Hank Green, TikTok, and The BBC: Viral Projects and Presentations from Social Media & Business Classes for Creatives
In addition to being the CEO of FindSpark, a community dedicated to connecting employers to top, diverse early career talent and setting up our 30,000+ members for career success, I'm also an Adjunct Professor at multiple colleges.
Since 2014, I've been teaching "The Business of Being an Artist" at School of Visual Arts and since 2016 teaching "Social Media Applications" at Fashion Institute of Technology.
Originally only a part of my FIT class syllabus, this year, I added "The Viral Project" to my SVA class syllabus as well. The goal? For my students to use what they learn about social media to strategically create and promote a piece of content or account and get as much engagement as possible and engagement from the right people based on their project.
Ultimately, I want students to learn how to thoughtfully target an audience — whether it's for a job opportunity, a crowdfunding campaign, or their independent creative projects and work.
For my FIT class, students also present a final presentation on the topic of their choice related to their learnings and assignments from the class.
These assignments are very open ended (as are most of my assignments) and it's always super cool to see how each student approaches the project.
The students also present their viral project at the end of the class and everyone votes for the 3 they think are the best. The🥇emoji means the student was one of the winners.
Below are just some of the viral projects and presentations from Fall 2018, including the most viewed, my personal favorites, and a random mix to show the different directions students took.
Fashion Institute of Technology Class: Social Media Applications
🥇 Jake (@vfxtra) made class history in terms of the numbers he got on this viral video on TikTok (formerly Musically). One of my other FIT assignments is called "All The Platforms" — students sign up for 5 social media platforms they aren't already on and create posts, engage, and follow folks. Because of this assignment, Jake discovered TikTok and one of his videos received 60,000+ views.
I was incredibly impressed by the honesty and vulnerability of Ryan's final presentation, where he shared his struggle with the Informational Interview assignment and ultimate triumph. He's my first student who got his interviews (5 of them!) through Reddit.
He also made all the memes in his slides.
🥇 Dawn's viral project was incredibly timely, down to saving her tweet as a draft and waiting to post it until she was notified Hank Green (the target) had posted, therefore meaning he was on the app and more likely to see it — which he did.
Bo was inspired when she was featured on a local Instagram account when traveling in London, so she started her own local Instagram account. She also experimented with engagement bots, pods, and buying fake followers.
🥇 Bhavi used her side hustle food Instagram @whattochew to push her article published strategically on Patch (vs her own site), which received 1,000+ uniques and 10,000+ views.
Through the assignment "All The Platforms," Erin fell in love with Goodreads, which has helped her get back into reading.
🥇 Julia had a really solid response for just straight up asking for engagement. Very impressive since she only has about 400 followers.
School of Visual Arts Class: The Business of Being an Artist
A Senior Thesis "A Moonlight's Tale," by Ron, Elena, Aarif, Andrew, and Tony, successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign — and even got their composer through the project — who reached out after seeing the campaign funded.
🥇Elena's viral project was focused on building awareness for the Kickstarter and film via Instagram. The account was started the earliest and gained the most followers, 350+.
🥇 Jee launched her thesis Instagram early and posts everything from visual inspiration and behind-the-scenes to her renders and handmade costume close-ups. Not only has her account been a great way to share her work, she's also been reached out to via the account to work on other projects.
Irene got one of her sketches featured in The BBC because her drawing was found on Twitter via a hashtag for a timely art challenge.
Jenna posted on her LinkedIn (where she has an impressive 1,000+ connections) to push people to follow her thesis Instagram. She was even followed by a pro at Disney who found her thesis Insta and followed her personal account, too.
Amy used the strategy of commissioning art based on her thesis film to post on the thesis Instagram, which in turn was featured on various art Instagram pages.
Her Film Page:
🥇 Mateo earned a solid 76 followers to his new Instagram account for his thesis project.
Susan used a giveaway through her Etsy shop Instagram to drive followers to her new thesis film Instagram account. She also used story highlights in a fun way to show the animals that are the inspirations for the film.
Thanks for a great semester, classes! I'm excited to follow everyone's journey.