Ma’ayan Plaut (@plautmaayan) is the social media coordinator at Oberlin College.
There comes a point in the summer when the incoming first-year class reaches a fever pitch of excitement. And with the student-created “Class of 2016” Facebook group right at their fingertips, this pitch is constantly humming with every single question, thought and link that shows up in the group.
I have taken it upon myself to create constructive distractions. Any time there’s general anxiety or nervous energy, I introduce something new and creative to our students. First, it was Mad Libs (it was fun but a lot of work without lasting gratification), then a collaborative Spotify playlist and then it was a collective playlist of Youtube videos to send the class of 2016 to their happy place.
I consider turntable.fm the biggest win so far this year in every possible respect. I was introduced to it last year by several class of 2015 students while it was still in beta. I quickly fell in love with the ability to create a virtual space to listen to music together with friends working across the country or next door. In the communication department’s new open office environment at Oberlin, turntable is even more fabulous. Each one of us sits down (in order) at our turntable DJ spot and we switch out music while piping it through one set of speakers. It’s collaborative, cooperative and really awesome when we leave the virtual space for a Paul Simon sing-a-long at our desks.
My most recent gift to our class group is the “Spinning with ’16!” turntable room. I launched the room one evening, posted a link to the room on the class of 2016 Facebook group and during the next four hours, I introduced turntable to at least 15 new users. More than half of them tried their hands at DJing during the course of the evening. Each person who visited got a quick introduction to the features via turntable’s chat and information on how one could listen in or more actively participate.
When I headed to bed, I left the room in the capable hands of four dedicated students who continued working for about an hour. The next morning I found that we had around 50 clicks on the link posted to the Facebook group the previous evening. But since turntable requires users to create an account and login (using a Facebook or Twitter account), I think that some folks gave up before getting inside the room.
The next day, I was completely floored when the link popped up at the top of the Facebook group and when I stopped into the room to listen before an afternoon meeting, I was pleased to see three virtual 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 prelude hosting a future radio show on the college station.
Enabling excitement and education is truly the greatest wish I could have as Oberlin’s social media coordinator, and I’m pleased to say that with the fabulous class of 2016 group, it has been fulfilled.