What is social media?

For the purposes of these guidelines, the phrase social media will refer to any and all externally hosted websites and networking platforms allowing user generated content, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr, Wikipedia, wikis and blogs.

Why do I need to use social media?

This is the first question that anyone considering using social media for professional or academic purposes should ask themselves.

Running a social media account properly requires a significant investment of time and resources, so it is not something that should be entered into without due consideration and proper cost/benefit analysis.

Here are some good reasons to start using social media:

  • I want to disseminate my research to an international audience.
  • I would like to publicise my courses to, and communicate with, prospective students.
  • I would like to be part of discussions with experts in my subject area from all over the world.

Here are some not-so-good reasons to start using social media:

  • All of my colleagues are doing it.
  • My boss wants me to do it. 

The examples given in the first list, the good reasons to start using social media, are specific aims that a strategy or campaign could be built around.

The examples given in the second list, the not-so-good reasons to start using social media, are not objectives that could inform a strategy. They are vague and do not point towards any specific purpose or actions.

If you can answer the question “why do you need to use social media?”, with one or more specific objectives that a strategy could be built around, then you are ready to start building a social media strategy.