The ‘industry’ of Higher Education: it’s use of social media

Within 24 hours of my last post,  “Blackboard, SunGard, and rSmart: A Client’s Take on Support, Oh My” , I was reminded by several things that not everyone is comfortable with the bi-directional nature of the web.

We’ve started calling it “social media.” Like many of you, I follow and participate in many forums in which we brainstorm and retell stories and engage as practitioners in ways to use social media technology for the advancement of education, ie, in the delivery of the ‘product’ of our ‘industry.’

If you’re reading this blog over at edu1world.org , where it’s recently started to be syndicated, you’re involved already in social media. You use it professionally on behalf of our industry. And on behalf of your institution and your career development as well. Simultaneously even.

My own experience is making me take a closer look at how our professions, the way we do business, are being transformed, or should be transformed, by social media . My reflection began with the link a sys admin friend directed me to: The ClueTrain Manifesto. Published the first time in 1999, it reads, “A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter-and getting smarter faster than most companies.”

So we see the commercial sector taking to blogs, Twitter, wikis, Facebook, LinkedIn and all that, faster than a hound-chased duck to water. We ourselves have grabbed on to the fact that we can complain on Twitter and AT&T begins following us, RedRobin sends us a coupon, and countless others give us free stuff for ‘liking’ their Facebook page.

The Manifesto (1999 remember…) said, “These markets are conversations. Their members communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.”

It’s likely your institution has a strategy for talking to your constituents in this space. (Last year USA Today published such a list of the top 20 colleges with the institution I serve at ranking #1).

It’s for certain that your vendors have such strategies.  (If you’re a vendor, I’d love to hear from you about yours).

As an individual who serves in a role as Faculty, Staff or Administrator at a higher ed institution, do you have strategies for your professional use of social media?

Follow Up: New York Times Dec. 2011 post about the principal author of The ClueTrain Manifesto, David Weinberger

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One response to “The ‘industry’ of Higher Education: it’s use of social media

  1. You picked exactly the messages I think are so important from the Cluetrain Manifesto. I think it ought to be required reading for anyone immersed in social media and working in some kind of position where their knowledge can directly benefit others on behalf of the organization.

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