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More than one-quarter of teenage cell phone users have gone online with their devices, and online usage is greatest among students in households with less than $30,000 annual income, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, released in 2010. While that’s based on 2009 data, a May 2011 Pew survey of American adults revealed that more than one-third own a smartphone, so it’s likely teen use has increased also. Are prospective students using their mobile phones for the college search?

American colleges and universities are breeding grounds for innovative ideas and open information sharing. Pair that with a large number of systems on a given network and a vulnerable student population with fresh credit and you've got an appealing target for identity thieves.

Without a doubt, social media has become one of the, if not the most, effective and efficient way for colleges and universities to communicate. Connected institutions can conduct “digital conversations” while sharing and collecting thoughts, ideas, information, opinions, images and video.

Have you heard about Periscope yet? If you follow tech early adopters, journalists, celebrities or even politicians on Twitter, you might have already seen Periscope notifications for live broadcasts in your feed.

Acquired for $100 million by Twitter in March 2015, the live-streaming mobile app could be either the next big thing or the latest social media fad (remember SecondLife?). But when you work in digital communications and marketing for a university, you can’t afford to ignore change.

When it comes to fundraising, most colleges and universities surveyed (59 percent) boost their effort through social media.

Also popular are social media-based days of giving and crowdfunding events. Of the 42 percent that held a day of giving, more than one-third raised over $50,000 that day. And of the 15 percent that crowdfunded, half earned more than $10,000 per year.

In March, Twitter unveiled its newest acquisition, a live video streaming app called Periscope. Following closely on the heels of a rival app called Meerkat, Periscope made waves by enabling anyone with a mobile device (iOS or Android) to broadcast from virtually anywhere. The apps allow viewers to interact with broadcasters through a chat feature.

Karine Joly is the web editor behind, a blog about higher ed web marketing, public relations and technologies.

Most institutions think they measure the impact and the performance of social media, but only a few have shown they are ready to invest the necessary time and resources to measure what really matters. How your school defines social media measurement ultimately determines how strategically it uses social media.

Westfield State University’s Upvote campaign encourages positive Yik Yak messages.

Nearly half of the approximately 500 respondents (48 percent) to a UB reader survey said bullying and insults posted on Yik Yak make the social network and its app a “serious threat.” Nearly the same number of respondents said the network is “benign” and called it a fad that would fade over the next year.

Karine Joly says SnapChat may be a useful recruiting tool for colleges and universities.

You’ve tamed Twitter, made inroads with Instagram and finessed Facebook.

Now you can take a break from keeping up with the social networking habits of college students, right?

Think again.

While a few colleges are still trying to grasp the intricacies of the top social platforms, early adopters have been exploring other platforms for communications and marketing.

Among the many hopefuls, SnapChat has started to get real traction on college campuses.

Marc C. Whitt is a 32-year veteran of higher education public relations and marketing.

For the first few months of a New Year, many of us are eager to get physically fit. And those of us who work in PR and marketing must stay professionally fit by remaining relevant to meet and even surpass those needs our institutions will always have. We must stay ahead of the curve as we present ourselves as strategic communicator whose expertise and counsel can be trusted.