Survey: Colleges’ social media use narrows

One-third of schools raised $10,000 through social media.

Social media sites outside the big four — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube — had a tough time in higher education last year.

Colleges and universities seemed less willing to experiment with small, less ubiquitous social media platforms in 2012, as blogs and Flickr use in higher education dropped by 13 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to a  fourth annual CASE/Huron Education/mStoner social media survey, conducted in February and March.

Smaller social media websites saw a usage drop in higher education as 96 percent of schools used Facebook, 82 percent used Twitter, 74 percent used LinkedIn, and 71 percent were on YouTube in some form. The CASE study suggested that colleges have whittled down on their social media options as return on investment has become clearer over the past year.…Read More

‘Pinterest for education’ coming to college campuses

Pinterest drew almost 12 million unique views in January.

Perhaps the only task more daunting than rounding up the internet’s trove of free resources is organizing those blogs posts, videos, photos, and audio files into a presentable classroom lesson. Online pinboards could simplify both.

Grockit, a social learning company based in San Francisco, has created an education-focused site called Learnist, based on the idea behind the popular photo-sharing website Pinterest. College students and educators can use Learnist to compile free online material onto one presentable page chock-full of content on a certain topic.

Learnist, which was launched as an invitation-only site at the outset, has Pinterest’s image-heavy appearance, allowing professors, for example, to put YouTube clips, online articles, eBook excerpts, and podcast clips on the same page, creating a one-stop learning space for their students.…Read More

Ignoring Pinterest in 2012 could make colleges look ‘old and stodgy’

Pinterest has more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

The social photo sharing site Pinterest, in some corners of higher education, is seen as superfluous, nonessential, and unappealing to a mass audience. A recent spike in the number of Americans joining Pinterest could change that prevailing perception very soon.

Pinterest, which launched a beta version of the website in 2010 and a full unveiling in 2011, lets members post photos, drawings, and images on an online pinboard available for others to peruse. Pinterest members must link their accounts to Twitter or Facebook, where they can more widely share their various pinboards.

Pinterest remains invitation-only – much like Google+ or Gmail when those services were first introduced – but the site’s most recent statistics show it can be another tool in colleges’ constant battle for online attention from prospective and current students.…Read More

Viral video spreads Occupy message beyond college campuses

More than 1.3 million people have watched the UC Davis web video.

Chris Wong saw it unfold just hours before millions saw it on the internet: A police officer dousing students with pepper spray, a scene recorded with smart phones and turned into a viral web video that has brought national attention and energized the Occupy movement on college campuses.

Wong, a senior at the University of California (UC) Davis, was on the outskirts of the human chain formed by students who has set up tents on the campus quad in protest of state tuition hikes. Watching his peers sprayed at point blank range with the chemical gas was harrowing, he said, but broadcasting web video of the incident could be a boon for the movement, which has connections to the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests.

“In a strange way, [the police] did us a big favor,” said Wong, whose face was dotted with pepper spray, while students forming the human chain “looked like their faces had been painted.” “It’s good for waking people up to what’s happening on the ground. … Some people choose to ignore it and say it won’t accomplish anything, but we’ve seen an exponential surge in support [since the video went viral]. It served as a good platform for us.”…Read More

Penn State goes on Facebook blitz as campus scandal continues

PSU's Facebook page has seen consistent updates in recent days.

Facebook has become ground zero for crisis management in higher education, as demonstrated by Penn State University’s consistent communication with its 243,000 followers as the campus descended into riots after the Nov. 9 firing of head football coach Joe Paterno and university President Graham Spanier.

The university’s Board of Trustees dismissed Spanier and Paterno days after PSU drew national attention when former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with sex crimes against minors.

Students took to the University Park, Pa., streets and protested the firing of Paterno. The university updated its Facebook page after midnight with alerts telling students to “vacate” the rioting areas immediately.…Read More

Google+ allows colleges to create official pages

Stanford attracted 1,000 Google+ followers in 24 hours.

Higher education’s social media pros aren’t sure how students are using Google+, or how many alumni have signed on to the social network. Even so, universities lured by Google’s massive audience are creating official campus pages.

A handful of notable universities joined Google+ Nov. 7 after Google officials announced that schools, businesses, and organizations can make their own pages.

The social site, which features “circles” that make it easy to pick and choose which online friends you can share certain items with, and “sparks” that provide links to related photos and articles on a topic, had only allowed people to create accounts since its July unveiling.…Read More

Social media fuels Occupy Colleges movement

More than 5,000 students participated in walkouts Oct. 5.

Within a week of launching Occupy Colleges, a group in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests, more than 100 U.S. campuses had offshoots of the national movement. That would have been impossible, organizers said, without Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook groups and Twitter accounts have cropped up across higher education since the beginning of October, when Occupy Colleges launched its website and invited schools of every size to join the burgeoning protests against corporate excesses, including rising tuition and growing student loan debt that leaves many graduates with hefty monthly payments in a stagnant job market.

Student organizers said they expected students at 140 campuses – from community colleges to research universities – to launch protests Oct. 13, a week after more than 5,000 students from 80 schools participated in a walkout as Occupy Wall Street continued its protests at Zuccotti Park in New York City.…Read More

For colleges, social media no longer optional

LinkedIn has seen the largest increase in usage among colleges.

There won’t be big gains in the number of campuses using social media next year, according to two researchers who say every college and university they studied has already hopped aboard the social networking bandwagon.

Only six in 10 colleges had an official social media presence during the 2007-08 academic year, according to the report from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s Center for Marketing Research.

In 2009, 85 percent of university admissions offices were using social media like Twitter and Facebook. That number rose to 100 percent during the 2010-11 school year.…Read More

Translating Twitter for campus disasters

Bucket Brigade is available for free on Android mobile devices.

Twitter just got even more concise: Students, faculty members, and campus administrators can tweet more efficiently with an application that provides a shortcut for asking for #Help or telling loved ones #Imok.

Bucket Brigade Keyboard, a free app for Android devices developed by University of Colorado (CU) doctoral student Daniel Schaefer, uses an alternative keyboard to translate Twitter chatter into syntax used during fires, earthquakes, floods, or campus shootings.

Creating a common language for emergencies, Schaefer said, could improve social media communication during the tense first hours of a natural disaster or security incident. Students, in other words, won’t be yelling into the void of tweets and random hashtags.…Read More

Want to raise your GPA? Quit Facebook

In a study, 34 percent of students said they used Facebook while studying.

Combining studying with Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging proves a bad mix for college students, while a healthy dose of old-fashioned eMail usage might help boost grade point averages, according to the latest research in the debate surrounding social media in higher education.

Posted Sept. 19 on the blog of social media researcher Reynol Junco, the study charged that scanning Facebook news feeds and sending texts while studying were “negatively related to overall GPA,” echoing findings from social media research presented in the past two years.

Using eMail while studying was an entirely different story.…Read More