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Using Social Media

The National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) recently surveyed faculty members of the Convergence College Network (CCN) community. Sixty-six educators participated. Among the questions was one asking about social media engagement. While the survey was designed to gauge the effectiveness of the CTC’s social media and digital outreach, the results might also point to overall social media and digital media use among the typical busy faculty member.

While the CTC has had success with its monthly newsletter delivered to faculty in-boxes, it remains a challenge to cut through the digital noise and reach audiences on social media. The weekly blog is more effective than YouTube, which is more effective than Facebook (but only by a little), which is more effective than Twitter. (The CTC recently re-launched its LinkedIn page, so we’re still working out how best to leverage that platform. If you’d like to join our LinkedIn page, click here.)

When social media comes up, faculty members often wonder how they can use it in the classroom or for their overall department or program. Chloe West at Sprout Social, a social media marketing company, published a list of ways for educators to leverage social media. Some colleges have strict rules regarding who can post what and when, but if your school allows more leeway some of these ideas may be worth considering. These can work both in the classroom engaging students as well as fostering connections with students outside of the classroom, either recruiting new students or retaining and completing existing students.

The suggestions include:

* Using social media to broadcast updates and alerts
* Streaming live content like lectures and discussions
* Creating an online class message board
* Encouraging photo essays
* Launching a class blog
* Requiring writing assignments on social media
* Starting a class-specific “board”
* Including social media links on school websites and materials
* Sharing school events and photos
* Hosting interest-based online groups
* Developing a media crisis strategy for social media
* Managing all accounts under one roof

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