Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes is Chancellor Professor of Marketing at UMass Dartmouth as well as Center Director of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. Since 2007-2008, she has been producing groundbreaking research on the use of social media tools and techniques in higher education nationwide. Her specific emphasis has been on how colleges and universities are using social media to recruit students. As she explains, her initial study explored this fundamental question — How does a college or university recruit in this new, highly networked, constantly “on” world? That study has been repeated every academic year since and now provides a longitudinal look at the adoption of social media by colleges and universities. On Thursday, August 18th, as part of the UMassOnline Speaker Series, Dr. Barnes will visit the UMassOnline offices in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, to present the most recent findings by her and Ava M. Lescault based on 456 higher education sector interviews conducted during the 2010-2011 academic year. The 9am event is open to the public and offered at no charge.
If you are in any way associated with student recruiting in higher education and if you want more insight into the social media tools being used by students and faculty today — and why — you won’t want to miss this chance to hear the findings and engage in direct Q&A with Dr. Barnes. Social media adoption is soaring in higher education, Dr. Barnes notes. She explains: For the “always connected” generation, multi-tasking, hand-held devices and nearly constant communication are normal. Millennials, the generation born after 1980, are far less likely to have land-line phones, but they have Facebook profiles, a Twitter presence and send and receive as many as 50 texts everyday (according to a recent Nielsen Report). Their involvement with technology exceeds any other generation and presents an enormous challenge for those targeting this hyper-connected group. For US institutions of higher education, the competition for these students is fierce and survival ultimately depends on engaging them through the use of social media and new communications tools.
And, did you know, higher education’s use of social media is outpacing that of business. The following comes from a news release about Dr. Barnes’ recent findings, issued by the Society for New Communications Research where Dr. Barnes is a Senior Fellow and Research Chair: The research shows that colleges and universities continue to quickly embrace social media as their adoption of blogging outpaces the Fortune 500 (23% have a blog), the Inc. 500 (50%) and Forbes top charities (64%). Meanwhile, this latest research shows that 66% of colleges and universities have a blog at their school.