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Some of you know that I’ve worked with Pearson and Babson Research Group the last couple of years on a very interesting survey of higher education faculty and their use of social media, divided into three kinds of usage: personal, professional, and teaching. Last year, my first year working on this survey, I was quite interested to see what kinds of adoption existed and how many barriers exist to even wider adoption. Friday, the 2012 survey was released (sorry that it has taken a few days to get this out) and there were some very interesting findings compared to last year.

You can look at the press release that links to the entire 2012 Pearson Social Media Survey of Higher Eductaion, and that announcement highlights a few of the interesting results, but I have a few that surprised me:

  • Video is now a given. Video use is now so pervasive that we had to separate it from the rest of social media. The most interesting conclusions are around the rest of social media.
  • Age matters. There is a clear drop-off of usage among older faculty. Maybe that is not a surprise, but what did surprise is that middle-aged faculty complain about more barriers than those older or younger.
  • Barriers are dropping. Large numbers of faculty cite numerous barriers to using social media, especially about privacy concerns and the integrity of student submissions.  The top barriers are the same as last year, but all of them have dropped significantly across all age groups. Something is changing out there.
  • Faculty think social is worth their time. By far the largest decrease of a single barrier was “Social media takes too much time.” It’s possible that everyone has gone through their experimentation phase now and social takes less time, but it is more likely that faculty now see the value and think it is worth their time.
  • Faculty is beginning to specialize. Last year, more faculty used Facebook for professional uses than any other form of social media, but this year LinkedIn is in the lead. It could be that professional use of LinkedIn in business is driving this into academic networks, but it is more likely that faculty is becoming savvier in their use of social media and using the right tool for the right purpose.

Follow the link above to see the full report yourself, but understand that these trends are indicative of a growing integration of social media with higher education. So, besides knowing that our customers are using social and that our employees are using social for personal use, don’t be surprised to see people expect social in training situations and other learning scenarios in business. Their college experience is starting to set that expectation.

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Mike Moran

About Mike Moran

Mike Moran has a unique blend of marketing and technology skills that he applies to raise return on investment for large marketing programs. Mike is a former IBM Distinguished Engineer and a senior strategist at Converseon, a leading social consultancy. Mike is the author of two books on digital marketing, an instructor at several leading universities, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research.

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