Legislation says universities can’t monitor social media accounts

Schools cannot use social media monitoring software, according to new legislation.

Protecting the social media privacy of college students and university employees once again proved to be a bipartisan issue May 16, as the North Carolina House passed a bill that would prohibit colleges and universities from demanding passwords to Twitter and Facebook accounts, along with all other social networks.

North Carolina, with the passage of House Bill 846, joins a lengthy list of state legislatures that have effectively ended the brief higher-education practice of requesting social media log-in information for student and employee background checks.

The North Carolina legislation — which passed with a vote of 76-36 — makes exceptions for criminal investigations and employer-held devices. One state lawmaker, Rep. Paul Stam, spoke out after the vote, saying the new privacy law would prohibit schools from scouring social media accounts when they have good reason to do so.…Read More

How UF uses social media, videos to engage stakeholders

UF promotes videos on Facebook that promote a response.

Dean Tsouvalas, editor-in-chief of StudentAdvisor.com, recently interviewed Bruce Floyd, social media specialist at the University of Florida, about the university’s social media strategy. The University of Florida was ranked No. 14 on the website’s Top 100 Social Media Colleges rankings for spring 2012.

UF is a major public land-grant research university. As the state’s oldest and most comprehensive university, UF offers more than 100 undergraduate degrees and more than 200 graduate degrees. It is one of only six universities in the country with colleges of law, medicine, engineering, agriculture, and veterinary medicine on one central campus. UF is also one of only 17 public, land-grant universities that belong to the Association of American Universities.

In the interview, Floyd discusses how UF manages more than 200 social media accounts and how it engages followers on various social media platforms. He also shares his advice for social media success.…Read More

The pitfalls of chasing Klout in higher education

Some colleges have moved away from Klout-based social media strategies.

As tempting as it might be to have one super metric that allows you to go to your bosses and show how successful your brilliant social media strategy has been, please do us all a favor and resist the impulse—especially if the metric you’re going to choose is Klout.

It seems like a fine enough idea in theory: one score that ranks how successful you are at engaging with your audience across multiple platforms, but in practice it promises one thing and delivers something much less useful, more opaque and occasionally even annoying.

First, you aren’t the user of Klout. You’re the product being sold by Klout to marketers. Advertisers and brands covet so-called influencers, people who will tweet, tumbl, or post to Facebook about the fantastic Klout Perks they’ve been given and therefore spread the word about a product much more cheaply and effectively than display advertising.…Read More

For colleges, social media ‘Klout’ isn’t everything

Some colleges are turning away from Klout.

A blitz of retweets and Facebook likes can be a nice boost for a college’s social media presence, but measuring success with the popular Klout score could give schools a false read of their Twitter and Facebook influence.

Research published this week by Inigral, creator of private social networks for colleges and universities, urges campus social media decision makers to look beyond the school’s Klout score, an analytical measurement of a person, company, or campus’s influence across the most popular social sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Google+.

The Klout scale ranges from 1 to 100, with media superstars like Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber reaching the upper echelons of the Klout rankings.…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

College libraries gravitate to social media in fight for relevancy

Researchers warn that Facebook might not suit college libraries' mission.

Campus library administrators have found that while they can’t force students come to the reference desk with questions and suggestions, they can bank on students scanning their Twitter and Facebook feeds.

What once was designated for the most technologically experimental and progressive college libraries is now commonplace: creating social media accounts; updating pages several times a day; taking questions via tweet, text, and instant message; and creating videos that answer students’ most-asked questions.

And while not every library technology initiative has thrived on college campuses, officials said they’ll keep trying new strategies, knowing that without some social networking presence, campus libraries could fade from relevancy.…Read More

University ditches controversial social media rules

SHSU’s social media rules drew campus-wide protests.

Sam Houston State University’s social media policy that drew heated criticism from a national free-speech organization and student groups has been nixed by campus officials.

Administrators on the 17,000-student public campus in Huntsville, Texas, said they would scrap the Social Media Policy and Procedure Manual that was protested by disparate campus political groups, opting instead to create a new set of rules from scratch.

The school’s policy stipulated that any student group that uses the university’s name or abbreviation must join the official SHSU social media universe or change their name. A student group would have to change its name to something that was not trademarked by SHSU or face legal repercussions.…Read More

How many people does it take to run a college’s Facebook page?

Most colleges have social media teams of two or three people.

Most college campuses don’t have one staff member toiling away on the social web, answering students’ burning questions and updating the school’s Facebook page. Some institutions have an entire team – seven people, sometimes more, managing the daily Facebook goings-on.

It depends on the size of a university and its commitment to consistent communication with prospective and current students and web-savvy alums, but social media staff varies widely from campus to campus, according to research released Nov. 16 by Varsity Outreach, a company that advises schools with web-based promotion.

Three in 10 colleges have one employee to manage the school’s Facebook presence, according to the Varsity Outreach study, while a few schools – 4 percent of respondents – have seven or more staff members managing and updating social media sites.…Read More

The masters of social media in higher education

StudentAdvisor evaluated social media initiatives at 6,000 colleges.

From tweeting the day’s dining hall menu to online posts showing where students can find an empty parking spot, campus officials have found inventive ways to use social media for practical purposes.

The 100 best uses of social media in higher education were released this fall by StudentAdvisor.com, a Massachusetts-based website that helps prospective students compare schools.

The annual ranking reads like a laundry list of the most effective ways campus decision makers can draw students with relevant information that can become an everyday part of their Twitter and Facebook feeds.…Read More

Controversial social media rules spark student backlash

SHSU student groups might have to change their names in accordance with new school policy.

Sam Houston State University’s controversial social media policy is perhaps the only thing that could unite the campus’s College Republicans, College Democrats, and the Young Democratic Socialists: The groups have joined together to protest rules that could affect their presence of Twitter and Facebook.

SHSU, a 17,000-student public campus in Huntsville, Texas, rolled out a new policy for university-related social media this semester, creating a “social media universe” that student groups can join on popular social sites where students communicate and announcements are made and discussed.

The school’s policy stipulates that any student group that uses the university’s name or abbreviation must join the official SHSU social media universe or change their name.…Read More