On April 12, 2013, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) released results of their latest survey detailing social media use by colleges and universities. More than 1,000 institutions participated in the survey that solicited responses on several topics including, how professionals incorporate social media in their communication strategies, goals for social media, and current best practices.
The survey provides several interesting responses for consideration. I encourage you to read the results if you have the time. I found the following intriguing.
- 84 percent of respondents indicated that there are 0-1 full-time individuals at their institution 100 percent dedicated to social media efforts as it relates to their position responsibilities.
- Only 31 percent of respondents indicated that there were training resources provided for staff to focus on engagement strategies through social media and only 34 percent indicated there were training resources on content development.
- The largest identified barrier to the successful use of social media was staffing for day-to-day content management.
Certainly, there are several ways to interrupt data. Yet, it appears there is still reluctance on the part of many to invest in social media as tools to achieve institutional goals. This is despite 2010 results that found over 97 percent of college students were on Facebook and a 93 percent growth in students using Twitter from the last year.
Also, somewhat surprisingly, 76 percent of respondents affirmed that “Social media have great potential for achieving important goals in my unit.”
Certainly, the impact of Facebook and Twitter on college students is apparent. Furthermore, we are able to identify that social media has great potential in achieving institutional goals. Yet, there still appears to be reluctance on the part of administrators to commit staff to social media efforts, implement social media strategies, and provide essential training to staff members.
Is there a stigma associated with social media use at the institutional level? Are there a lack of best practices to utilize when developing strategies? Are the necessary resources allocated to other priorities? Do we believe that social media is a fad that will leave as quickly as it arrived?
Perhaps all. Perhaps none.
We have been too slow adopting social media as strategies for success. I find this concerning, not because we are neglecting social media, but it illustrates our lack of ability to be robust. Often, we discuss concern with the growing privatization of higher education. Often, I hear we must prove our worth, defend our expertise, and convince stakeholders that our specialization is value-added. Social media came quickly and we failed to keep pace. I’m not concerned about social media – we’ll catch up. But, with the rising pressures on higher education, I am concerned about our ability to react when the next things comes. As departments and institutions, we have to find ways to be more adaptable to the trends that impact our field and our students. Businesses are far better at doing so and there is too much money in higher education for them not to recognize the potential.
I’m curious what you found interesting in the report. Utilize those comments below!