Malleable Musings

April 8, 2009

Notes on Social Media

Filed under: Social Media Transitional Information — Brendan @ 2:54 pm

I’ve been playing around with various collaborative web technologies for some time.  I’ve always found it funny that none of this has ever been within my job description.  So whenever I do anything vaguely related to social media (especially anything related to Facebook, be it booking advertising or responding to questions on our page or within groups) I always felt that people are watching over my shoulder.

Before I leave my current position I’ve been asked to come up with two pages to summarise what I’ve been up to for the last seven and a half years with social media.  I thought that I’d probably struggle keeping this to two pages and decided it might make more sense to blog and hyperlink to examples in order to answer the seven specific questions I was asked (these are given below with short, glib answers).  N.B. The intention is that these will link to other posts some of which may be private, until I figure out what I can and can’t say, or may not have yet been written.

  1. What have I been doing in relation to social media? Playing, experimenting and trying to understand.
  2. What have I found out? Bits and pieces, all of which is interesting and given the nature of the web all of which needs further follow-up.
  3. What are the positives / negatives?There’s a lot of positives / main negatives are lack of time and scaling issues and measuring return on investment (remember numbers don’t show engagement).
  4. What needs more follow-up? Everything.
  5. What are our students and alumni doing? Lots of stuff in lots of different places, which keep changing.
  6. What appropriate uses are there for social media across the student lifecycle? Loads.
  7. What are the other parts of the university doing? Quite a bit – watch this space.

My problem with this approach is that it’s driven by the tools rather than the goals that we’re trying to acheive and the image on the right shows what can happen when you just do it – original source.

That said, I’m a great believer that in higher education it’s often necessary to work with a rough plan, try it and if it works then later on ask for forgiveness rather than ask for permission.

Most social media projects will fail so it’s worth doing all you can to mitigate against this. It’s important to prepare well and think in the right way and remember that social media is really only the latest incarnation of word of mouth marketing which is something that most universities have relied on for years.

Useful links:

http://sociability.org.uk/2009/04/06/45-propositions/ and the http://schoolofeverything.com/subject/social-social/all/scrapbook

N.B. This series of posts will be updated, regularly over the next few months and I’ll be very happy to recieve comments and questions.

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