As part of my research into possibilities for universities to make use of the plethora of social media around, I put out a message on my Twitter feed, and picked up a few new followers working at the overlap of social media/academia, and it’s interesting to see what is popping up in this constantly changing field.
Last week (Thursday 26th March), YouTube officially launched an independent area of its site (to which Universities need to apply, and at present seems to be US universities only, but where the US leads, the rest of the world follows…) which seperates scholarly content from the more general content available on YouTube. Along with site Academic Earth which also launched last week, offering lectures direct on the World Wide Web…
Scott Stocker, Stanford’s director of Web Communications notes: “Particularly in this time when the coverage of higher ed in general is diminishing in the mainstream media, it allows us to tell stories directly in a very effective way to a large audience.” Wall Street Journal Blog
It’s an interesting time to be in academia, seeing what possibilities the new technologies offer, but also being aware that they need to offer a return on investment (both time and money), and to most effectively leverage the media available whilst retaining intellectual property.
Birmingham City University is to offer an MA in Social Media in September 2009, and the Twitter feed has been buzzing with feeds, and the press has quickly picked up on it, publishing online material several hours before it could make it to print.
There is a dichotomy within this nascent industry. On the one hand established businesses are seeking to co-opt the tools of social media and use them for commercial gain; on the other third sector organisations are making use of these tools to build complex and conversational communication strategies for minimal cost.
This MA programme will explore the techniques of social media, consider the development and direction of social media as a creative industry, and will contribute new research and knowledge to the field.” Birmingham City University.
An interesting idea: “our student blogs aim to give you an insight into what it’s really like to be a student at Glasgow”, which they could also do via a search on YouTube! Interesting to think about the dynamic between official/unofficially sanctioned media. My expectation is that prospective students would trust the unofficial (looking) material more!