A recent social media survey run by the University of Waikato shows that students prefer to use Facebook as their main source of information about the University.
The online survey was compiled to gauge student opinion on the university’s social media engagement.
Of 114 students surveyed, 43% said they use Facebook more than any other social media site; the most popular university social media site is the central Facebook page which currently has more than 12,000 likes.
Sixty per cent of students indicated they prefer to learn about university news and events through official social media streams, with only 4% of those surveyed going directly to the website to locate news items. Almost 10% of students said they visit the university’s official social media presences more than once a day.
High level of engagement
Michelle Jordan-Tong, Head of Student and Academic Services at the University of Waikato, says the level of engagement through these media streams is a positive outcome for the university.
“We can see a significant peak in social media interaction particularly during big events like O’Week and Fieldays. Last year we gained 185 new Twitter followers during Fieldays alone, and 220 Facebook followers during O’Week.
“We have been embracing social media for the past year or so as a channel to engage with potential and current students. Although it was a relatively small survey, we’re confident we’re connecting well with students and sharing the Waikato experience.”
Engaging all stakeholders
Ms Jordan-Tong says that it’s great to see high interaction taking place not only with students, but with a wider range of stakeholders.
“It’s important for us as a university to evolve with technology and social media gives us the opportunity to keep up with a rapidly changing world. With social media we have better means to engage not only with students, but also with staff, stakeholders and alumni.
Using social media for projects
“Our staff and students are also using social media for projects, research and learning and of course the university is known for its open source software work. Professor Ian Witten from our Computer Science Department has been leading a team of researchers launching a series of videos into the Chinese market using YouTube and Youku, a Chinese video-hosting service. This open-source software allows language teachers to create structured practice exercises from ‘real’ language texts.”
“One of our alumni, Dr Craig Nevill-Manning, has also made a name in the digital world. He is the founder and director of Google’s first remote engineering centre in New York. He led the development of Froogle (now Google Product Search) and played a key role in developing Google Maps.”
Dr Nevill-Manning was recognised by the university in 2010 with a Distinguished Alumni Award.
The University of Waikato currently has 1,458 followers on Twitter with 150 YouTube subscribers, and more than 73,000 YouTube channel views.