Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Is it the medium or the message?

External Affairs Committee this morning, and an interesting discussion on how social media can be used to enhance the profile of the University externally. Some concerns obviously - someone mentioned being the parent at the teenagers' party. Should we be encroaching into students' social space? Also there are fears from staff who have little or no experience of even the most rudimentary aspects of social media - we have a long way to go to improve new media literacy.

We explored some of the pitfalls, and some of the traps that other institutions and organisations have fallen into. Anyone spot the #cashgordon fiasco earlier this week?

Some concerns from staff about "how do we control the message". Answer - we can't anymore. But we need to be proactive - people will search for information on us wherever they can find it and we need to build up a web presence outside of our standard web site. We also touched on whether we should monitor and respond to criticism on web sites. This is an interesting one and needs to be considered in the light of individual circumstances - there will certainly be some cases where you will make things worse. The ENMAN Shared Information Security Service has developed a reputation dashboard which monitors social media sites like Twitter and Youtube to see what people are saying about you. I find it difficult to explain why - but I don't like it. Seems to be based on a fear of social media rather than embracing it, and just smacks too much of big brother to me.

But - lots of positive views, and some good examples of how we're using social media already, and where we'll be using it more in the future. Mainly to complement what we already do rather than replace. And an important point for us all to bear in mind - content is still king.

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