Category Archives: Social Media

Up All Night On LinkedIn

4 am clock imageIt 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.

ProfAlbrecht's LinkedIn Network

ProfAlbrecht’s LinkedIn 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

David Albrecht

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A Professor Who Is Savvy in Social Media

Yesterday I was informed of a nice honor.  I was on a list of the 50 Most Social Media Savvy Professors in America.

I have written, both here and on The Summa, about the importance of integrating social media into the work life.  Whether a person is a professor, student, or business professional, using social media can make one both more efficient and more effective.

Am I deserving of such an honor?  Absolument pas!  Perhaps I’m only #500.

However, I’m grateful for being recognized. Thanks.

by David Albrecht

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Filed under New fangled tech, Social Media

Blogging in the Classroom

It is late March and windy in Chicago.  It must be that I’m attending the annual conference for MBAA International at the historic Drake Hotel.

The MBAA conference annual draws about 800 academics from the areas of finance, accounting, international business, marketing, management, legal studies, information systems, economics, operations management and entrepreneurship, case research, and BSG (business society and government).  As you might imagine, I’m here for accounting.

I like coming to the NAAS portion of the MBAA conference.  There are only 80 accounting academics in attendance, but they all are really cool (especially TF).

This post is about my presentation, titled:

If you want, you can view my presentation slides.

Should professors be using blogging in the classroom? Duhhhh, yes.  Blogging should be used in any class where the professor wants to accomplish anything other than memorization for multiple choice tests.  It is not uncommon for teachers to use blogging in elementary education classes.  If second graders can handle it, then college students should be able to.

A professor does not need to be a blogger to use blogging in the classroom.

Why use blogging?  For many reasons, but here are two.  First, it’s a social media world.  College students that can do anything with SM other than Facebook are at a premium.  Accounting and law firms use social media and blogging.  Obtaining SM proficiency gives students a leg up when they graduate.  Second, it’s such an easy tool to use if you want students to do anything more than memorize.

There are four ways to use blogging in the classroom:

  1. Professor can transmit useful content to students.  Blogging is a great platform for writing informative essays.
  2. Professors can introduce a provocative issue in a blog post, and require students to make comments.  The first student reacts to what the professor wrote.  Each successive student reacts to what both the professor and previous commenting students wrote.  It is a great way to achieve a group thinking environment.
  3. Professors can assign students to write their own blog posts, and then publish them to the student’s own blog or to a group blog.  This is a great way for a student to learn what others in the class are thinking.
  4. Professors can assign blog essays that are published and available on the web, and then students can write their analysis of or reaction to that essay.  These can be submitted online or via paper.

There are three types of blogs and blog posts:

  1. Informative or news.  The purpose of these types of blogs is to pass along news tidbits.  A great example in tax is the TaxProf, by Paul Caron.  He gets about 7,000,000 hits per year.  I asked another tax professor if he reads TaxProf, and he responded that he does on a daily basis.  I then asked him if he has his students read TaxProf.  He said no.  No?  By the way, Professor Caron makes the Accounting Today list of 100 most influential people in the American accounting world.
  2. Commentary or editorial.  Most bloggers have an opinion and they want to persuade readers.  Having students read, analyze and react to these commentaries is a great way to introduce students to developing professional values.  So often professors never ask students what they think.  This is a great way of doing so.  In the study of liberal arts, critical thinking is defined as reading, analyzing and reacting. A great example of this in the accounting area is the Accounting Onion, by Tom Selling.
  3. Lifestyle, or welcome to my life.  Students don’t yet know what it is like to be working as an accountant.  A blog focused on the young accountant’s working environment is a great way of showing students what the working world of accounting is like.  Examples are Accountant by Day (working accountant), and Pondering the Classroom (accounting professor).

by David Albrecht

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Filed under Faculty issues, Social Media

When They Bring Laptops to Class

I suggest students bring their laptop to class.  It is my hope that they will use it for class related purposes:

  • Taking notes
  • Working accounting problems on spreadsheets
  • Looking up information

In my Social Media, Blogging and Business class, all 22 students bring a computer to class, every day.  So do I.   I intend for students to use it for class related purposes.  They don’t.  The tell-tale signs?

  • Students tippy tapping away during class discussions
  • Someone laughing out loud while gaze is fixed on laptop screen
  • Lack of engagement with me
  • Admitting to spending 45% of class on non-class related computer use (yes, I asked them).

Have you seen this Doonsbury cartoon?

Something similar has happened in my class.

Students don’t use e-mail these days.  It is too slow, too boring and not social enough.  All my students are on Facebook.  Communication via Facebook is extremely satisfying.  Don’t know for sure, though, because students won’t friend me.  Perhaps they are afraid I’ll be able to check up on their in-class discussions (I wouldn’t).

I’ve been hypothesizing that this Facebook activity is all status updates, replies and chat.  Perhaps not.  There are other things to be accomplished via Facebook, as the following videos attest.  There is love, and there is poke.  Sometimes there is love and poke.

First, about love.  Tyler Ward sings “Facebook Lover.”

Meghean Warren & Jessica Campbell have a different “Facebook Lover.”

Now for poke.  What is poke, and what is poke for?  The poker sends a poke to a pokee, indicating that the pokee is being thought of.  What is the pokee to think?  Presumably that it is an act of affection.  But not always.  Facebook users now have poke wars.

Did you know a Facebook poke can send you to jail?

I’m too old school.  I use my finger poker for a different reason:

How do you use your laptop during class?  Leave a comment and let me know.

– – David Albrecht


Filed under Social Media, Student issues

Social Networking

One of my classes this semester is Social Media, Blogging and Business.  Every one in the class is a fan of social media.  We all bring our laptops every day.  We’ve looked at blogging, vlogging and tweeting.  I’ve not directed students to take a closer look at facebooking (yes, it is a verb) as everyone (except me) is an accomplished user.

Today, three students accompanied me to a local cineplex to see The Social Network.  Did the trip qualify as an educational experience?  Was it time well spent?  Am I (or any of my students) a better person for the experience?  Was I entertained?   In this blog post I attempt to answer these questions.

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The Allure of Social Media in Academia

It is the number one topic heard when college faculty congregate.  Shouldn’t cell phones and laptops be banned from classrooms? [Must be phrased this way for the professor to get an affirmative answer.]

Just a couple of years ago, technology and web 2.0 were to be the saviors of higher education.  Now they are the roots of all evil.  How did this happen?

It is easy to see why students use whatever tool is close at hand to access their fave social media app.  Mine is Youtube.  However, Facebook, Tweeting, or texting might be yours.

Many social media apps are extremely appealing and addictive.  Just how alluring?  Watch this Youtube clip with the sound turned up.  It is sure to yank you into a singing and dancing fit.  Students will follow the beat of this song anywhere, right away from the classroom (and so would I).   [ To view the clip, click on the following image.  You will be taken offsite to Youtube.  When done watching the clip, please hit your browser’s “back” button to return here and read the rest of this post.]

Lynn Rose tweeting during "Everybody Tweet Tweet"

I found a comment on Facebook.  College_girl1 writes on College_girl2’s wall, “I just love how you update your status during class.”  College_girl1’s post also is timestamped during class.

Killer social media apps are SEXY!  There is a time and place for social media–college students use social media anytime and anyplace.

Professors talking away in class are not sexy.  I’ve never heard of a professor showing up in lingerie (doubt the old flabby bodies would be considered sexy).  It is a rare professor who will receive a red hot chili pepper on  Much of the time, students award these in jest.

Bucking the trend, I encourage students to bring a laptop to class.  In one course, 22 out of 22 bring it.  I queried them as to what percentage of a class period they used social media for non-class purposes.  The median response was 45%, and it’s safe to surmise that many underreported their percentage.  Is 45% too much?   How should I act on that knowledge?

Student use of laptops in class as reported by Professor Michael Wesch of Kansas State University

It is safe to say that when a professor runs a teacher-centered class (lecture-test), students actually tune out the professor for a sizable percentage of a class period.  Student recall, comprehension and application of a professor’s lecture content is pitifully low.  Professors don’t get upset because students appear to be listening.  Daydreaming with eyes open looks OK.

However, it is another thing when students obviously tune out by using a computer or cell phone.  Professors are offended.  They call it disrespect and disgrace.  Actually, their pride is hurt.  How dare students do that to them?  The obvious response is to ban laptops and blackberries/smart phones/cell phones from class.  Good riddance!

To be sure, my pride was hurt when I saw the 45% number.  In response, I simply asked students to scale it back to a lower percentage.  Is that the best response?

I don’t know how to solve the problem of students disengaging from class through using their laptops or phones.  I know, though, that the horse has left the barn and professors will simply need to learn to deal with it.  Banning is not an option, because it prevents students from receiving the many good benefits of using a computer during class.

Perhaps I should just learn how to engage students with computer use.

Students, what do you think about unrelated use of laptops or phones during class.  I hope you leave a comment to this post.

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Filed under Faculty issues, Social Media

Youtube Commentary on Social Media

In two previous blog posts (Bailout and Popular Culture (1) and Bailout and Popular Culture (2)) I shared several Youtube examples of a populist outcry against (1) the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, (2) those shouldering the blame for causing the crisis, and (3) unpopular government responses.  These Youtube videos featured songs or humorous skits that skewered culprits with biting satire.  Many in the U.S. populace were unhappy, and their videos reflected it.

In this blog post I present the results of a Youtube search focused on identifying music or humor videos about social media.  My goal is to use this evidence to form a conclusion about how our society feels about social media.

The first collection of videos shows affection and respect for social media in general, and Twitter and Facebook in particular.  All three artists–Peter Codella, Justine Ezarik, and RhettandLink–featured make a living in social media.

Crazy Little Thing the Web, written and sung by Pete Codella and produced by MultiMediaWise is a slick piece of entertainment.  It does not contain a message of anger or dissatisfaction with the new wave of social media.  The fast pace of the upbeat melody leaves the listener with a feeling of happiness.

The Twitter Song, written and sung by iJustine (Justine Ezarik) is also a fun piece of entertainment.  Ezarik is an Internet personality, with over one million followers on Twitter and whose videos have received over 100 million views.  She likes Twitter, and the song was written to have fun with it.  It fits in with her brand, she portrays herself as a cute girl having fun.   This video was filmed in her kitchen!


Facebook Song, written and sung by Rhett & Link (Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal) takes an affectionate look at Facebook.  Rhett and Link sing that they begin to live when they log in to Facebook.


The second collection of Youtube videos is characterized by satirical humor directed at something unliked.  Satirical humor can be biting and stinging, or mild.  I characterize all four of these videos as mild.  They are poking fun, as opposed to completely trashing, social media.


Tweet This, is a stand-up comedy skit by Bob Hirschfeld presented at a 2010 conference in Seattle Washington.  In this video, Hirschfeld lampoons social media including Facebook, Twitter and online “friends”.

The Facebook Song, provides invaluable marital advice:  it’s OK to tease your wife by saying, “I have more Facebook friends than you.”  Yeah, right.   The Facebook Song is tangy satire about the many are fixated on having hundreds of Facebook friends, who aren’t really friends at all.


I really like Facebook Manners and You because it takes a facetious look at the practice Facebook dating.


Addicted to Facebook is a cute homemade song written by a college student who identifies himself as CarloT.


In conclusion, it seems to me that our culture is still fascinated and entertained by social media.  I see no undercurrent of populist anger towards it.


I hope you enjoyed this little trip through Facebook files.


Filed under Social Media

Singular or Plural?

I am teaching a freshman class in applied writing:   Social Media, Blogging, and Business.   My students have identified a problem, one with which I’ve struggled with in recent months.  Is the term social media singular or plural?  It matters to a careful writer who wants to follow correctly with singular or plural verb.

Technically, media is the plural of medium.  Following with a plural verb seems correct.  Many Internet writers treat social media as a singular noun, probably because it does not end with the letter S.  So many have done it, our ears now are trained.  But are these writers ever correct?  Yes.

The guiding principle is whether the noun refers to something countable, or uncountable.

When the noun is countable, it is correct to accompany social media with a plural form of a verb.  This occurs when referring to the group of applications described collectively as media.  For example, recently a student wrote:

Social media plays such a big role in our everyday lives that many of us wouldn’t know what to do without it.  Just over the course of this blog post I will repeatedly check my phone, and look at Facebook multiple times to see what is going on with my friends.

This student is referring to two applications:  cell phone texting and Facebook.  A common trick for figuring out the correct form of verb is to replace the plural noun (social media) with two or more applications (texting and Facebook).  It is now obvious as to the correct form of verb:

Texting and Facebook play such a big role in our everyday lives that many of us wouldn’t know what to do without them.

When the noun is uncountable, a singular verb should always be used.  Such is the case when referring to the concept of social media.  The term social media is sometimes used to describe the population of online or networked applications.  It is a phenomenon, a movement.  An example of this uncountable noun with singular verb is:

Social media is attracting much attention from anthropologists.

On a related note, the students in my Social Media, Blogging, and Business class have adopted an inclusive definition of social media.  It describes the population of applications that enable online (or networked) discussion, participation and sharing.  Each social media application enables interactive dialog, as opposed to traditional online applications that are essentially one way broadcasts.  Connectivity and community are key aspects.  If members aren’t always on, they are mostly on.

Professional and amateur videos uploaded to Youtube are examples of social media, but Hollywood movies stamped on dvds are not.  Cell phone texting is a type of social media, but a mobile GPS is not.

I hope this discussion is useful to you.


Filed under Social Media, Writing