There are five things you should know about this year’s class of higher ed social media commentators on this year’s Beloit Mind Set List.
The list, as we call it here at Higher Ed Marketing, is an annual compendium of zeitgeisty things we should all know about the incoming freshman class. An annual rite of fall for higher ed, much like the U.S. News & World Report rankings and The Princeton Review‘s “best party schools” list, the Mind Set List, according to Beloit’s press release, is intended to show us old-fogey higher ed types those secret “cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college.” This year’s list focuses on the Class of 2016 and puts their lives into context with one-liners like, “They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics” and “They have never seen an airplane ‘ticket.”
And the critics of this annual production? Ah, they are legion. Here are a few ways you can spot them as they infiltrate the Class of 2016’s addictive cyberworld:
1. They are clever, often acerbic spoofers of the actual list, as evidenced by the Twitter hashtag they created (#fakebeloitmindsetlist) to parody Beloit’s offering. Among the terse Twitter zingers since the list’s release:
- The Class of 2016 doesn’t remember a time when foppish vampires dressed foppishly, instead of at J. Crew
- 50-something faculty have always been able to peer deeply into the minds of 18-year-olds
- The Class of 2016 has always known David Hasselhoff as a pop star in Germany. If they Googled him.
- 25% of the class of 2016 say “they are popular, but not *show choir* popular”.
2. They have always critiqued the list for its suspect research premise, and for its hyperbolic language (The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap and Martin Lawrence has always been banned from hosting Saturday Night Live). Well, at least since 2009.
3. They have never agreed completely about the merits of the list. Some view the Beloit list as a poor substitute for actually talking to students, while other laud Beloit’s approach from a branding and PR standpoint.
4. They sometimes forget that the Beloit Mind Set list is an unscientific compilation of pop culture factoids, and that it was created by a former PR guy at Beloit, in consultation with a humanities professor. So of course, it’s a PR ploy, designed to raise awareness of the institution.
5. They are probably all over 25, and therefore too old to be a social media manager.
6. They carry on about the list for a week, sometimes longer, then promptly forget about for a year. Maybe this will be the last post of 2012 about the Beloit Mind Set List for the Class of 2016. We can only hope.