Social Media Prospects for Education

Posted on November 17th 2012

Social Media Prospects for Education

During the past three years, I saw social media usage spread across organisations of all types and sizes. From corporate giants and start-ups to police forces and local councils, each sector found its own uses for social media in areas such as marketing, customer service, intelligence gathering or product development. As the social media immersion is led by the younger members of society, there is no surprise that education institutions were among the first to jump in. Craig Russel from The University of Leicester recently published on his blog a comprehensive dataset of UK university social media accounts. His first conclusions on the data are as follows:

“Most universities only operate in two, three or four social media communities. I expect that the reasons for this are mainly down to the popularity of a service and the availability of resources in the university to manage an on-line social presence. Also the combination of services being used is interesting. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and to a lesser extent Flickr, seem to be a complimentary set of services to use.

Of course this analysis can say little about how these services are being used in institutions. Simply having an account doesn’t presume that they are being used well. Are they regularly attended to? Is there a strategy guiding their use? Are they used just to push information out or as a two-way communication channels? There are a lot more questions to be asked about how universities in the UK are using social media and embedding it (or not) in to their strategy.”

Based on discussions with decision makers and researchers in the education sector, I would add my own observations to the ones above: there is currently a knowledge gap about social media across the majority of organisations, and education institutions make no exception. All UK education institutions are on social media, but not all of them have acquired the knowledge to assess the potential impact of social media. Please share your opinion and feed-back with us.


Rosemary Hall

Rosemary Hall works for CrowdControlHQ  a web based social media risk management and monitoring platform that enables organisations to operate safely whilst giving marketing and operational teams a suite of time-saving features, alerts and insight. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can have a positive impact on your social media activity.

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Interesting conversation starter. I also started one in June on the Huffington Post

I would love to see what people think about the power of Social Media in Higher Education. I am kind of a one-man show at Southwestern College, Santa Fe, keeping us active on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In (less so), Pinterest, You Tube and so on. It is fun, it is extremely gratifying, and it is hard to get Digital Immigrants on board with pulling their weight, So it goes. Hire a bunch of Digitally Hip Grad Assistants--that is what we did. They do ten hours a week on Social Media and they are ENTHUSIASTIC, and not fear-based about it. Hallelujah!  Happy to have any conversations with folks interested in this topic...thanks for starting it up....

Jim Nolan, President, Southwestern College, Santa Fe....

Thanks for your comment Jim.  

Great idea getting 'Hip Grad Assistants' to help you out - they certainly have the skills and knowledge of the target audience (they were them not so long ago!).  I know a few people who are employed soley for this role in the UK and seems more universities are going this way. 

We have a free whitepaper report on this if you would like to download a copy:

Many thanks



Thank you so much, Rosemary. Interesting stuff.

There is a fine line among caution, being judicious, and being fear-based. Sometimes they all look the same. Higher Education has a lot of all of those, I think, and those most in fear are those who most want to convince you it is the other two things......So it goes...

Jim Nolan