Are You Friends With Your College?

If you’re like me (and about a gazillion other people) you have at least some sort of presence on the internet and social media. Be it a Facebook page, Twitter account, Linkedin profile, or what have you; everyone is online in some shape or form and if you’re not, you’re totally missing out.

I’m preaching to the choir I suppose, seeing as chances are you’re reading this internet blog on a computer screen, but the message is still important. The ability to discover information about things that interest you and to meaningfully connect to what you care about has become so easy. I would venture to make the assertion that it is easier than ever before. Learning is going on at an unprecedented rate and scale and it’s only going to grow from here. there are a lot of smart people doing a lot of smart things online.

Did I mention that like every college student everywhere is on social media? According to Erin Chapman, a news staff writer with Collegiatetimes.com, “Between 85 percent and 99 percent of college students use Facebook.” And that was waaaay back in 2011.

This is why it’s so important for colleges and universities to develop comprehensive social media strategies, and why I chose to develop a Personal Learning Network to teach me how to develop a comprehensive social media strategy for an institution of higher learning, specifically community colleges. This blog will serve both as a justification of why community colleges should be on social media, and also as my initial step towards my PLN goal, a place that myself and others can refer back to as a kind of starting point in the search for insight about the successful social media strategies of colleges and universities.

One of the first things I noticed was this video:

While it offers no solutions, it does provide solid statements that evidence the need for community colleges specifically to be on social media because of the differing composition of students. Many more community college students commute which makes it harder to meaningfully connect to college life. Social media may be able to help with this.

Another place where I discovered some possibly useful information was in USATODAY.com’s college section. While not focusing on community colleges, this site summarizes how some of the most successful colleges across America utilize social media in new and interesting ways and can certainly offer some insight into possible techniques, tips, and strategies that could be implemented in the community college setting.

Lastly, there is this article from USnews.com that says that during a recent survey of over 7000 high school students “68 percent of respondents noted that they used social media to research schools” and that “66 percent of prospective college students said that schools should have a social media presence.”

Honestly I’m surprised it isn’t more, but we all know how apathetic high school kids can be.

While this is by no means anything more than a very basic starting point, hopefully this blog can help people who want to know a bit more about social media for higher education, and why it is important for all colleges to understand the importance of utilizing social media. I know it has piqued my interest.

Hopefully next week I’ll have my copy of “Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals”  and I’ll be able to begin referencing it in my blogs as I have been told it is an amazing resource for all things social media and PR. Still, I hope you all enjoy seeing the beginnings of my path on the quest for this knowledge.

Till next time.