Moving Students From Passive Interest To Investment Online

Mike Arauz has a great presentation on SlideShare about the “spectrum of friendships” on social media.  Specifically, he asks, “What can brands learn from people who are good at making friends on the internet?”  This spectrum can also be applied to the world of higher education where institutions seek to promote students’ sense of belonging and connection to the institution.  As educators, we want to engage students in deeper relationships and dialogue.  Moving students towards investment accomplishes this.

So how does an institution get to this point?  How can institutions move from large to loyal audiences?  The story of my experiences with the JetBlue social media team is an excellent example of how to do this.  Part of the answer lies in the way we see social media.  If social media is merely an add-on, or if it is merely broadcasting, then these types of “friendships” will never form.  Instead, it requires that institutions dedicate themselves to building social media into the fabric of what they do.  It requires two-way communication.  It requires the sharing of interesting and valuable content and encouraging students to add to the dialogue.  It requires being genuine and human in one’s social media interactions.  It requires higher education to figure out how to communicate its values in online spaces.  Investment of our students is the ultimate “holy grail” of social media engagement.

  • How do you deepen this engagement with your students?
  • What are your success stories?
  • What are some of the transformative effects that can come from deep online engagement?

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