How can a university best use social media for internal communications?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network/blog/2011/jun/01/universities-social-media-internal-communications

This article talks about how universities can best use Social Media for intranet sites. The article stresses the ‘why’and not the ‘how’ when developing a new social media website. The keys to creating a successful social media site are clear objectives and an understanding of the university culture. The cultural readiness of a university is a question of leadership and openness. Cumbersome decisions, processes, and layers tend not to embrace social media. Universities also have to respect the freedom, innovation and colloboration of students.

My questions to the class are: Is Fordham ready to go on a social media site? If so, how should it be implemented? Would you use it?

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7 thoughts on “How can a university best use social media for internal communications?

  1. This article makes some good points about the strategy side of social media, and I think these points can be applied to everything from universities to small businesses. In short, strategic vision is what should drive your social media presence as an organization — you shouldn’t just dive in because it’s the “cool” thing to do. The fact that it’s so easy to set up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts is a double-edged sword: it’s great that any organization can do it, but it also means that many organizations will enter the space prematurely, before they have had a chance to gather all the stakeholders and establish a vision. So, to answer the question, YES, I definitely think that Fordham could benefit from a stronger social media presence. However, a disjointed social media presence is almost worse than no presence at all, and we all know how disjointed Fordham is in other areas. I would encourage the university to establish a strategic social media vision FIRST, and then to begin using the tools and establishing its networks.

  2. Given the role of “community” that social media has the capability of playing, i think that social media is key in fostering academic communities. So I think it makes total sense for Fordham to be using social media. However I COMPLETELY agree with the above comment. Its hard enough to log onto my.fordham.com let along take the next step to social media. Without the seamless integration that we have seen sucessfull campaigns employe (a la Obama) social media is worthless.

  3. I agree that Fordham should pursue social media but also that it is risky for a university to enter the waters unless it is willing to accept the good with the bad. As a traditional Jesuit university I can understand if Fordham’s administration is somewhat reluctant to start a social media site. I have seen this play out over the past couple of years in noticing that Fordham has been slow to adapt to new technologies and ideas. I think that one of the results of this is that many graduate students, especially part-time students, feel disconnected from the school. A new line of communication could help freshen up Fordham’s image. If managed well a social media presence could also help Fordham to better engage with its students. On the flip side, if done poorly it could backfire and further alienate students. One way for Fordham to hedge a social media bet would be to develop a presence that is designed specifically for a small group within the school. Depending on the level of interaction and success of this pilot program Fordham can use its findings to design a strategy for the larger parts of the university.

  4. It’s important for Fordham as an institution of higher learning to stay in touch with advances in technology. I think Fordham like many of us and many other Universities and Corporations didn’t know what to do with social media.
    To answer the first question posted, I think fordham has to do a better job of reaching out through social media. Having said that we all know that there are areas at the university where they are running under staffed or inefficient. The attempts that have been made through social media have been scattered and would seem unplanned. In order to even begin to approach social media Fordham needs a plan that highlights keeping it simple. They should concentrate on one form of social media and develop a vision of what they want to get out of it. I think some goals would be to increase awareness of the university and open up communication whether its internal or external. When they’ve developed a strong dialogue in one form of social media they can then begin to advance in other areas.

  5. I felt that the article brought up some very interesting points – many of which are described in the previous comments. I believe that Fordham should engage in social media but would need to set a clear vision for what those platforms would bring to its University environment as well as to its prospective students, current students, alumni and faculty. Would a school such as Fordham be willing to leave negative or controversial postings or comments on their Facebook page? Would their social media strategy be in an open or closed environment and what purpose would it serve? I think too often a strategic plan isn’t implemented when using these tools. This vision is vital for a successful and cohesive social presence which is true to the organizations goals and key message.

  6. I’m falling short in believing Fordham can benefit from a social media platform even if it is considered disjointed at first. Despite deep Jesuit traditions, social media really doesn’t negatively impact the message Jesuit institutions profess. However, the presence of a social media platform at universities could impact the performance of students pending a statistical study over time. In this day in age most students are already a part of a social media community so to add another one to the mix (academically) seems redundant. If there are issues with the current website then there are always ways to make the interface more appealing and user friendly to the mass audience. Introducing social media to the equation might bring more problems than originally anticipated that could derail the attention of students to those areas that require the most focus in their education.

  7. All of the previous posts seem to have a similar theme. Fordham should have some sort of social media presence as long as it’s done right with the proper planning and vision of what a Fordham social media could offer. I not quite sure I agree. I do believe that there is tremendous opportunity in the social media space but I’m not sure of the value-add a social media platform would bring to the table. Of course we’d have to evaluate the plan first once it was developed but it seems to me that the costs might outweigh the benefit. Just because everyone else is doing it, why should we?

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