The top 10 higher-ed tech stories of 2010: No. 8

Facebook has become a key to colleges' marketing campaigns.

The past year saw higher-education leaders embrace social media more than ever before to engage current students, entice prospective ones, and encourage alumni to open their wallets. And while there are no hard, fast rules when it comes to social media use in academia, attendees of the annual EDUCAUSE conference in October were encouraged to keep experimenting with their tweeting, linking, and posting until they strike the right balance in terms of effectiveness.

Massive social media advertising campaigns have proven effective for colleges and universities both large and small, and an analysis released in July showed that institutions that invest the most in social media ads spend less per student on marketing than do campuses that stick to traditional strategies … with comparable results.

Carefully crafted social media strategies and web videos that tug alumni heartstrings are becoming a foundation of campus fundraising efforts, as college officials use dwindling resources to recover from the largest-ever one-year decline in alumni contributions.…Read More

Students: Social media blackout eye-opening, ‘annoying’

Harrisburg students admit to finding ways around the school's social media ban.
Harrisburg students admit to finding ways around the school's social media ban.

Students at Harrisburg University, where technology officials recently deprived students of social media access for one week, said the restriction was a minor inconvenience for many on campus, and showed some students just how tethered to popular social sites they had become.

IT decision makers at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania–a campus of about 600 students established in 2001–banned access to Facebook, Twitter, AOL Instant Messenger, and MySpace through the school’s network during the week of Sept. 13 as a way of showing students how ingrained the technology has become in their everyday lives.

Harrisburg also hosted a panel of social media experts during the experimental week who discussed privacy and security issues in social media, how the technology is used to communicate with mass audiences, and how the professional world has adapted to the exponential popularity of sites like Facebook.…Read More