There comes a point in the summer where the incoming class is reaching a fever pitch of excitement. And with the class Facebook group right at the fingertips of new students, this pitch is humming, constantly, under every single question, thought, and link that shows up on the page.
So, I have taken it upon myself to create constructive distractions. Any time there's general anxiety or nervous energy (especially right now, it's all about housing assignments. Soon, my friends, SOON!), I introduce something new and awesome and creative to our students. At first, it was Mad Libs (it was fun but a lot of work without a lot of lasting gratification), then a collaborative Spotify playlist (more on this in a future post), and then it was a collective playlist of Youtube videos that sends the class of 2016 to their happy place.
I'm considering turntable.fm the biggest win so far this year, in every possible respect. After being introduced to it while it was still in beta last year by some class of 2015 students, I quickly fell in love with the ability to create a virtual space to listen to music together with friends working all over the country. In our new open office environment, turntable is even more fabulous; we each sit down (in order) at our turntable DJ spots, and switch off music all day while piping it through one set of speakers. It's collaborative, cooperative, and really awesome when it leaves the virtual space for a Paul Simon singalong.
My most recent gift to our class group is the Spinning with '16! turntable room. I launched the room on Wednesday evening, posted a link to the room on the class of 2016 Facebook group, and over the next four hours, I introduced turntable to at least 15 new users, with over half of them trying a hand at DJing over the course of the evening. Everyone who visited got a quick intro via turntable's chat feature to all the features and how one could listen in or more actively participate.
When this old lady headed to bed at around midnight, I left the room in the capable hands of four dedicated students who went on for about an hour after I went to sleep. (We had around 50 clicks on the link posted in the group that evening, but since you are required to log in and create an turntable account with your Facebook or Twitter account, I think that some folks gave up before getting inside the room.)
On Thursday afternoon, I was completely floored when the link popped at the top of the class group, and when I hopped into the room to listen in before a meeting, I was so pleased to see three heads bopping around and talking about how they had discovered their favorite ska bands. After my meeting, I came back to the room to find one of the now-veterans of the Spinning with '16 room explaining the features of turntable to a new visitor and talking about how this was just the right exercise to hosting a future radio show on WOBC.
My heart is swollen with adoration for our students always — they are stunningly fabulous people, each and every one... and I haven't even met most of them yet! — but I had this moment of "My work here is done. I have shared something I love with some new friends and they took it and made it their own." Enabling excitement and education is truly the grandest wish one could have as a social media coordinator, and I'm pleased to say that with this fabulous 2016 group, it has been fulfilled.