As for personal use, Facebook was the most popular form of social media among the respondents. Ninety-six percent of the participants said they use Facebook at home. Eighty-two percent said they use Twitter, and slightly more than 80 percent said they use YouTube.
Many respondents also listed “knowing how to use social media strategically to build a professional network and use it as a tool to communicate effectively with the students they serve,” as critical skills for new student affairs professionals.
Ninety-five percent of the graduate students said they believed Facebook was important to engagement, and 93 percent said they believed Twitter was.
As the survey was primarily spread by word of mouth through eMail, Facebook, and Twitter, its results were likely skewed toward professionals who were disposed to use those forms of technology, Valliere admitted. But the survey did include 315 people in various areas of student affairs, including residence life, student activities, and orientation.
“The numbers are significant,” Valliere said. “Even if we assume that the average survey respondent had an above average skill level with technology, the sheer proportion of those who believed that social media and other technological platforms had a real place in student affairs says quite a bit about where we might expect our profession to be heading in the next several years.”