Malleable Musings

April 11, 2009

How our potential students, students and alumni are using social media

Filed under: Social Media Transitional Information — Brendan @ 12:36 am

It’s important to remember that our potential students, students and alumni are regular people.  They are individuals who generally use the internet and if the statistics about social media are to be believed then many will be using some form of social media.

These stakeholders won’t necessarily be using social media to talk about us all the time. Frankly they’ve got other more interesting things going on in their lives! However occassionally some use social media to “talk” about us and their experience of studying and interacting with us (albeit sometimes in a peripheral way). Sometimes this is positive, sometimes this is negative, sometimes it’s neutral. Every time someone mentions the University it’s a possible recommendation or condemnation.

Sometimes they don’t say anything and use other mediums instead (which causes a problem as it’s generally more difficult to listen to this because how such media is tagged is all that distinguishes it from the background noise). The important things to remember are:

  • The tools and the language used will change in ways that we don’t yet understand.
  • Our corporate voice is only one voice which on some topics will be less credible than the weight of voices and may not be appropriate.
  • The conversation will happen because or in spite of us.
  • We are not in control of the conversation – consider the traditional 5W’s of public relations.
  • Who: The conversation is about the student / potential student / alumni – the University is secondary.
  • What: The student / potential student / alumni decides what is newsworthy – they won’t simply take the corporate messages we push at them.
  • When: Social media has it’s own timelines which are probably not that dependent on news that we’re creating.
  • Where: The conversations won’t necessarily happen where we want them to happen (on our pages) because we are inviting people in to our creepy treehouses and people don’t need new dstination websites.
  • Why: The conversation has to be important to the student / potential student / alumni.

This is part of a series of posts (this is the starting point) which will probably be updated, regularly over the next few months and I’ll be very happy to recieve comments and questions.


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