This year marked my first time at the EDUCAUSE national conference. In case you haven’t experienced it, this conference is on an entirely new level for me. Almost 7,000 attendees milled the halls of the Anaheim Convention Center 12-15 October, and another thousand watching the streamed events online. From my perspective, it was seriously overwhelming.
I arrived early to present a pre-conference workshop on Managing Your Social Media, and my attendees were largely administrators and IT professionals who wanted to better understand social media. While they recognized the popularity of social media and were interested in integrating it at their institution, they were concerned about productivity lost in the workplace and handling critical posting and commenting in online forums. Basic concepts discussed included community building opportunities for both staff as well as students, building community engagement, moderating and guiding communities as opposed to controlling, and how to handle negative commenting and posting. Significant interest in Facebook management took us off-roading from the established plan but highlighted a major theme I’ve seen within higher ed social media–leveraging existing facebook communities to extend marketing, recruiting, and educational efforts. It makes sense, and has convinced me to get more involved with Facebook administration, if only to help show others how.
Getting my workshop out of the way first allowed me to explore EDUCAUSE. The options of presentations and topics was insane; and yet, many of the ones I attended were at capacity, so I can see how that many offerings are necessary for the amount of attendees. The general session keynotes were helpful to start out the day, but I will admit that the next step was harder. Given the group I work with, I decided to explore some of the social media efforts being led across the country. To this end, these are the specific sessions I sought out to complement the overview of the general sessions.
Top-10 Questions to Consider When Implementing Social Media: Perspectives of Different Campuses: One of the few sessions I knew I wanted to see before I went to EDUCAUSE, it included Shannon Ritter (one of my favorite Penn State people in social media), AJ Kelton (Montclair State University), and Tanya Joosten (University Wisconsin at Milwaukee), who I really wanted to meet face-to-face after following her online for so long. Very similar outlooks in terms of how social media can engage students, but offered the added benefit of doing so from a pedagogical standpoint. The theme here? Social media can be guided, but not controlled. Trust authenticity, and trust the people you have working for you in social media.