This is a sponsored guest post.
Social media is rapidly becoming the most utilised platform of communication around the world, with users growing in number every day across multiple popular sites including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With the vast majority of students always carrying around some variation of connected device, their profile and communication platforms are quite literally always in their hand, meaning they are available and online a large percentage of the time.
Social media doesn’t just offer an always-on method of communication but sees many users using platforms as a way to share activities in the daily lives, plans, ambitions and some may use it as a sounding board or way to vent. This type of use, not dissimilar from a type of journaling, wasn’t necessarily a poor use in the early days of social media when it was exclusively used by students in higher education. However, present-day use, when brands, businesses, and schools themselves are also utilising social media for communication and marketing means, has seen some negative media attention bought to historic social media posts from both students and working professionals. It is also helpful to find out how to retain customers because that will definitely benefit your business.
A severe recent example is that of Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2 Director James Gunn who was recently fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 for a decade old series of offensive tweets. Further examples see YouTube stars in trouble over old social media posts and employees even fired over past social media posts.
With the recent rise of social media blame, we look at reasons why social media platforms should have a place in education and explore if schools should be expected to do more in educating their students on the importance of cautious social media content.
What Benefits Does Social Media Bring to Education?
There are plenty of benefits that social media can bring to education and educational institutions, in that it provides a large platform of communication for keeping students up to date on events, campus activities, health and safety notices, etc. In addition to offering students a way to quickly and easily stay up to date, the public nature of the platforms makes it available to parents as well, so they may better coordinate themselves with their child in regards to term times and holidays.
Social media can encourage collaboration between students, giving them an easy-to-use, ready-made platform for group communication where links can be distributed for shared resources or project work. It reduces the need to try and organise meet up times in otherwise busy academic schedules and students can drop in and out of a conversation where necessary to exchange ideas and plans. Collaboration is an important step towards successful networking which can be extremely important in an already competitive graduate job market. Building these educational networks is made easier by social media, where relationships can be further fostered into strong friendships over just acquaintances and students can take the opportunity to converse in a less strict environment.
This increased opportunity for student connections and discussion has shown to make students feel more involved with their institution and has revealed an increase in the number of students who see their education through to completion. Not only are connections more readily available at the fingertips of students but through the use of hashtags, social media users can easily keep track of posts relevant to their course and institution of study. This rapid exchange of information has benefited schools and educational institutions greatly, reducing the costs of mailing and marketing and freeing up more time and faculty resource for students who may need increased levels of guidance.
One of the strongest benefits of a social media presence in education is the development of social media-driven careers, from management, content writers and content creators. Students that regularly use social media on a day to day basis are constantly growing and expanding their knowledge and skillset for those particular platforms. The students with an interest or who are actively studying online and digital marketing will find the use of social media platforms particularly advantageous to their future job requirements and should be actively encouraged to use and explore multiple different platforms. As opposed to finding and focusing on a select niche or platform. Social media can be quite fast moving, the rise and fall of the video sharing site Vine is an excellent example of how fast platforms can come and go.
There are plenty of ways to show an interest in social media, running similar-interest groups and helping others network or build an online presence for themselves and efficient use of social media platforms can be a great contribution to extra-curriculum requirements required by plenty of higher education institutions. These extra-curriculum interests can be particularly helpful for profile building and self-representation. Students that find they are struggling to put together an appropriate profile for their application to higher educational institutions can seek to advise or support from educational concierge services. This goes especially for students looking to get into prestigious universities including Ivy League, Oxbridge or Russell Group schools.
Should Schools Offer More Education on Social Media Content?
We are well within the digital age now and in previous years, schools have been in the centre of ongoing rows about efficient education in all manners of digital media. While the next generation of coders and developments are gradually being educated and sent out into the job market, there is a distinct lack of focus on schools teaching students the importance of being aware the impact their social media content can have. Particularly as we move into an age where employees are researching potential employment candidates and looking through social media history so to make an informed decision on the type of individual their candidates are.
Althoug, aside from students, schools need to be more aware of their content than ever before, especially with education costs rising and the student numbers shrinking, they want to represent themselves in the correct way. This “correct way” is likely to be very different to how a brand or public business markets themselves across social media platforms and this recent swing towards “fun” or “jokey” posts has already been shown to have heavy consequences. A recent social media exchange on Twitter between the University of Essex and Leeds Beckett University in the UK, received a huge amount of negative attention after a small “joke” made by the University of Essex was misconstrued as a public attack on another post by Leeds Beckett Uni.
Social media platforms will only continue to be used for communication going forward and whether these remain focused on the most popular Facebook and Twitter, for example, or whether new platforms will work their way into popularity as generations progress through educational years. In conclusion, schools are in the public eye more than ever and should be working together with their students to discuss expectations around social media content and how to effectively represent themselves with their futures in mind while keeping it a personal platform.