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Higher Education Faculty Continue to Use Social Media

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.

TCNJ Social Sciences Building
Photo credit: Wikipedia

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

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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