Social Media and the IR Professional

​Institutional research professionals use social media as a way to share information within the higher education community. In a recent survey, AIR set out to learn more about how social media is used for IR-related activities, and how institutions regulate social media usage by staff and faculty.

Sixty-three percent of AIR members surveyed* said they use some form of social media for professional purposes. LinkedIn is the most popular social media outlet for IR-related use, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

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IR practitioners use social media for a variety of professional purposes. Sixty-four percent of the survey respondents who use social media for IR work reported they use it as a means to network. For example:  
  • Participation in the AIR LinkedIn discussion group is important. I [met] with colleagues at the AIR Forum for an in-depth discussion of a topic that was raised on the online discussion group.

  • I use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and to research the job responsibilities of others. I use Facebook to find information about alumni and friends of the College when needed.

  • While at a conference, using Twitter allows me to identify other professionals in my areas of interest and expertise, and allows me to connect to their content and the information they share through social media.

Others mentioned using social media as a public-relations tool for activities, such as communicating facts about the university to engage stakeholders and marketing surveys to student groups.

Some institutions have enacted policies to define how social media should be used in professional settings. Seventeen percent of all respondents reported that their institutions have social media policies, and that they are familiar with those policies. The largest group of respondents (44%) noted their institutions do not have social media policies.

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Social media usage in the world continues to grow—and with it, the practical applications of social media for IR practitioners and higher education professionals continue to expand.

* AIR randomly selected 530 members of the Association to participate in the study. We collected 188 responses for a 35% response rate.

Do you use social media for professional reasons? Does your institution have a social media policy? Share your comments and advice for using social media below.

 
 

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