The Social Media Future for Educators

Applications of Social Media are a fast-growing dynamic in the fabric of education.  According to a 2011 CASE survey, “nearly all institutions using social media are using Facebook, while 75 percent are using Twitter, 65 percent are using LinkedIn and 65 percent are using YouTube”, with the top goals for using social media being “to engage alumni, create and sustain brand image, engage current students and increase awareness.”

Social networks most popular for professional use among college teachers are You Tube (40%), Facebook (30%), Blogs (24%), Linkedin (17%), and Twitter (7%), from a 2012 survey reported by Schools.com.  The survey also revealed that 80% of educators have a social media account, while 2% have 4 or more social media connections.  In addition, 70% of faculty consider videos, blogs, podcasts and wikis to be valuable tools for teaching.

Even though the percentage of college teacher Twitter usage seems small at 7%, we predict enormous growth of institutional Twitter application ahead, since general Twitter use has more than doubled between November 2010 and February 2012.  Right now, 8% of internet users in the U.S. are active on Twitter daily, and more than 15% are Twitter users.

If you are interested in a deeper breakdown of Twitter usage by gender, ethnicity and geo factors, have a look at the excellent graphs and info provided by briansolis.com . Solis calls Twitter a “human seismograph”. We’ve been noticing for years that Twitter is an information network that often trumps the breaking news with grassroots speed and accuracy regarding local and global events.

Many colleges have set up a Twitter feed to post daily announcements. Henry Ford Community College does a good job, and seamlessly links to Facebook to present further information to promote courses.  Note also that they have their social media icons prominently displayed at the very top of their school website’s home page to enable immediate linking to social media sites.

And Twitter offers more. It’s especially suited for public relations and helps open doors to the media as a vehicle for pitching news stories and establishing relationships over time. Sarah Evans, director of public relations at Elgin Community College, maintains a Twitter account for the school and is also well-known for her personal blogging about industry related topics, like how to find a job on Twitter. You can follow her on Twitter: @prsarahevans

One way for colleges to get more Twitter mileage is with re-tweets, or passing along other people’s Tweeted news about you . Here’s an example of a good one: https://twitter.com/piedmontvacc which links to the news story at: http://ht.ly/cADL

Do you know of other good resources for Educators on this topic? Please share it below in the comments area.

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