This post is three-fold, and I will discuss all three in a broad way; there is a difference between social media in:
- the IT field alone,
- in higher eds alone,
- IT within higher eds (IT department in a College, for instance)
The IT Field
This one goes two ways – companies are either tweeting the overly technical information (new device specifications – stuff you’d find in a manual, which in my opinion, is the not-so-great use) to the gearheads out there who keep track of all the updated devices and features and operating systems, or they’re posting about wicked new innovations, journeys, or campaigns (I.e. technology developed to move objects with your brain, augmented reality, etc – in my opinion, the better use). Two of the places I follow for the latter (because I’m no techie, and I have no interest in a device’s IMEI or its firmware – no disrespect to anyone who does! It’s just over my head, is all) are FastCompany and Mashable. There are new innovations posted on these two sites daily, our world is moving forward at a rate I’m not sure we even know how to keep up with. I can’t wait to see what ten years from now will look like.
Based on my observation, higher eds (main identities for universities or colleges) use social media to promote their programs, services available, campus events (or College-related events), as well as previous or current students who are doing great things, and to me, this is what social media is all about – spreading the word about things and people who are making a difference, or at least on their way there) Social media has actually changed a lot of these institutions’ approach to the admissions process. For instance, on MIT University’s admissions page, the first thing you see are these blog posts that are written by students, and they’ve chronicled their journey to and from MIT. What better way to sell yourself? They’ve put all of the admissions babble (I.e. admissions fees, policies, any other relevant babble) subsequent to the most important pieces – testimonials. It’s brilliant.
IT within Higher Eds
If you look at an institution like MIT University in the States, their use of social media in this realm would be much different than ours here at Algonquin, in that MIT is a forward-thinking, innovation-driven, prodigy in advancing information technology and being a force behind many breakthroughs in this area. MIT will often tweet or post pictures, videos, or tidbits of what’s going on in their classrooms with the most advanced technology and most up and coming developers and designers. Not to Algonquin’s discredit, but we just aren’t there. Algonquin, and more specifically the IT department, uses social media to communicate changes to/outages/maintenance to critical College systems (I.e. Blackboard, e-mail, etc). We’ll also use it to retweet content about really interesting things that are commonly known and current within the IT world (I.e. the Google Glass Project), or we’ll use it to help people connect to our wireless infrastructure or configure e-mail on their mobile device. Depending on the issue, we will also use Twitter to respond to complaints or questions regarding our services, and if it’s too complex or requires a work order, then we’ll send them off to the right place.