For the hundreds and thousands of students out there, they will already know how social media is being used, maybe not by the Universities themselves, but by the people at them. Facebook pages are swamping cyberspace with many of the “Tell him/Tell her” University pages, Freshers pages and ‘Spotted’ style sites, but it is more important to focus on how the actual Universities are using this ever-growing media platform to connect with their thousands of undergraduates, mature students and masters students alike.
It appears that a lot of Universities have invested themselves in Facebook more than anything, with many Uni websites devoting a whole page of content to their various Facebook counterparts. Facebook content devoted to departments, courses and societies is the most effective way Universities are using the social media platform to reach a generation of ‘Facebookers’. Some Universities will post on specific course pages about graduate jobs available, and if you study something similar to Journalism, you may find sticking around your course page after you Graduate is a great way to keep in touch with peers who may one day help you land yourself a job or your career catapulting scoop!
However, it’s not just Facebook that is being taken advantage of. Many Universities have their own Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and even Instagram accounts, where appropriate; there’s almost too many ways to stay connected. However, it’s not just about the current students, it’s about the potential students as well. By Universities keeping track and staying connected in as many ways as possible, prospective students are more likely to be enticed into applying to a Uni that has pages of informative and sometimes even comical content.
Universities are primarily using their social media outlets to boast of their successful alumni, publicise University events, changes or just generally trying to help the many students that can’t possibly be reached any more intimately. The many social media channels reassure Universities that they are communicating with and reaching the masses, as lets face it, how many people of the younger generation will stop to read a printed letter or even an email? Social media is ‘where it’s at’, and I’m sure it’s where it will continue to be for a long time.
But remember, the Unions and students themselves are producing some of the more interesting and humorous content out there. YouTube videos reach views in there thousands, all because someone produced a spin-off of the Harlem Shake being done just outside the Uni library. Organised flashmobs bring students together, and we have surely all recognised how social media can be used to organise protests in there millions.
Try a Google search of ‘social media university’ just to see the extent of content available online. There’s more power to connect now than ever before, but it is how you use that power that will reflect any real benefits it may possess.