Given the field I work in, I pay a lot of attention to billboard campaigns. I suspect this makes me different from many of the publics we target.
One thing I’ve noticed in my years of careful Billboardspotting is how remarkably similar all outdoor advertising is for colleges and universities. It’s eerie. It’s almost as though everyone is watching what everyone else is doing and copying it in some sort of marketing feedback loop.
This is likely what is actually happening, which explains the creative entropy. Read more…
Perhaps summer isn’t the best time to schedule a learning opportunity for education professionals. Unfortunately the Paperclip Webinar on Community Colleges and the Impact of Social Media has been canceled and will be rescheduled for a later date.
As soon as we have a new date, I’ll post it here.
Community colleges across the country are finding ways to teach, market and communicate using various forms of social media. In this rapidly changing environment it is challenging for professionals to stay up to date on the latest trends and functions of a social media landscape.
In many cases, higher education has led in the adoption of these new tools and technologies. Much more can be done, however, both inside the classroom and outside the college engaging publics.
Join me for an interactive webinar where you will learn how to develop a greater awareness of hot trends in social media as they relate to community colleges and begin the process of creating an effective social media marketing plan.
Register Here: http://bit.ly/ccsandsocialmedia
Several people have asked me questions (following the social media policy webinar I did with PaperClip Communications last week) about how faculty should interact with students using social media. It’s a pressing issue first, because there have been several high-profile cases of inappropriate conduct, and second, because social media provides an opportunity to share relevant information to an entire class (or multiple classes) if it’s handled well.
Here are a few tips:
- Stay “On Campus“: If they’re available on your campus, course management software like Blackboard, Banner or WebCT can do nearly everything Facebook can do and there’s a “check” in place in that the school is able to oversee the interaction. In addition, it allows other students to view, participate in and learn from the interaction. We at GRCC use Blackboard and we also use a set of tools from Wimba (like Wimba Pronto which is a client that builds in collaboration, video chat, instant messaging, chat, etc. into one tool). Most of these systems are also able to publish content to Facebook through an application like CourseFeed (so that students can still remain in Facebook – but participate in the class and get notifications and announcements).
- Don’t Friend – Be Friended: Faculty(and supervisors)should never initiate friend requests – they need to respect the fact that the power inherent in their position might make students fearful to refuse the request. If a professor wants to invite students to connect with them – it should be done in the form of a general invitation to the entire class(no different than providing their email in the syllabus).
- Stay Public: Conduct discussions in the open (ie through wall posts as opposed to personal messages) to help ensure that they stay focused on the course and don’t deviate into personal areas that might be inappropriate. It’s the same as the principle behind conducting an after-class meeting with a student in a hallway as opposed to a classroom so that event he appearance of impropriety is avoided.
- Use the Buddy System: It would be ideal if faculty would let their department head, dean or another colleague know that they’re using social media to interact with students AND to “friend” them to give themselves a system of checks and balances. If you’ve got another pair of eyes helping you keep tabs on what you’re doing, they may be able to help you watch out for interactions that may be problematic.
- Be Transparent: Behaving as though others can see your conduct is always a good policy. Anyone trying to maintain a public face that is markedly different from their private behavior is bound for epic failure in an age where online content is easily shared, and students (and consumers) have audio/video recording equipment with them at all times (on their mobile phones). An “abstinence-only” approach to social media is bound for failure just as much as the “abstinence-only” approach to reproductive health education. Content about you will go online whether or not you want it to – ultimately it’s best to have a say in the conversation.
In the end, as more of our communication moves to social media – eventually this will become the dominant paradigm for faculty as well as professionals in the private sector. Better to get a head-start on familiarizing yourself with its nuances now than wait until it’s mandated as part of your contract. Not only that -but I think you’ll find (as I have) that your teaching experience is richer for the relationships you’re able to maintain with students after the class has ended. I’ve been amazed and humbled by the pursuit of scholarship that some of my students maintain outside the classroom – and I often learn just as much from them as they hopefully do from me.
[File under "shameless self-promotion"] If you’re working on a social media policy for your organization, I’m hosting a webinar for Paperclip Communications: “Social Media – Campus Policies & Protocol.” The program is aimed specifically aimed at higher education institutions and will cover legal issues, employer/employee issues, student/faculty/staff “boundary” issues, online reputation management, campus PR issues, and generally provide advice and tips to help keep a school’s use of social media positive and lawsuit-free.
Social Media – Campus Policies & Protocol – February 17, 2011 Webinar
Date/Time: Thursday, February 17, 2011 from 2:00-3:30 PM ET
Length: Approx. 90 minutes
Register here: http://bit.ly/SMPolicyWebinarFeb17
It should be a lot of fun; there have been no shortage of fascinating case studies regarding employees and social media policy in the news and this is a topic that I love discussing. If you’re interested in reading some of my other posts on social media policy and online reputation management, here are a few:
- State Farm, Glenn Beck and Social Media
- Fear of Transparency Nixes Blog at University of Colorado
- 100 Percent of Companies/Organizations Have a Social Media Policy
- The Remote and the Real: Shopping for a BP Oil Spill Thong
- Sample College Social Media Policy Guidelines
- Your Visible Social Network: Radical Transparency as the Great Equalizer
Many organizations are grappling with social media policy guidelines for their employees, including my own.
I tried my hand at writing some, and then refined them by poring over hundreds of other social media policies of other organizations (both in the public and private sector – one great archive is available here at socialmediagovernance.org) and borrowed some of the best suggestions to craft my own set of guidelines that I’m pursuing for approval with the leadership of Grand Rapids Community College. So for what it’s worth – I’m making them available to everyone in case they’re of assistance:
What a lot of organizations don’t realize is that their employee conduct policies already cover social media, so it’s not always necessary to create an entirely new policy. When you’re evaluating how to approach it – there are three simple ideas to keep in mind:
- Keep it Simple: There’s no need to address every single social networking platform individually, nor to describe every potentially negative behavior – something as simple as a statement reminding employees that the employee handbook/code of conduct applies online to social media may be sufficient.
- Appeal to Employees’ Good Nature and Common Sense: Encourage employees to take the view that social media is no different than face-to-face interactions with stakeholders. If they wouldn’t try to be anonymous, dishonest, or mean in person – they should hold to those same principles online. Relating to others well is a universal principal in both the digital and analog worlds.
- Educate, Don’t Pontificate: Rather than trying to browbeat employees into submission with restrictive Authorized User Agreements, monitoring employee activity online or lengthy rules and restrictions – try to offer friendly advice and take an educational approach. There are social media case studies virtually every day in the news; use those as “teachable moments” in your employee communications. (Besides - AUAs and monitoring workstations are irrelevant anyway given that employees can defeat them by using their smartphones to access the Internet.)
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
- Virtually everything online (particularly e-commerce) was developed as a result of the work done by nonprofits like SRI International and other other segments of the public higher education system.
- 2) His metaphor of the iPhone/iPad and “iCollege” is a poor choice for at least two reasons:
- Apple Computer built on the research done by the nonprofits to launch its computing devices (a tradition that continues to this day).
- The iPhone and iPad have been roundly criticized for locking down the browsing experience to only the applications/tools permitted by Apple. Moreover, users are limited to AT&T as the sole provider for 3G wireless service for both devices. They are, in fact, the mobile computing example of a “one-size-fits-all monopoly provider.”
"...and you shall have no pie."As my parents tell it, when I was an infant my first word wasn't a word - it was an entire sentence. Very little has changed.
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