An infographic provided by OnlineUniversities, titled 'The Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education' explores how academic institutions in the U.S. are reacting to the global expansion of social networks, and how the variety of services available can both benefit them or become a disadvantage.
Based on information provided by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the results concerning what types of social media schools currently use is not surprising. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have enjoyed a recent boost in popularity based on social media use from 2008 - 2011, whereas message boards and blogging facility implementation have maintained about the same level over the last few years.
Based on their numbers of Facebook 'likes', Twitter followers, Hubspot and YouTube media views, according to Student Advisor, these universities are the 'top' users of social media:
- John Hopkins University: 16,976 Facebook likes, 4,324 Twitter followers, 89,501 YouTube hits
- Harvard Univeristy: 1,281,596 Facebook likes, 95,352 Twitter followers, 89,501 YouTube hits
- University of Notre Dame: 52,569 Facebook likes, 5,014 Twitter followers, 1,292,259 YouTube hits
- Ohio State Univeristy: 407,848 Facebook likes, 25,111 Twitter followers, 153,575 YouTube hits
- Columbia University, NY: 33,321 Facebook likes, 2,426 Twitter followers, 184, 071 YouTube hits
After pursing these examples and several other universities, it seems that the most popular universities on social media are using it in order to advertise and pass on specific information, and maintain a high level of communication with their students.
The most popular vary their posts -- offering links to research, projects, events and visual content such as images or video. The universities that don't 'make their mark' seem to focus on relating purely academic events or courses -- becoming an information resource rather than an interactive platform.
If there is a lack of engagement, then no matter how well-constructed or valuable a website is, it won't maintain any interest.
Rather than merely supporting an online presence or purchasing domain names to keep the academic brand away from misuse, schools should treat social networks as a valuable tool to be exploited in order to relay information and allow collaboration with students.
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