The Cult of the Like and The Millennial Generation

Social networking LIKEOne of the more interesting phenomena I’ve come across in some of my research on college student interactions through social media is something I call the “Cult of the Like.” The “Like,” or the “Favorite,” or whatever your preferred social media network happens to call it, is a way of indicating agreement, acknowledgement, or affinity for a social media posting. Facebook’s own help section describes it as follows:

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I’d Like to Buy My Staff a Coke: Getting Them to Sing in Perfect Harmony


Social media and Web 2.0 technologies have changed the way we collaborate and come together for collective action.  Additionally, they are enabling us to achieve feats of unprecedented size and scale.  They are helping us search for cures to cancer, they have allowed us to create a comprehensive world encyclopedia, and they have even toppled entire governments.  Key to understanding and harnessing collaboration and collective action, however, is that these efforts should be goal-driven, not tool-driven, and that they all need not look the same.  Understanding these two points can allow us to transform organizational cultures, goals, and actions.

The World Singing in Perfect Harmony

In 1971, the Coca-Cola Company introduced its iconic “Hilltop” commercial, with the now famous lines: “I’d like to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony, I’d Like to Buy the World to Coke, and keep it company.” Bill Backer, one of the originators of the commercial, was on a flight to London, when the plane was diverted to Ireland due to inclement weather.  The upset and angry passengers were forced to spend the night in the airport.  The next day, however, they were bonding and laughing together while drinking Coke.  This situation stuck Backer and he recalled:
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Featured in Forbes article, “The World in 2033: Big Thinkers And Futurists Share Their Thoughts”

forbes_logo_mainI was honored to be included in Todd Wilmes’ article on detailing predictions on  what the future will look like in 2033.  Contributing voices include:

  • Ray Kurzweil on Technology
  • Robert Kaplan on Global Conflict
  • Khan Academy on Education
  • Virgin Galactic on Space Travel
  • Oliver Bussmann on The Global Workforce
  • John Allen on Religion
  • Dr. Gene Robinson on Global Climate, and
  • Myself on Human-Technology Integration

Check it out here:  The World in 2033: Big Thinkers And Futurists Share Their Thoughts

2 Presentations for the 2013 Dalton Institute on College Student Values

imagesI had the privilege of giving two presentations at the 2013 Dalton Institute on College Student Values at Florida State University in Tallahassee.  The theme of this year’s institute was “Character in an Age of Self-Promotion: Exploring the Role of Social Media on College Student Development.”  Obviously, perfectly suited for me and my research passions. 🙂

The abstracts and information about my sessions  can be found here.  Below you will find the presentations themselves as well as any additional information and links that might be helpful in understanding the topics.
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Defense Against the Dark Arts: The University’s Last Lecture


I’m an insider, but an outsider.  As a PhD student studying higher education, and as someone who has worked in colleges and universities his entire life, I’m completely comfortable in the classroom and in being surrounded by students.   This semester, however, I’m an immigrant in a foreign land.  I’m taking a course in the business school, MI621: Social Media for Managers.  It’s not that I don’t work in a business, I do.  I just don’t speak the exact same language.  I, like many other academics, hold on to the belief that the university is somehow a special and unique kind of business.  It has a unique purpose and unique goals. How can the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake be reduced to market forces?
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