Instructor John Boyer never fails to prove the power of social media to his World Regions students.
For the last two years, Boyer has been able to directly connect with important figures in both the United States and the world by using YouTube, Twitter and other social media networks.
On Feb. 19 Boyer posted a video on YouTube with the help of his World Regions class, inviting former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to talk to his class via webcam next week.
In a Skype interview with NBC News Australia, held shortly after the video was posted, Boyer elaborated on why he chose Kevin Rudd and what makes him a great candidate for a discussion with his geography class.
“I heard about Kevin Rudd’s interactivity through some former students of mine who saw news stories about him, and ended up following him for several years,” Boyer said. “As a scholar of China, a foreign minister and prime minister of Australia, Mr. Rudd has a very unique vantage point for understanding the foreign relations with not only Australia and China, but also the Pacific Asian Region in general.”
Boyer showed his sense of humor in the video invitation by offering to buy Rudd a Fosters beer to show his appreciation for talking to his class, which he later apologized for during the NBC interview, as Australians do not usually drink Fosters.
Rudd also showed his sense of humor by responding from his twitter account, @KRuddMP, “I was skeptical about your offer until I saw free beer.”
Rudd is one of the most active politicians on Twitter, so it was no surprise that several of Boyer’s students were able to get direct responses from Rudd.
Carmen Lodato, a sophomore communication major and student in Boyer’s World Regions class, expressed her excitement about the Skype event next week.
“I am really excited about next week and I was extremely impressed about how quickly Rudd responded to the YouTube video and the Tweets,” Lodato said. “Rudd replied so quickly that I did not even have a chance to tweet at him like a lot of the students.”
Freshman World Regions student Layla Mustafa is also looking forward to the video chat with Rudd next week.
“I am really looking forward to interacting with a world figure first hand next week,” Mustafa said. “It’s not every day that you get to talk to such a significant world leader in one of your college classes."
Boyer has had great success in the past with his Skype interview with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese democracy leader, and with his showing of the film, “The Way” with guest appearances by Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen.
“Over the past couple years, I have seen Professor Boyer’s YouTube videos about trying to connect with world leaders, and it is awesome that I finally get to be a part of one,” Lodato said.