounting if there is no test later in the day?
So what is an accounting professor working on during the summer? I’m glad you asked. I’m becoming better acquainted with some features of LinkedIn.
At the current time, I have about 900 first level connections. 300 are former students, 300 are professors. Then there are practicing accountants, regulators, social media experts, friends, a nephew and my older son.
Right now I’m growing and maintaining my network.
In the network map above, you can see the student connections from the schools at which I’ve taught: BGSU, Concordia College, and USC Upstate. A small cluster is forming already for La Sierra. Also, there are large clusters for professors and bloggers (and heavy social media users).
LinkedIn is a great network managing system, and in this digital technologies era I need a good network. For months I’ve been lamenting that I’m only connected to 140 former students from BGSU. There were thousands, and I’m sure at least a thousand of them are on LinkedIn.
A couple of days ago I got the bright idea to do an advanced search on LinkedIn inputting BGSU for the school and accounting for the industry. Suddenly I had hundreds of accounting grads to search through to see if they took a class from me. If they graduated between 1992 and 2010, probably they took at least one course from me. So I stayed up late and sent out about 20 invitations to connect. All of them accepted!
That was the easy part. I now have to start working on establishing a relationship. When they were sitting in my class, forming a teacher-student relationship was expected. I learned most student names, most students learned my name, and I helped them learn accounting. But years later we no longer have a relationship. But I want one.
I send a thank you note to everyone who joins my network. For these twenty students, I can also ask if they remember anything about the course (or courses) they took from me. I ask if they liked the accounting program. Later on, I’ll send out an occasional e-mail.
Sometimes a former student will e-mail me. In the past few months, a couple students volunteered to write a LinkedIn recommendation for me. Yes, yes, yes!
I’m also trying something new. I’m headed off in the fall to a school in California. I did a similar search (industry and school), and sent off a half dozen invitations to connect. Five accepted. From these students I hope to learn what it is like to study accounting at that school. I’ll also learn if they’ve stayed in touch with the school. Later on in the fall, I’ll invite them to attend the grand opening of the new business building and I’ll get a chance to chat face-to-face.
Once I get good at LinkedIn networking, I’ll start researching it and writing about it.by.