Social Media in the Education Industry

Social media is everywhere…as most of us know! One area where you may not expect to see it and hear professionals using it is in education, every institution from K-12 through colleges. Of course without social media and the study of it, the class I’m taking now would not be possible! When I graduated from high school five years, social media was just starting to be “popular” so many of my teachers and classmates were either just starting to use it or didn’t know what it was yet. But things have changed a lot in the past five years, so just how is social media used in education today?

Many colleges use the common tools of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. However I’m sure there are several other tools used by other universities. What have you seen with other schools? How do they utilize social media? My undergraduate school used social media as a tool to build a community with students. It was all about community for them. So that included interactive Facebook pages where students could comment, post questions or concerns, enter contests and trivia, and find out about the latest happenings at the university. Twitter was utilized in much the same way. YouTube featured several professionally-done videos highlighting departments, people, and the campus. LinkedIn is used for those just starting in the workforce, where they can follow the university’s page and ask for help with resumes, interviews, and even get recommendations. These social media sites are not just for current students, it’s also used as a marketing tool to attract future students to the university. So in today’s world of teenagers using social media, colleges need to make sure they where the teenagers are as well. Here is an interesting infographic from Sahil Shah’s post about social media in education (see it here, bigger version:

Of course, social media isn’t just used in higher education, K-12 educators are using as well. According to a survey, 61% of educators in K-12 reported they had joined a social network (Software & Information Industry Association, 2011). The survey also reported the main purposes of those schools using social media were to build brand awareness, increase the loyalty of customers, general knowledge, and to create support groups. In fact, “Facebook has made serious efforts to try and ensure they reach out to parents and the education community, addressing concerns regarding the use of the platform by children and teens. They have created a resource for teachers that answers some common questions such as what to do if you suspect abusive behavior on Facebook, how to hide your personal Facebook profile from yours students and how to report underage users” (Peyton, 2011). Do you think K-12 educators should be “friends” or “follow” their students on social networks?

I work for a school district’s community education department and we manage the district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. We primarily use it as an announcement factor where we update users of events or important information for parents and students. Some school districts even have a blog by the superintendent. How have you seen K-12 social media being used? What do you think are the benefits of it for those age ranges and their parents?

Peyton, L. (2011, Septemeber 14). Breaking down top Facebook pages for the education industry. Retrieved from

Shah, S. (2011). How social media is changing the education industry. Retrieved from

Software & Information Industry Association. (2011, June 8). Survey: Social media rising in education industry. Retrieved from


2 thoughts on “Social Media in the Education Industry

  1. Consdiering that Facebook, which has greatly popularized Social Media, was created on a college campus, it is only fitting that Social Media remains a part of Social Media. I think Social Media could be a powerful tool to better engage parents of K-12 students in their education and schools. We have a Campus Portal App that lets us see our children’s grades as they are entered which lets us take action immediately whenever grades slip. A Social Media addition to this App would enhance the experience and ability to collaborate with the school staff to the benefit of our children.

    As for universities, I understand the atttraction of engage with students on Facebook and Twitter. However, universities have typically been organized in campuses to create an enviornment and community around organization. I wonder if it would be better to create a separate space, a virtual campus, to enhance the education experience. At the same time, this separate space would provide a more private community for interaction and exploration without the distraction of a public space nor recrimination from future employers for youthful indescretions.

  2. Lisa,

    I enjoyed your post. We don’t always think about education in the aspect of social media. I think that us as online students do more since we are all only communicating on the computer and not in a classroom. I am experiencing this with the K-12 age since my son is in first grade and also in the college environment. This year more than last year I am seeing more involvement in social media with my son’s school. They now have a Facebook page for updates this is great especially to find out school closings and events. My son’s school basketball team also have a Facebook page which was great to make sure I had the right game times and made it to all of the special events.

    In the college perspective I have only gone to SNHU for my undergrad and graduate degrees. Going back to school for my graduate degree a couple years later was different social media wise than the undergrad degree. Now Facebook is a lot more popular and used than it was before. Now I am Facebook friends with my academic adviser here. Even Blackboard changed to doing blogs and becoming more “tech savy” I would describe it.

    Yes, we all did function before all of this social media before now but this is a lot more convenient than it was before. As such a busy parent any help I can get with making sure I am where I should be is a great help.

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