Vadim Lavrusik’s article – 10 Ways Universities Share Information Using Social Media on Mashable prompted me to explore about how South African Universities, and particularly public affairs or faculties are making use of Social Media.
From what I found (and this is not authoritative, my little network does not cover all 23 higher ed institutions in South africa) Tukkies, UNISA, Stellenbosch Maties, Wits and UCT are using the medium to listen, talk, network, distribute information, support and participate.
Social Media and tertiary students seem like a natural fit. Students can access and participate via their personal computers, the LAN or their mobile phone. University does not have to spend a fortune to set up a presence. Promotion is usually organic. Since the “friend of a friend” concept is embedded into this media form, word of mouth is used to promote the growth of the such sites. Constant effort is required to make sure the site is more than a monologue. But there are a variety of tools to assist with this process.
I also stumbled upon a few unkempt social media sites that had not been maintained. Social Media is probably more about strategy and less about the technology and getting buy in to your social media objectives and strategy from serious management (and preferably commitment to model its from the top) is required for the medium to yield any meaningful results.
Now I’d also like to explore how students feel about using Social Media and have constructed a student questionnaire on Social Media () to explore this issue further.