Social Media Beyond Marketing and Communication in Higher Education

Social media in higher education can and should be used beyond marketing and communication purposes. Higher ed institutions are using social media in various ways.  Scholars such as Dr. Rey Junco has done research on the relationship of twitter and facebook and student engagement in the classroom. Purdue University is a leader in using social media and mobile to enhance student learning and connection in and outside the classroom.   In the course of doing personal research on various aspects of social media and technology use for student learning and development, the more questions come to mind.  As someone who is involved in promoting social media at my university, I often wonder what my other colleagues beyond my organization of student affairs are doing with social media. What topics are being discussed, what are the opportunities and issues? Who at my university are experimenting with social media in ways never done before?  How do we learn and integrate what others outside our university have done? These questions led me to the question of what if we have a group/a forum to at our university to discuss and explore the impact and significance of social media?

The idea of a university wide forum to discuss social media is nothing new. A social media council at Boston College was recently created “to promote collaboration, share best practices and set a strategic direction for strengthening the University’s overall social media presence”.  Beyond efforts towards marketing and communication, I think institutions should also look at the impact and opportunities of social media and technology in how we function as learning institutions. Here are some topics to discuss:


  • How do we use social media as part of our business?
  • How do we use social media for student engagement for improved retention?
  • How are  web 2.0 and social media shaping pedagogy and learning theories including connectivism?
  •  How can we utilize social media for alternative professional development?
  • How do we handle issues including copyrights, plagiarism, ethics?
  • Digital Identity – what does it mean?
  • How do we use social media for lifetime engagement and advancement?
  • How does social media and technology fit into student development theories and how do we apply them in practice?

I would like to form a group for my university to have these conversations. If you have ideas or have experience you can add to help me start and make this a productive group, I would love to hear them. What other topics would you discuss?


3 thoughts on “Social Media Beyond Marketing and Communication in Higher Education

  1. Sheri Lehman

    Hi Joe, I enjoyed your article! As a social media specialist at my university as well, I often ask myself the same questions. Not only is social media growing as a marketing and customer service tool, but education is evolving as well.

    I organize and facilitate an annual fall “Social Media Administrator” meeting with all staff that manage a social media page on behalf of Chapman University. I take into consideration all the student and staff activities, so this meeting is only once per year to discuss new features on the social networks, introduce a new emerging social network, explain best practices, and bridge gaps between departments.

    Aside from the meeting, I design a monthly social media newsletter to help staff who inherited social media as part of their job description and need some education.

    Lastly, social media INSIDE the classroom is especially interesting to me. Two professors here integrate social media in their curriculum to enhance student learning and prof development. SM engages students in new intellectual ways of thinking and helps them develop professional skills (because let’s face it, every job in America may have a social media component next year.)

    I enjoy connecting with you on #satech and #sachat conversations and look forward to more talks about these topics!


  2. Pingback: 10 Social Media Best Practices in Higher Education | #SMBP « Josie Ahlquist

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *