What’s Working With Social Media In Higher Education?

One month from today, innovators, nerds and social media gurus ninjas people will engage in a core conversation about “Effective Social Media Presence in Higher Education.” The only problem is YOU might not be there. This lightly lubricated conversation (yes, we’re trying to procure beer) will happen at South By Southwest. Deborah Maue and I will lead the conversation, with a special guest appearance from the infamous Ed Cabellon.

A core conversation is not a presentation. It’s a discussion of ideas. They won’t even allow us to have a slide deck (lucky audience!). What this means, however, is none of us will be a “sage on the stage.” The gems of this conversation will come from the audience, and I’m inviting you to be a part of it.

Through the comments on this post, or using the hashtag #highedsoc, you can help set the stage for this conversation. We’ve got a few questions that are meant to guide the conversation, but you might have better ones. What are we missing? What should we talk about? Not only will we bring up the great ideas you come up with during the conversation at SXSW, we’ll also record the conversation so you can see/hear what transpired because of your fantastic input. Ultimately, I hope to post the best parts as part of my resource guide for higher education marketers and communicators (with proper attribution, of course).

So please, jump in. Here are some prompts to get you started:

  1. What are the unique challenges of creating an integrated social media presence in a higher ed institution?
  2. How do you get senior leadership as well as members of your department on board?
  3. How do you get colleges, divisions and departments working together?
  4. What are the best social media tactics to reach prospective students?
  5. What are the innovative things universities are doing with social media?

Remember, comment on this post or tweet with #highedsoc to contribute to the conversation.

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8 Comments on “What’s Working With Social Media In Higher Education?

  1. Great topic and questions! I’m looking forward to hearing the discussion and maybe some answers, especially to Q3.

  2. I think it is important to talk about the different audiences. How do you create a campaign/interaction with students – vs one for faculty – vs professionals…etc Who do you need to help sustain those conversations? how do you ‘guide’ or ‘moderate’ them? (if a student posts something inflammatory on a FB wall for a ‘class of 2015’ page…etc)

  3. I have found it is important to spend individual time with leadership at all levels to help them understand social media and all of the benefits, both personally and professionally, from using social media. From those of us that attended WLI11 from Purdue University, each of us has spent time with leaders from Hall Directors to the Director of Residential Life and in between to help others connect via social media. It has been important to make social media less “scary” and more welcoming as well as helping others get to a point where they are confident in their use of social media. I have seen confidence in using social media (especially Twitter) from a personal standpoint transcend into use at a departmental level.

  4. I’m interesting in people’s thoughts on having faculty present on social media. Should professors and instructors have a Facebook account where they engage with students outside of the classroom? Should faculty have more of a thought-leadership role on social media? Or is it better to leave the teaching relationship off of social media altogether?

  5. Great way to kick off your SXSW presentation Liz! I have two high-level questions from slightly different angles.

    1. How can you measure/tie social media activity to enrollment outcomes?
    2. How can we teach students the necessary digital literacy skills to solve the problems facing us in the 21st century? If colleges don’t train students, who will?

  6. So very much looking forward to this; already some great ideas here too. My suggestions for topics might include: (apologies, these are pretty thick with rhetoric)

    At what point in a social media conversation might a student’s comment become part of a “Student Record” and if so what FERPA implications might that imply; likewise what mechanisms are there to appropriately archive and direct these conversations to appropriate internal parties?

    Is there (should there be) any difference between internal uses of social media tools for service delivery (ie student affairs, career centers, service orgs) and external uses of social media tools for marketing (ie admissions, recruiting, advancement) either in form or best practice?

    In my opinion, social media tools can easily become simply another way to bypass potentially clotted arteries of internally managed enterprise-level technologies and risk being adopted quickly, used poorly, and probably abandoned after suffering from too little in the way of resources given to ensure adequate success. **How must internal relationships in most higher education institutions change in order to accomodate this shift of rules that demand cloud based data, open APIs, public conversations, and “free” (as in “free beer”) and “free” (as in unedited or “freedom”) content?**

    • re: FERPA

      Do you really think anything would happen on social media that wouldn’t otherwise happen via email? Unless I’m wrong, email conversations are not part of a “student record.” Yes, student identities are redacted in the case of public information requests, etc, but if they’re choosing to have the discussion in a public forum, I don’t see the problem. Of course, I don’t think we should ever require a student to have any type of conversation via social media. There should always be an option to email, call, visit, etc.

      Love your second question. I really hope we get into that topic at SXSW.

  7. Pingback: My Goals for SXSWedu and SXSWi | On The Go With Ed Cabellon

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