A very social education

Jenni Armstrong

Former Brand and Content Manager, Google

In an age where nothing has actually happened unless it has ‘happened’ on social, and children are practically born knowing how to slide the screen of an iPhone, it’s no wonder that educational facilities – both online and off – are starting to capitalise on the potential of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook not only to engage their students, but also to promote them.

In the last few years, social usage has changed from a platform for personal expression into a weird and wonderful market with limitless possibilities, and where networking and business acumen has become the norm. Almost all clever businesses have a Twitter presence, using hash-tags and @mentions to engage and inform their fans and customers – so why should education be any different?

As is the case in many a classroom or lecture hall, it’s all about interpretation – and that’s what more and more schools and universities are discovering. The previously student-only arena of social media used predominantly for socialising has started to change the parameters of how schools promote themselves and the students that represent them.

In the current economic climate, it’s largely been general consensus that getting the job you want straight out of university is about as likely to happen as getting struck by lightening in central London, but with the increasing use of Twitter as a networking tool students are finding that getting their potential realised might really be as easy as clicking a button.

It’s not just cases like this that warrant note, but the institutions themselves that use these platforms to interact with their students. Almost every notable university worldwide now has a Facebook page to update students on what’s going on around campus, post tutorials and engage students on matters that really interest them.

For those who thought social media was just the purview of the younger generation, it’s becoming abundantly clear that it is here to stay – and nothing says that more than institutions previously shackled to tradition opening their minds to its possibilities.

The question remains, are they too late? Have we already moved to online education – and will we ever come back?

Aiden Carrol is part of our team of expert tutors on Squared Online. Find out more about Squared Online: you can give us a ring on +44 (0) 20 7173 5938, or download the brochure to read about the course and the Squared experience.

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