Everyone is on the bandwagon of social media. Everyone believes they must be involved, ‘doing it’, part of the new thing that social media is reckoned to be. And the poor old (very old) concept of the university cannot escape this.So who is a university social media expert? Who can we turn to that we actually believe IS an expert, who isn’t just a stats chaser, a shiny gizmo chaser, a kudos chaser? Well, in my view, no one. No one is an expert. We have a variety of job titles put before us as likely contenders – the marketing and ‘comms’ people, the IT people, the HR people. I’ve yet to see any academics – who let’s face it are the most involved in this – ever being asked, certainly beyond some cursory ‘elearning’ remit. All this is just weird.
My own involvement has come about through several years in market and newspaper research, then in sales in a youth orientated market sector (the rock business) all in the context of prior rockstar training with one of the best Rock Svengalis in the UK. Having also started my work life in youth work, and more recently been very busy as an HE lecturer in web and multimedia, it all adds up. I feel just slightly qualified to talk about how to communicate, when and what to communicate – 10,000 or more interviews over a period between 1990 and 2003 (not continuously!) give me that right – as well as how to advise on the technical aspects of social media in the comm’s chain. Jus sayin’. I’m a communications expert, especially in the 18-30 age group demographic. But I am still not a social media expert. There is no such thing, in my opinion.
The people who can communicate effectively to given demographic sector(s), and produce measurable results from their communication strategy perhaps (most certainly) should be involved in any social media strategy conversation.
I await my being summoned to the expert review of current strategy and policy in our esteemed organisation, but I’m not holding my breath.
Current ‘social’ work: