Survey: College Admins Love Social Media But Unsure If It’s Helping

Here’s an interesting bit of news from the 2012 CASE Social Media Survey. Apparently college administrators are overwhelmingly fans of social media but don’t actually see any measured results from use.

In other words, it’s still too early to tell if all this push into social media is helping schools accomplish goals. Whether those goals are revenue-based, enrollment-based, or simply trying to connect with the college community … everyone’s loving social media even though it may not be working.

According to Inside Higher Ed, not much appears to have changed since 2010.Officials remains steadfast in their faith that social media is working for them. In this year’s survey, 96 percent agreed that “social media have great potential for achieving important goals in my unit.” Nearly 90 percent assessed their unit’s social media efforts as at least “somewhat successful.” Asked whether it is “too soon to say whether social media will be useful at all in our line of work,” 86 percent disagreed.

These figures represent virtually no change from the first iteration of the CASE survey two years ago, when 93 percent vouched for the potential of social media to help achieve goals, 87 percent called their own efforts successful, and 80 percent had little doubt social media were useful.

Does A Retweet Actually Matter?

It’s interesting to note that the study makes some great points. It says that we’re still using very “crude” metrics like ‘retweets,’ ‘followers,’ and ‘likes.’ That’s likely because these figures are the simplest to find, understand, and measure.

But does a retweet on Twitter or a like on Facebook actually matter? According to the study, we still don’t know. Sorry to burst your bubble of excitement.

Andrew Gossen, executive director of social media strategy at Cornell University, said many institutions probably still use blunt instruments because “they’re easy to collect and report,” and “if you’re under pressure to quantify your success, this is better than nothing.”

How To Use Your Social Networks

Therefore, I simply recommend you keep using social media as YOU want to. Do what’s working for you and your school. If you’re sick of Twitter or Facebook, don’t feel obligated to use either service. If you love Twitter or another social network, use it as much as you can. Because according to this study … no one knows what’s working on social media.

So you might as well just figure it out for yourself. I mean that in the nicest way possible. Social media is like the wild west these days and it’ll still be a few more years until it’s mature enough to have higher quality metrics, studies, and more. I can’t wait!


  1. Joey

    August 30, 2012 at 4:40 am

    For he last year and a half I was a DOA. I was at first against using the social media but after my advisors follow up with their students, we found it worked amazing So many students were helped through Face book.

  2. Reindeer Instructor

    September 12, 2012 at 4:14 am

    Current ramifications, if are not positive, then are drivel… I’m a health care provider for the elderly and there is no question the pay off from all these social networks will be nothing but positive during everyone’s senior years (old age); I can go on about all the specifics – case examples – using buzz words like, loneliness, depression, memories of the past, regression, cognitive skills etc…

    So in closing and in my opinion; the price we pay now with the youth is small and only transitional, compared to when “their” all seniors (or at least the prominent generation) and can be considered “old hat’s” at the Social Network game, follow? Therefore carving things out, setting the example, for the next generation that follow.