Social Media Adoption Soars as Higher-Ed Experiments and Reevaluates Its Use of New Communications Tools, According to New Research Study

Study examines social media adoption by US colleges and universities

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Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Society for New Communications Research

Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, PhD, Senior Fellow, Society for New Communications Research & Chancellor Professor of Marketing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

“There is continued evidence of enthusiasm and eagerness to embrace these new communication tools, and there is now evidence that schools are adding some tools and dropping others,” stated Barnes.

Dartmouth, MA / San Jose, CA (PRWEB) July 26, 2011

While it is no surprise that virtually every US college and university is using at least one form of social media to recruit prospective students, it is surprising to see these institutions move away from MySpace and message boards to focus on Facebook, Twitter and blogging. This trend is among the key findings of the most recent study conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes and Ava M. Lescault, of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. Dr. Barnes is a Senior Fellow and Research Chair of the Society for New Communications Research.

The new report is the outcome of a statistically-valid study of the nation’s four-year accredited colleges and universities. The study examined these institutions to quantify their adoption of social media tools and technologies. This is the fourth year that University of Massachusetts has tracked social media adoption by the higher-education sector. The findings are based on 456 interviews conducted during the 2010-2011 academic year and have a margin of error of +/-4%.

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.

The study’s key findings include:

  • 100% of US colleges and universities use at least one form of social media; 34% growth over 2007.
  • 98% now have a Facebook page.
  • 84% have a presence on Twitter.
  • 66% have a blog, up from 51% last year. Of these, 44% have developed policies to govern online communications.
  • 41% are using podcasting to deliver sample lectures and student perspectives, up almost 20% in one year.
  • Use of message boards has leveled off; 20% are trying Foursquare.
  • The use of MySpace has declined from 16% to 8% in one year.
  • 19% of colleges and universities report using social networking sites to recruit and evaluate potential students.

“There is continued evidence of enthusiasm and eagerness to embrace these new communication tools, and there is now evidence that schools are adding some tools and dropping others as they mature in their understanding and use of social media,” stated Barnes.

“Schools using social media are clearly engaged in the online world in order to better connect with Millennials and others with the ultimate goal of increasing their effectiveness in recruiting prospective students,” added Lescault.

A full copy of the new research report can be downloaded at: http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/studiesresearch/

Additionally, Barnes and Lescault will publish a paper based on the findings in an upcoming issue of the Society for New Communications Research’s Journal of New Communications Research and the findings will be presented at the Society for New Communications Research’s Annual Research Symposium to be held November 3-4, 2011 at the Harvard University Faculty Club.

About the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

The Center’s mission is to facilitate the economic development of the region by providing an affordable, high-quality economic alternative to meeting business needs for research, training, and consulting in any and all aspects of Marketing. The Center for Marketing Research is associated with and maintains a close relationship with the Chambers of Commerce within southeastern Massachusetts. This unique relationship provides the Center with an effective business networking capability. For more information, visit http://www.umassd.edu/cmr/.

About the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR)

The Society for New Communications Research is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education foundation and think tank focused on the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society. For more information, visit http://sncr.org.

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