Ah, “the times they are a-changin.” In the past decade, we have experienced a digital revolution that has dramatically altered how the world at large and how we as individuals communicate with each other. Needless to say, one of this revolution’s most prolific offspring are the now ubiquitous social media.
In 2000, when I became NYIT’s third president, Google was a mere toddler and Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were just glimmers in their founders’ eyes. And now, 10 years later:
- Google receives several hundred billion inquiries a day.
- Facebook, now the same age as a kindergartner, has more than 400 million active users and three billion photos uploaded each month.
- YouTube, founded in 2005, has two billion views a day.
- Twitter, at four years old, has 300,000 people signing up daily.
To borrow a tagline from a popular ad campaign, membership has its privileges. We know more–sometimes too much!—about people and places, opportunities, and events than ever. We can create virtual networks of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that serve a dual function of reminding us of our past while keeping us abreast of the present and future. Communications technology also plays a tremendous role in how today’s global citizens can respond in real time with real information and real dollars to help mend the devastating effects of crises, such as the Haitian earthquake or the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
At NYIT, we use Web 2.0 tools daily to keep in touch with our colleagues, classmates, and campuses around the world. Our Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr accounts have thousands of followers, and our NYIT inCircle social network is embraced by our 85,000 alumni. This year, at our May 23 commencement ceremony, real-time congratulatory tweets and wall posts from around the world were displayed on the big screen for our graduates and guests to enjoy. In fact, communication among the NYIT community in New York and our global campuses was rampant on Facebook and Twitter during the entire commencement season, a signal that our bonds and global network are growing stronger.
Technology has also altered the way we act and respond. The collateral impact of social media and other digital technologies can be found everywhere. As I told the members of the Class of 2010 at commencement, “Google has taught us that to empower innovation, we must become conversant with the concept of ‘Living in Beta.’ So it is with our education. What we know today is not constant. Some things we know will remain true. But many will be edited, added, footnoted, paraphrased, or simply deleted.”
At NYIT, we embrace this forward-thinking concept, and have done so throughout our history. The stories in this magazine are proof points of our graduates’ collective ability to respond to 21st-century challenges with technology and an education that has prepared them to adapt and be forward-thinking themselves. We encourage you to share your story with us as well.
Edward Guiliano, Ph.D.