Monday, October 8, 2012

Stop looking through windows: social media in higher education

In discussing the roles of a new communications director for a College of Agriculture, a colleague said "We still have a need to do some of the traditional things like press releases, but we need to get into social media for marketing and branding."

My response was "That is all good, except social media is much more than that. A communications director for an educational institution should understand that social media should be used for education." Why is it that we always look for the marketing aspects? Every organization should consider the educational component and the ability to connect with others as integral parts of purpose and strategy of using social media.

Education institutions, in particular, need to look at social media as ways to further our educational mission. The big four--Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube--can be used but so can many other tools, like blogging, curation, and collaboration tools. Part of understanding how social media can be integrating into education is learning to how let go.

Improving the speed and quality of research via shared algorithm implementationsSharing educational resources and discussing in the open can enhance both education and research efforts. Students and serious amateurs* contributing to content, ideas, and research can confirm that we are on the right track and that more diverse ideas can spread faster, speeding innovation and research.

Communications units at educational institutions should be helping faculty learn how to effectively use open online tools and support them as they become involved in online social environments.

If social media and online tools are effectively used connecting with others, expanding education, enhancing our own learning and research, then the marketing and branding will be embedded within those efforts, making the formal marketing and branding campaigns easier.

Looking at social media as marketing tools only is like believing that looking through windows helps you understand what is in the trees.

Partial lyrics from Breakdown by Jack Jackson:

But you can’t stop nothing if you got no control 

Of the thoughts in your mind that you kept and you know 

That you don’t know nothing but you don’t need to know 

The wisdom’s in the trees not the glass windows 

You can’t stop wishing if you don’t let go 



Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5752191166/
by http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/

*Jerry Buchko uses this term to describe the value of inclusion of others in education, research, and outreach.


25 comments:

Kelly M. Rivard said...

HEAR, HEAR!

Great post, and I agree whole-heartedly. Thank you!

Anne Adrian said...

Thanks Kelly...Great for checking in here.

Mitch Owen said...

I find it interesting how each discipline seeks to define social media tools within their own perspective. LinkedIn is a great example in that it is dominated by HR folk who at times see it more as a jobs tool or recruitment system, when it is really so much more. Your example of the Communication perspective of marketing and branding is common as well. Nice article. It challenges us all to be multi-disciplinary in our approach.

Anne Adrian said...

Mitch, I think the various places to connect vary according to the communities and should be used appropriately. In the beginning (a few years ago), LinkedIn was a referral service, now it has become much more. I usually suggest for those who are reluctant to be "in the open" to start with LinkedIn. It has a perception to be "more safe" place to interact--maybe the reason HR people like it better???.

Deeper investigations and interactions happen in LinkedIn and Google Plus. I still favor Google Plus, but I think that is because of the content and concepts I want to learn about are talked about more in Google Plus, Thus, indicating what you are seeing: some professionals gravitate to certain places. That being said the other open more popular places should not be overlooked.

In this post I could have said the big five and included LinkedIn--thanks for pointing that out to me.

Sharon Cowen said...

Anne, thanks for sharing this post. I have struggled with the education versus marketing question relative to social media. Thanks for putting it so clearly.

erik fischer said...

Interesting. I wonder if a typical social media marketing agency new york would also see how things are going down educationally with this medium.

Katnesse Morgan said...
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Katnesse Morgan said...
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Katnesse Morgan said...

Clear points you have here. But I know the long island advertising agency does not only see social media as a marketing tool, they also make it a point that they share educational sources using this medium for marketing.

Anna Lebrun said...
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Anna Lebrun said...

I agree with you Sharon, I do also have trouble understanding education and marketing relative to social media. Good thing I’ve read this post, I assume the guys from ecommerce order fulfillment online already have an idea about it, since they always use social media as part of their marketing strategy.

Martha Franklin said...

I think Social media is one of the most important factor in doing the process of emarketing, at this point and time you will really appreciate what technology has been giving to us, that's why I think business owners are also turning on to online marketing these days, in which I think was quite innovative.

Geoff Granfeld Jr said...

Social media plays a large role in online marketing. It attracts viewers and generates great traffic if done correctly. A creative agency in New York does social optimization like no other. There is nothing that I can think of that can match their strategies.

Theodore Ranieri said...

Aside from the sharing tool of social media, it has now become used in illegal file downloading. Many educational PDFs can be downloaded from the internet, the majority of course is from lecturers online. If we try to look on the positive side, downloadable files also help increase internet traffic for blog owners. Hitting two birds with one stone.

James Glantz said...

The basic thing that people visit or surf the web is because of information. It is through this information that students, businessmen and clients find out about the products of companies, how they work and where to buy them. It is not just the selling part but the provision of valid information that makes a company credible, and from which branding happens. It is what advertising people from Long Island to Masachussettes know.

Freya Bruce said...

But you know, I heard there are several businesses in new york especially those who are working to any advertising agencies who uses the platform of social media for promoting something. And mind you, the usage of this technique has been very effective not only in the said place but almost in any part of the globe.

Martin Koons said...

Social media is just the tip of the iceberg. When you want branding, the social media surely helps. But when one wants to increase the awareness of people on agricultural products, it does not help advertising the products alone. There should be some sort of organic SEO or related information from where users can interact. From this information, knowledge and awareness is built, searches on the product is increased, then branding starts to happen.

Phillip Lopez said...

I know we all agree how social media has become a one big lecture of topic from school, and how it helped us answer exam questions. Whoever started social network and how they planned to plant this virus in our head, they did a very great job in disseminating the good news.

Florine Archer said...

A good alternative to different sectors especially if, they wanted to reach out to younger audiences and inform them about the topic. Knowing that youths or students scope the largest percentage of users in Social media.

Carrie Marks said...

While social media marketing may appear to be concentrated on branding, it is important for educators to take note that developments would not happen in terms of providing information through the social networking sites if the users are not intelligent themselves. What an educator must understand is that, the users nowadays are more intelligent than they were before - and this is most probably the result of their immersion in social media more than their teachers do.

Nicholas Ortega said...

Social media nowadays is a good way to do digital marketing. A lot of business has been successful because of this.

Muhammad Amir said...

That is all good, except Get Free Vimeo Views social media is much more than that

Patrick Paul said...

Social media nowadays has become more powerful and became a part of companies marketing strategies.

Levi Bartley said...

Social media can be a problem among students, but If they know how to utilize it, it can be a successful tool in digital marketing.

Warner Carter said...

Employers need to be mindful that a “general prohibition of the use of colorful language, distasteful critiques and unseemly remarks in social media (otherwise known as ‘courtesy clauses’) may be construed to restrict employees’ rights to publicly criticize their employer.” social media consultant