Caught a news piece about the new Gallup study on the impact of social media (Social Media Fail to Live Up to Early Marketing Hype) and thought that a number of the “learnings” expressed by the companies that were included were worth thinking about in terms of education.
The article included excerpts from the Gallup study (released June 23, 2014) and examples of companies that have shifted their approach to using social media. Some of the findings reported in the Gallup study were that consumers didn’t welcome the “hard sell” approach and that they were “…highly adept at tuning out brand-related Facebook and Twitter content.” (Gallup, 2014). Companies discovered that many fans, followers or friends were false and that numbers could be inflated for pennies. Companies also found that they reached more fans on Facebook when friends shared content, thus showing that conversation was more important than simply posting.
Companies like Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. changed their approach to social media because they felt that the rapid increase in fans might actually result in a decreased engagement with their customers. Instead they analyzed social media interactions to try and determine what guests really liked or found annoying. Other companies find a large fan base allows them to analyze the data of clicks and comments to find out which products or shows are most popular and why.
What could this mean for social media in education?
While social media such as blogs and wikis are already incorporated into many courses, most teachers are cautious about integrating popular social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Privacy risks appear to be paramount but some teacher also view them as a distraction to learning.
But online learning could benefit from a judicious use of popular social media sites to generate more “buzz” around a course or to encourage students to respond to special events that are relevant to course topics or themes. If a teacher uses Facebook or Twitter to post timely reports or new research or current events, students might be more likely to “Like” or comment and share their views. It is a fairly straightforward task to harvest and share the “social chatter” and display results visually within a course site or by emailing to students?
We need to become more thoughtful and responsive to keep our students engaged. Social media is still an avenue of communication that’s worth exploring.