Social Media Use Among College Student Services Faculty & Staff

I conducted a survey of ten peers, who work in the field of student services in higher education, on their use of social media. The results were as suspected in regards to the infrequent use of social media in a work related setting compared to the higher personal usage, however, there does appear to be an understanding of the importance of social media platforms. Referring to the survey results, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube seemed to be the most used for personal reasons, although, for work reasons, only Facebook and LinkedIn show weekly use. The other social media applications like Twitter, Google+, Instagram, wikis, and social bookmarking are barely utilized if at all. The most common reasons for using social media appeared to be tied to personal reasons like staying in touch with family and friends, and checking the news, but six people did indicate using social media to network with professionals. An interesting fact from the survey results is seven out of ten considered social media as “very important” to “somewhat important” in their work and professional lives, yet they appear to hardly use any of the applications. This goes to show that although my peers view social media technology as an important tool for the job, they still highly underutilize them. One could conclude it is based on a lack of training, too outside their comfort zones of normal platforms like email, or just not fully aware of the capabilities and potential that social media applications could present in student interaction.

College staff and faculty need to utilize social networking sites, “where students already are” and comfortable with the environment, which will enable them to open new avenues of communication (Roblyer, 2010). According to a survey and report by the Career Advisory Board in conjunction with the National Association of Colleges and Employers (2013), the use of social media technology by college career centers have increased by over ninety percent but yet a majority of career services professionals feel they do not have the knowledge to use these platforms effectively, as only twenty-five percent receive university-sponsored training. Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the most popular platforms to post information; however, the next step will be to create two-way communication from a monologue to develop the relationships with students (Career, 2013). Junco (2010) states that academic advisors and other staff can help students maintain a level of engagement to enhance the student experience and allow a more balanced distribution of communication by exploiting social media tools. He also adds they can post YouTube video introductions of advisors, maintain wikis to explain the advising process, and use Twitter and Facebook to broadcast important information, respond to student questions, and develop a real space-to-digital relationships with students.

In reviewing the results of this small sample size survey, one can gather student services staff and advisors understand the functions of certain social media platforms as they use them in their personal lives, but do not know how to apply those same platforms in the professional setting. It seems that they do need training on employing familiar tools, like Facebook and YouTube, more effectively into their daily work functions, on top of learning the potential uses of Twitter, wikis, and social bookmarking for both improved student communication and professional development.

Presentation Link: http://infogr.am/Survey-Results-on-Social-Media/

References

Career Advisory Board & National Association of College and Employers (NACE). (May 2013). Career services use of social media technologies. Retrieved from http://careeradvisoryboard.org/research/career-services-use-of-social-media-technologies-may-2013 (Rating: 5)

Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The Benefits of Facebook “friends:” Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4). (Rating: 4)

R Junco. (2010, September 27). Academic advising, social media, and student engagement. Retrieved from http://blog.reyjunco.com/academic-advising-social-media-and-student-engagement (Rating: 5)

Roblyer, M. D., McDaniel, M., Webb, M., Herman, J., & Witty, J. V. (2010). Findings on Facebook in higher education: A comparison of college faculty and student uses and perceptions of social networking sitesThe Internet and Higher Education13(3), 134-140. (Rating: 4)

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3 Responses to Social Media Use Among College Student Services Faculty & Staff

  1. nankc says:

    Very nice report, Reid. You’ve written a well thought out interpretation of your results. However, the graph on infogr.am is very hard to interpret. It would have been better to separate out each social media tool as separate questions and show the results as pie charts for each tool (as opposed to how it’s currently presented for questions 1 and 2).

    Aloha,
    Nan

  2. dishii says:

    I like your initial image, even though I am active on some social media sites, I feel like that myself these days. You clearly identified your survey subjects. I like how you gathered information regarding personal v. professional use and also identified which sites are not being used.
    You also analyzed your results and presented personal thoughts on what may be causing discrepancies among perceived importance and lack of use. You cited research that matched your finding.
    Your infographic displayed findings from your survey. The first 2 graphs were a little hard to read. I like how you presented information regarding the reason for using social media as well as the importance. If you were going to expand further on the survey you might also ask respondents their comfort level with the sites they use, or their perceived effectiveness on the site.
    Overall it was well put together with great resources, it looks like you have a good start to your work.
    Aloha,
    Dana

  3. ceeceekay says:

    I agree with Nan in that I had an easier time reading through your analysis of your survey than reading through the infogr.am. The lines were so small that once a month or less and 4-6 times a week were difficult to distinguish because the colors are so similar. I like how you compared all of your data and made some inferences based on the survey results.

    I wondered if the type of job that everyone had in student services influenced their use of social media? I know that in their survey, many valued social media use, but seemed to contradict themselves with the results of their actual social media use in their occupations. It might have helped to include a short answer following the question about the frequency of social media for work/professional reasons with how they used each type of social media at work.

    7 individuals indicated that they used social media to network with other professionals. I think it would’ve been helpful to know what kind of social networking service they were using.

    You mention that it might be “a lack of training, too outside their comfort zones of normal platforms like email, or just not fully aware of the capabilities and potential that social media applications could present in student interaction” that contributes to their reticence to adopt more social media into the workplace. How do you think you could get more of your colleagues to start to incorporate more social media? It could even be something where those that do use it (successfully, that is) can do mini presentations on what they use, how they use it, and how others can do the same. I know that when I introduce a new technology to my technology reluctant coworkers, they need to REALLY see how this new technology will make their life easier and/or better in order to get onboard.

    Great job!

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