Hard to believe the course is now done. We all will never be the same with social media. The knowledge we now hold will be valuable. Here is my final thoughts on the experience.
ADL 310 SOCIAL MEDIA
FINAL ASSIGNMENT – DEVELOPMENT OF A SOCIAL MEDIA PROPOSAL
In the technological world in which businesses exist today, social media has to play a significant role in all facets of the business world. Although in the past the university was viewed as an educational entity, it has now moved into being a business, with students being the customers. The ACT methodology is essential in facilitating this through social media.
Attract – this would be to attract students from various points such as recruiting from high schools, open studies, transfers, audit, and of course existing students.
Convert – by utilizing different avenues students could see what exactly the University of Calgary offers and the expertise that is available.
Transform – this would allow our department to increase both undergraduate and graduate students as well as attract exceptional faculty to join our department. 1
Customers need to know what offerings are available. A blog would facilitate students getting to know various areas of interest as well as the faculty available in a specific area. In presenting the topic of Social Media to the Department of History at the University of Calgary there are a couple of points that need to be addressed on the university level as well as the department and faculty level. Although we have a webpage which is mandated through the Information Technology Department of the university it would be worth looking a setting up a departmental blog to discuss the following:
Research interests of faculty;
Upcoming courses that we will be offering;
Upcoming conferences that students may find interesting.
The importance of this is to become more customer orientated with our students. Students look to the internet for research on various topics, and we should use social media to facilitate them knowing what exactly we have to offer. A blog can be linked to Twitter and Facebook and using both these venues would open communication for the students to know, in real time, what we are offering, instead of waiting for a manual response. Information can be shared as it becomes available. Facebook can also be used as an advertising site where we can advertise conferences and colloquia we are hosting. People in the community who have a specific area of interest could be informed of upcoming courses, conferences, and paper presentations. Social media would allow for us to reach a whole new level of customers.
Audio podcasts could be a valuable tool for students with disabilities, students who miss lectures, and to reiterate various points. As the world becomes more and more computer based, we could start offering on-line courses to meet another growing consumer field.
Video podcasts could help facilitate learning in an interactive way. This would also help when instructors are not available to answer student inquiries or for students who need to make-up seminars that have been missed. Either video or audio podcast could meet these needs.
In any regard social media allows for transparency. This could be seen as good or bad. The legal implications regarding postings of comments for certain faculty and courses may prove to open a Pandora’s box. With the advancement of social media it will be essential that adequate staffing be in place to provide ongoing review of media sites to ensure nothing libelous appears that could harm the professionalism of the site and the department on a whole. Conversations within the university setting should be open but they should be commented on in a responsible professional manner. Addressing concerns and coming to a quick resolution will always help in lessening the negative impact on these sites.
The first item that needs to be developed is a policy on how the department will use social media and what outcomes we would like to see fulfilled through social media. How we are going to expose our site and the links that would be advantageous for meeting our goals of being part of social media world. LinkedIn is where we could be linked on a professional level so that people would know where to start a dialogue. Universal departmental access should be available for anyone in the department wishing to post to Twitter and Facebook. There would always be an administrator but adequate backup would need to be in place with full disclosure to management of the access rights.
The next point would be to have a back-up plan in place if something does go wrong with the site.
Possible tracking options would have to be in place
Monitoring all social media sites on an ongoing basis. The plan would have to be detailed as to who does this as well as how often, back-up coverage, and follow-up.
Details must be made for who is ultimately responsible for the social media sites. Is it on an administrative level or does it reach as high as the department head who then answers to the Dean of the faculty or ultimately the President of the university. In any regard, clear chains of command need to be strictly enforced.
Taking into consideration all of the above, I contacted our IT department to find that we do not have a formal policy for social media. I then contacted our Faculty and again was told that we did not have a formal policy. The third step was to approach University Relations and again I was told we had an informal policy that had yet to be accepted. Part of me found this very disconcerting. Is it because social media has expanded so fast that policies have not caught up? This in itself has spurred an interest in me. Should this be developed? Should I be involved in social development on all levels? Since one of the points made in Chapter eleven is to make sure you have policies in place, I think it is prudent to ensure that this is in place before our department takes on the social media mode of communication.2
1. Kabani, Shama Hyder, The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buss, and Increase Revenue, Benbella Books Inc., 2012, pp. 4.
2. Kabani, Shama Hyder, The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buss, and Increase Revenue, Benbella Books Inc., 2012, pp. 180-184