Over the course of the past decade, higher education has been profoundly impacted by changes in technology. Distance education, MOOCs, and even campus e-alert systems have exploded in the past decade. And then there is social media.
Think about how quickly this has occurred. I became a president in 2004. That was the year Facebook was founded. Two years later, Twitter is created. Apple introduces the iPhone in 2007. Four year after that, in 2010, Instagram is launched and the iPad is presented.
For me, someone who has never been president at a time when Facebook did not exist, I have grown with social media, learning it along with the rest of the world, including students. Just when you start to master one area, something new comes along and then you have to debate whether or not you will use this new tool, or keep what you have.
The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, in their annual study of social media usage at colleges and universities found that over half of presidents use Facebook and Twitter, and a third host a blog. This level of participation is much greater than that of Fortune 500 CEO, which makes perfect sense given the population college presidents primarily serve.
But there are still many presidents who are still unsure of social media and might believe that it is not a good use of their time or something that is the providence of the young.
However there is a role that presidents can and should play in the social media sphere. I'd like to offer a few ideas about how presidents can use social media. And even if entering the social media sphere is disconcerting initially, the benefits far greatly outweigh the discomfort.
In his chapter, Dr. Kimbrough offers a number of social media options for presidents to embrace.
- Leading and Learning: Structures and Strategies for Accelerating Innovation
Dr. Karen A. StoutPresident, Montgomery County Community College
- The Future is Now: Educating Students to Thrive in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous World
Dr. Robert E. JohnsonPresident, Becker College
- Embracing the Paradigm Shift
Patricia McGuirePresident, Trinity Washington University