2011 Social Media Ninjas

It seems not so long ago that I posted the list of new Grasshoppers who were on their way to being Social Media Ninjas in our Senior Marketing class at Champlain College. Students went “live” with their personal branding projects in February and here we are at the end of April and it’s time to reveal the Social Media Ninjas for Spring 2011.

First, let’s begin with the rubric which this year I tweaked a wee bit to include a Google search to find out just how the students stacked up according to the Googles. We had some interesting results and it’s no surprise that those who dominated their ego search for their name scored high on the rubric.

The rankings are simple:

  • Social Media Ninja = A
  • Specialist = B
  • Apprentice = C
  • Grasshopper = D/F

Getting there, however is not so easy and it really does take quite a lot of work.

This year I watched as the students learned a great deal about what it really takes to engage in social media. Even with passion there are days when it is very difficult. Creating engaging content, linking, responding, tracking…it takes time, dedication and a willingness to be present, always learning and continually curious. At the end of the day, regardless of the final ranking I believe that every one of the students in #ccc410mkt learned a great deal this year.

So here we go… our top results for Spring 2011!

Specialists: These are the students who really pushed hard. They might have changed things in mid-stream and ran into some barriers but in the end they all were able to gain their stride and really start creating content, make connections and start to make an impression on others outside of their F2F social circle.  I’ve made some specific notes after each one.

And now…for the Ninjas. The Social Media Ninjas. They rocked it from the start — well sometimes they crashed and burned (one had their site down for a month) but in the end they rallied, listened to the feedback, made connections, built communities and created content that is having an impact on a wide circle of people well beyond #btv and #campchamp!

And the Ninjas Are…



Tricia stood out because not only was she consistent, she has employed all the tools, made the connections and has helped her peers grow (Google searches for the different students often showed her blog with links to them in top results). She gets community. She gets how to leverage the tools and above all she has taken @garyvee’s advice and CRUSHEDIT!

@klei_ber@Klei_ber (aka @culturecycles)


Brian has been working with his passion, Culture Cycles prior to our class.  I have seen him really grow this blog and learn how to make the Twitter feeds and Facebook much more meaningful. He has built a great fan base for the blog and is now seeing what happens when he intentionally injects more of himself into the Culture Cycles brand. He overcame a huge tech failure and hasn’t lost any readers by keeping the site fresh, engaging and interesting.





In a very short time, Nate has begun to make a big impression with his blog — his focus on home brewing and most importantly helping to educate others about home brewing is helping him to gain recognition in a niche area. He’s taking @garyvee’s words to heart and helping others to learn and understand about something he is passionate about. As he has begun to find his voice, Nate has been expanding his content to not only provide how-tos but also connect the home brewing community together. It’s all about adding value and Nate has shown how it can be done.


@tech5@Tech5 (aka @tfquilty and @Alexqmfashion)



Alex has taken his passion and has woven it throughout his work here at Champlain. His goal is to go back home to Chicago and run the family business — a military surplus store — that has helped outfit costumes in movies. He loves military fashion and has taken this assignment to new heights by using it to fuel his business idea through different twitter accounts, a blog and his newly launched business website. He has linked them all and created a foundation for an online brand that will broaden out the scope of the traditional historian/antique military buff to the fashion world where as it turns out, many folks really like to wear the military garb!

And there you have it.

The 2011 Social Media Ninjas from Champlain College’s Senior Marketing Capstone class.

I hope you’ll follow the Ninjas and the Specialists and of course consider hiring them — if they can do all of this for themselves…imagine what they can do for you!

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  • Elaine – I found my way here via @likeablemedia @davekerpen ‘s challenge to create thought leaders out of his staff http://bit.ly/fXCHbK and I am loving the rubric you created for tracking social media success http://bit.ly/jIcWEb/ Congrats to all the achievers in your class. Great lessons to share.

    • So glad you found it useful. Working with these tools is much more complex than it looks — providing a rubric that offers guidance seems to help make a difference .. and of course practice…practice…practice!