Is There Room For Social Media Use in Higher Education?

In February, I ran across this article written by Rachel Reuben titled “The Use of Social Media in Higher Education for Marketing and Communications: A Guide for Professionals in Higher Education” and was immediately intrigued by the content of the article. Unfortunately the most recent citation it has is from 2008 and the article primarily focuses on utilizing Myspace and older social sites in higher education, but the concepts are still relevant to the social media sites we use today. Throughout my research I have crossed paths with the first visual included in the article that depicts the variety of social media networks available in the 21st century and categorizes them in terms of their primary use. Most of the sites included on the graph are sites I have never heard of (seriously, what is hi5 and was it really used as a social media site?) but the article does speak of a social networking site I believe we all are very familiar with: Facebook.

Though I have strayed away from discussing most social networking sites besides Twitter on my blog since beginning my mission, there are numerous sites that can be utilized for personal and professional use for students, educators, and other professionals. In my personal social media dictionary, Facebook as been defined as “a social networking site utilized primarily for personal conversations with friends and family.” It is considered more personal than Twitter and is usually not used for professional use; however, it has benefits that Twitter does not have, such as free reign of characters in a single post and the ability to create events–which would be extremely beneficial for those trying to connect professionals to each other and in a safe environment to meet, collaborate, and network.

Moreover, this article discusses how social media can be used in higher education and provides statistics about college students utilizing a variety of sites. If these statistics were then used to help universities understand how beneficial social media could be for their classes, once again, students would be provided the opportunity to network with professionals and propel their career forward. In college, students are encouraged to intern at different places and explore career opportunities. What better way to get connected with these professionals/businesses than social media?

College is meant to be a vessel from high school (childhood) to the real world and your professional career (adulthood). Thus, students are encouraged to intern at businesses similar to their future careers and make connections with professionals that will help them climb the business ladder. If high school students and younger people are utilizing social media for a professional use, then those students enrolled at a collegiate level should as well.

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2 thoughts on “Is There Room For Social Media Use in Higher Education?

  1. Hi. I was interested to come across your article, as a friend and I were discussing this recently.
    My friend was an investigative journalist (she now teaches media leveraging for business) and I work in communication (social and digital media etc).
    We are both amazed that there isn’t more dedicated teaching to university students to equip them to leverage media and social media in business.
    The subjects are taught in a subjective way that leaves people floundering when it comes to application in their new jobs.
    Real world application has always been the lag area in higher education.
    Good article 🙂

    • Yes I agree completely! Though my social media education mission thus far has been more tailored towards high school students and younger, this is primarily due to my age and the relevance to the information for me and my peers at the moment. Thus, once I enter the college world in the fall I hope to research and learn more about how social media could be integrated at the collegiate level of education, as it seems like common sense to have it as a primary tool for collaboration and preparing for the professional world! Thank you for the kind words!

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