In my previous post marking this blog’s third anniversary, I finally responded to Kyle James’ challenge to post something about how blogging has changed my work. But I didn’t get a chanceI also wanted to talk in broader terms about how blogging — and more broadly, social media — has changed work and the workplace.
The communications office in which I work seems to have embraced social media about as extensively as any higher ed office or organization I’m familiar with. Almost all of our staff members are on Facebook, at varying levels of activity. Our assistant director and two of our three managers use Twitter. We share calendars and schedules, using various software, from Outlook (not necessarily “social” media) to Yahoo pipes. We contribute to several of the blogs I mentioned in my earlier post. At least one other staff member blogs on a regular basis at a non-work site.
It should come as no surprise to any reader of this blog that I am an advocate of experimenting with social networking technology. If we in higher education aren’t dipping our toes into the water of the technology being embraced by the students, alumni and others we claim to serve, then we are going to become more and more out of touch with those audiences. I’m not saying we have to plunge into the deep waters of social media. But we could at least wade in.
Unfortunately I don’t see too many people in higher education embracing social media. I don’t see many managers or leaders in higher ed encouraging their staff or co-workers to use sites like Facebook. That’s too bad. Through Facebook I can stay in touch with current students and alumni as well as old pals from high school and connections I’ve made in higher education. The same goes for Twitter.
The other unfortunate thing I see is that too many of the “A list” higher ed social media people are limiting their use of social media to their personal blogs, Twitter streams and Facebook accounts. I wish more of them were involved in making inroads in the use of social media on their campuses. This is not to discount the Brad Wards and Kyle Jameses and others who are doing terrific work at their institutions. We just need more inroads. It’s 2008, after all.