If you want a bird's eye view of what's happening on your kid's college campus... think Twitter!
Summer is winding down, and for those of us with children heading off to college, there is a big shock looming ahead. That son or daughter we've so carefully nurtured and hovered over for years will be moving perhaps a thousand miles away, and into a whole new and exciting world. But although the focus of their lives is changing and expanding, they remain the center of ours. It's natural for us to want to keep in touch with them, and it's difficult to go from being involved in every aspect of their lives to feeling totally disconnected.
All parents aren't as lucky as I am. I'm a dean at the college my youngest daughter attends, so it's easy for me to feel connected and a part of her college experience. However, one of my sons attended college in another country, so I know firsthand how painful "kid withdrawal" can be.
Despite all the modern technology, staying in touch is hard. Cell phones are great, but if your kids are like mine, they'd rather text than talk. They will be busy with new friends, activities and classes, so keeping you updated on their lives may not be a priority. Facebook is another communication tool. However it seems to me that it will give you a peek into their social lives, but often not the larger campus environment they live in, and it can sometimes give you too much information. Plus, most social media observers have pointed out that "the kids" are using Facebook less in favor of other social media platforms.
Many of them have moved to Twitter so it may be time to get on Twitter to follow your kids and more. (Many point out that they are using Facebook less because their parents and grandparents are using it more, the horror, so be sure not to pry into their business too much).
Not only can you connect with your student, but you'll be able to learn more about what's going on in their campus life because many schools not only have official Twitter accounts but also have a large number of staff and faculty who tweet. By choosing the right people to follow on Twitter, you'll be able to really get a feel for what's happening at their college.
Here at Lynn University, we all make an effort to use social media to help our parents feel connected. From professors to president, we're tweeting daily. Just by following us, I'm at @DeanTomKruczek btw, our parents learned that our men's soccer and women's golf teams won the DII national championship, they saw pictures of the groundbreaking for the new business school building and learned about the planning for the presidential debate that Lynn hosted in 2012. It's a wonderful way to get a snapshot of everything that's happening on campus on a daily moment-by-moment basis from numerous sources including your child.
You're still going to miss your son or daughter, but if you're following the president, deans, professors and coaches at their college, you'll feel a lot more connected. You'll learn about concerts and plays and games, and it will give you something to talk about the next time that they actually answer when you call them on their cell phone.
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