And Here I Thought My Students Really Liked Me

About a year and a half ago I wrote a post: Why I Love LinkedIn.

In that post, I noted that my favorite feature is simply reading through the Notifications to see what my former students are up to. If one of them is starting a new job, has gotten a promotion, or is going back to grad school, I usually try to reach out with a simple congratulatory note. Often times that leads to a brief exchange of emails so that we can get caught up with each other. A few times itโ€™s even led to inviting a few of them back to campus to be a guest speaker in my class.

Since I usually teach freshmen, very few of them have LinkedIn accounts, and so I encourage them to sign up as soon as they can so as to start building their network. I tell them that they are certainly free to reach out to me to connect as part of building their network.

A few freshmen do create a LinkedIn account, and a subset of those students do reach out to me with an invitation to connect, which I always accept.

So imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago I started getting a flood of invitations from both last semester’s freshmen, and the ones I am teaching this semester.

I must admit to being excited by the activity, thinking that they were heeding my words of advice and saw some value in adding me to their network.

Well it didn’t take long for my bubble to be burst.

Before the start of class the other day, I heard a couple of students chatting, and if I heard correctly, they were asking each other if they had completed an assignment for their professional development course that required every student to create a LinkedIn account and add at least five connections.

It seems like a worthwhile assignment, since I think students will learn to see the value of having an online business network.

So while it was exciting to see my network grow, it’s sort of a hollow victory.

It’s the same excitement I feel when I get a follower in WordPress, there’s nothing like seeing your stats grow ๐Ÿ™‚ But if such a follower never engages with my blog posts in some way (reading, liking, commenting), then you have to wonder what is the value of having such followers.

So while I am sure that some, if not most, of these students who connected with me justย  to fulfill a class requirement will never interact with me on LinkedIn moving forward, there will be a few people whom I interact with for the next several years via LinkedIn.

And that’s what makes it so enjoyable for me.

P.S. In quite the coincidence, while in the midst of writing this, I got a request from a student to connect with them on LinkedIn. Invitation accepted…

47 thoughts on “And Here I Thought My Students Really Liked Me

  1. I remember when LinkedIn was new and viable. Now it’s mainly a way to look up interviewers and applicants. My pic is at least 10yrs out of date and was exceptionally good back then… no resemblance to current reality!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha! Sorry, had to laugh. But hey, like you said there will probably be some that do actually connect with you! In fact maybe more tban you expect , which would mean another post to let us know! So you may get 2 posts out of this, plus students liking you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree. What good are followers is they don’t read your posts and at least hit the Like button once in awhile, if not leave a comment? Anything else seems like an exercise in futility. What the hell is the point?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I don’t really use LinkedIn much, but now I’m going to find you, Jim.

    I’d still take it as a compliment that they thought to ask you as one of the five people.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I agree with Pete and Beth. You see them picking you as an easy fill-in for one of their five spots. I see them in a world of 7.9 billion people picking you in the top five. As with all things, it is a matter of perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. How disappointing for you, but at least you made their top five! I only connected to LinkedIn after I retired, which probably isnโ€™t the best way to do it. That probably explains why I havenโ€™t used it!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have about thirty connections on there but I just donโ€™t use it! A lot of former colleagues are Facebook friends so we keep in touch that way. Horses for courses, I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s great to read that you have a good relationship with your students that you remember their names and check in on them to see how they are doing. I remember a couple of years after leaving I needed a reference so got in touch with my old course lead, they responded to say that they only give references to students he had lectured (he definitely had for two of my three years), to say he couldn’t remember me stung!

    I’ve given up on WordPress followers! I now have over a thousand and I would love to say that every new post that comes out I get around that many views from my followers, I would love to say I at least get 10% of that ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had a similar situation happen to me as well when I was a student, and that may be part of the reason why I try to get to know my students, at least a little bit…

      and it would be nice if followers were more engaged

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have no idea what LinkedIn is for. The only reason I still have an account is that I donโ€™t know my password so I canโ€™t delete it. Maybe itโ€™s because Iโ€™m not in the corporate world that I donโ€™t get it. Recently Iโ€™ve been adding WP followers at the rate of 2 to 5 a day. Almost all of them are selling something. Iโ€™m always thankful when I get a follower who is actually a blogger. But usually I never hear a peep out of them ever after.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like LinkedIn, for that student connection. I don’t use it for professional purposes. And yes, most of my followers do not engage with my posts, but it is nice to have a few loyal ones…


  9. University life has certainly evolved since my time (back in the 70s). Back then, we thought of networking by watching the news on ABC, CBS, or NBC. Sort of an alphabet soup of objectivity when news was news.

    Liked by 2 people

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