In this connected age, many wonder just what is the role of social media in education. Of course, the role of social media in education has different meanings depending on which side of the house you sit on. There are many used for social media in education and these can range from attracting new students to your college programs, building a relationship with your students through social media and even using social media prescience of an applicant as a measure of how well they may fit in at your particular institution. Depending on your demographic you may be asking what is the role of social media in education. Institutions of Higher Learning have one need while the K-12 market may be thinking the role is different for them. This is true while there may be some overlap, we are going to focus on the role of social media in higher education. There are many advantages of social media in education if you develop the proper strategy and execute your social media strategy effectively.
Role of Social Media in Education
If you ask the marketing department what is the role of social media for your educational institution, the most likely answer will be that it needs to be used for attracting new students. This is a very useful purpose that many colleges are using. According to the Noel-Levitz e-expectations survey for 2015, many students use social media as a way to decide whether or not to apply to a particular college. Of course, it is not near the number of college-bound students who use the college website as their main decision-making tool, but the social media channels of a college are becoming an increasing way that potential students are checking out what social events are available at the potential college. The two main channels that potential students use are Facebook and YouTube. You may see reports that Facebook is losing favor among the younger population, but it has not lost all its appeal and not to mention, even if the students do not see your Facebook posts, there is a chance the parents will. Many of the students in the Noel-Levitz survey cite their parent’s approval as one of the many reasons for selecting a particular college.
Then if you talk to someone in Academics, they may say the role of social media in education is to increase student engagement and have them connect with the institution. There have been numerous studies that have concluded that the more you connect with your student population the better your retention rate. Social Media can be a great way to engage your student population and ensure they are made aware of student-centered activities on campus. This helps students make a connection with the school and as a result raises the likely hood they will persist to graduation.
The truth is both these are valid points describing the role of social media in education. It is just part of a well thought out social media strategy and is something, not any one department can do in a silo. Creating a well thought out social media plan should involve all major areas of the college and should really be a result of a committee of representatives from across these areas. Only by having the correct group of people around the table can you create a social media plan that works for your institution and brings about the desired results.
There are many other reasons that college should embrace the role of social media in education. The main reason is because social media is here to stay. Whether you are using it in your educational institution or not, does not mean it’s not going to still be a part of the students lives. This is evidenced by the many studies that show social media use is growing not only as an entertainment platform, but many people now use social media to stay informed on current news.
Another area where the role of social media in education is becoming apparent is in the area of recruitment and admissions. There is quite a few college who now search student’s social media prescience as a method to get a better view of the student. There is some debate about the ethical repercussions of using social media posts as a deciding factor, but some are still doing it. We will leave that debate for another time.
Social media also has the ability to transform education much how the flipped classroom model is making changes. The students are there and college can use their own private social media networks to better engage the students. Google Apps for Education as well as Microsoft Office 365 have elements of a social media platform built into the products they offer in their education plans. Office 365 even offers a full-fledged social network, named Yammer, that any educational institution can implement. Google will likely follow suit are some point and make a version of google plus available in the GAFE platform. Other educational products and learning management systems are also incorporating elements of social media in their products.
The bottom line is there is definitely a role for social media in education. There are still some questions and obstacles to overcome with exactly how a college can implement and use this technology, but it some an area that needs further investigation. The use of social media is growing and has almost become a utility in many cultures. Colleges tend to be behind the curve in the adoption of using social media in their educational strategy and have not put a lot of time how to overcome the obstacles. Regardless of whether the colleges are looking for viable solutions to the obstacles or not, the world is still moving in that direction. Colleges just need to decide if they are going to put in the work or if they are going to be left behind.
Role of Social Media
There are many other areas where social media plays a role. From marketing, to business interactions, to the overall effect social media has on society. Social media has definitely changed the landscape of how information is delivered and who has access to that information. The internet is the vehicle that has lead to this growth, but social media platforms has played a larger role is its a push technology. You don’t really need to know or be looking for any certain topic to be exposed to the information as a result of interaction with social media platforms.
Role of Social Media in Society
Many people wonder what is the role of social media in society. Social media has led to a more connected world and more people get their news now from social media outlets than they do form any other one source. According to a study by pew research in 2016, 62% of people reported seeing an initial news story on social media outlets. As we all know there are a lot of less than reputable news sites on the internet and many publish blatant lies. This means that social media has led to an increase of false information and conspiracy theories masking themselves as news stories. Facebook and other social media channels have attempted to curve this activity, but as long as there are share buttons on social media, this sort of thing will continue to have a negative effect on the role social media plays in society. This is one of the down sides of social media, but having people able to connect to others and share information is of utmost importance to society as a whole. People in third world countries, disaster areas, and war torn countries can share true information about what is going on there without the influence of the corporate media or governments. This creates an overall positive impact of social media on society, so while you can’t believe everything you see, some of the information is accurate and helps the flow of information overall.