Social Media Week tackles intentional use of evolving social media space

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(Archive photo by Dalton Wainscott | Collegian Media Group)

In a complex and dynamic space like social media, the opportunities at our fingertips are endless.

Jana Thomas, professor of practice in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, organized the first-ever Social Media Week at Kansas State taking place Feb. 14-18.

The week-long event has several panels and workshops teaching about the inherent effects of social media, how to manage social media and the tools and opportunities using social media provides.

Thomas said she felt these events will help students and faculty have a better understanding of what it looks like to be more intentional and strategic with social media use. She said she was inspired to bring this to K-State from her personal experience in the industry and similar events put on in major cities around the country.

“There are all these different initiatives out there in the industry to bring together professionals in social media, communications and advertising to help better understand the tools and changes happening in that space and how to be more effective,” Thomas said. “I wanted to take this idea and bring it to an education institution.”

Thomas said that because social media is all around, people need to learn how to use it by “leaning forward” instead of “leaning back.” She explained this phenomenon as “leaning forward” to use the social space as opposed to “leaning back” and using it as an escape.

To do this, people need to educate themselves on the various topics that are important when dabbling in the social media realm.

“We eat, breath and sleep social media from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed,” Thomas said. “We’re engaging, and it has really permeated itself into every aspect of our lives.”

Because of social media’s influence, she said this is important information for anyone, not just people in the industry.

Throughout the week, Thomas has invited industry professionals, mental health specialists and even students to talk about their experiences with social media.

Each day will have anywhere from one to three events discussing topics she feels are necessary for success in this space, with the primary goal of instilling positive, intentional behaviors when using social media.

Thomas Lane, vice president for student life and dean of students, said he is excited about this event as it brings something different to the university.

“Given the multitude of ways social media impacts not only college students’ lives but the world we all share together, taking a week to highlight and educate our K-State community about this powerful tool and topic seems especially relevant and timely,” Lane said.

Lanie Mannebach, senior in mechanical engineering, said she was excited to hear about the event’s benefit for people in any major.

“I really haven’t considered the ways I might use social media in my career, so an event to help me learn more about it even though I won’t be working in that field is really cool,” Mannebach said.

Students, faculty and staff can register for these events through OrgCentral under the agenda tab.

More information on each of the events is available on the JMC website or by contacting Thomas at janamthomas@ksu.edu.

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Hey! I’m Maddie Daniel and I am a junior in mass communications. This semester, I'm the assistant culture editor and have previously served as a staff writer. After I graduate, I plan to go to law school to pursue a career in Federal Indian Law. I love art, history and anything outdoors.