Social media is being used in Student Affairs / Higher Education more today than it was just a few years ago. The generation that is going into higher education is definitely more tech savvy than the previous generations and they have grown up knowing and using technology. Social media sites seem to be the way to reach students when some important information needs to go out, if you actually want them to pay attention to it.
I work in student affairs and we use social media not only to get important information out to the students, but to check in with them, address any questions/concerns that they may have, and as a way to remind them of important events that are coming up. Also, we provide pictures from different programs that occur and the students like seeing the pictures of them with their friends.
Many organizations that are involved in student affairs have jumped on the bandwagon of social media. My organization uses Facebook as the main source of social media. We have created groups based on the different areas on campus. This allows students to pose questions/concerns/comments in a place that is more relevant than just a large page for everyone to join. Their answers can be answered from other members of the page or the administrators of the page. This allows them to also see others who may live in their area and they are able to communicate with everyone. This is the site where we post updates that they may need to know along with different programs/events that are happening in their area or on campus. We find that this is a very beneficial tool and gets out to the students in a more effective way than using paper signs that just get torn down. This also helps when it comes to cutting back on the amount of paper that the university uses.
Many involved in student affairs have used/participated in Facebook group pages and said that the reason for using/enjoying these group pages was for: Socializing, entertainment, self-status seeking, and information. There are so many different opportunities when using Facebook as a form of social media to reach out to the students. Our university also uses Twitter to get information out to students. This allows them to tweet back in the moment and get a speedy reply, along with some joking around that occurs.
In order to improve standings with the social media environment, I think it is important to make sure that the students are being involved in the social media. I also think it might be beneficial to see what types of social media they use the most and then implement pages on those sites. This way sites that the students use are the ones that the university uses and they can be effective. Staying up to date with the different technologies and social media sites is also very important since they are always changing.
Park, N., Kee, K., Valenzuela, S. (2009). Cyber psychology & behavior. Retrieved from: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cpb.2009.0003