"How did you get into social media?"
I guess it was in my first year of university when my roommate showed me this new website called Facebook. Our residences were spread out across campus so it was an easy way for everyone from class to stay connected. YouTube also became popular that year and I remember spending many days creating and uploading videos when I should have been studying for exams.
I also got on Twitter rather early too. I remember when it launched at South by Southwest in 2007 and at the time it was mainly the tech crowd who were the early adopters. It wasn’t until 2009 when celebrities joined and I noticed CNN began to promote their Twitter handles did I think, “Wow, this is going to be big.”
When I was an international student studying in Australia I learned how universities are seeking to recruit more international students. Some of the methods are expensive and not always in the best interest of the student (such as hiring agents), so I thought that social media was a better way for both students and universities to connect.
"What is one social media tool you cannot live without now?"
It would have to be the suite of social media monitoring tools we use. Enterprise applications such as Radian6, Sysomos and Alterian SM2 can cost thousands of dollars a month, putting it out of reach of many university budgets. There is also the time and training it takes to really get the most out of these tools. So we make it simple for the schools that want the essential intelligence they’re missing out on, but don’t necessarily have the time or money to do it themselves.
"What is one thing you wish you knew about social media that would have made getting involved with it easier?"
A lot of people hear about Twitter and Facebook and say “Oh I don’t need to use those. That’s for my kids.” But that doesn’t apply anymore. There’s something for everyone on social media. So many different communities to interact with. So many experts and interesting people to follow. Just jump in and have fun.
What do you think is social media’s biggest impact has been on international education?
I believe there are three areas where social media is having a significant effect on international education.
1) It allows for universities to market themselves to a vast audience. You can share content across social networks and have it disseminated by students around the world, with minimal effort and marketing dollars. It helps bridge the gap between large and small schools.
2) It makes getting in touch with students easier. It can difficult to reach a student on the phone or through traditional mail when they’re on the other side of the world. But they are likely on Twitter, Facebook or Skype all day.
3) You receive instant feedback about your school. Students might not fill out those end of semester evaluations, but they won’t think twice about posting a quick status update if they have a complaint or compliment. This feedback is useful for the university so they know what they’re doing right and what needs fixing.
Why do you continue to use social media?
We are only at the beginning of social media. It took 20 years for the global internet population to reach 2 billion users. In the next 2 to 3 years, that number is expected to double. This will happen because smartphones and tablet prices are dropping rapidly. So new users from developing countries will be connected to the internet for the first time. What will they say? How will they act? What will we learn from them?
Social media is going to be immersed in our everyday lives. It will be integrated in our televisions, cars, appliances, everything! It’s our way of staying connected to everyone and everything happening in the world. It’s an incredible exciting time to live in.
"How does social media influence your international education job?"
At Genius Recruiter we provide social media monitoring for universities and colleges. The benefits of having us do this rather than someone in your own department is that
1) it’s cheaper
2) our team goes much deeper than simple tools allow
3) we provide leads for prospective international students that make a good match for your institution
Social media adoption among universities has skyrocketed over the last few years to nearly 100%. At the same time, the number of students going abroad for an education is increasing every year. But reaching these prospective students via traditional methods is expensive. Social media provides the opportunity for institutions to connect with these students at minimal cost. It’s also one of the few ways that smaller schools can compete with the top schools that rely on big marketing dollars and their international reputation to attract foreign students.
Danny Newman is the founder and CEO of Genius Recruiter. He was an international postgraduate student when he studied Diplomacy and International Relations in Australia. He is passionate about the internet, technology, and world travel. You can contact Danny on Twitter @RecruiterGenius, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://geniusrecruiter.com
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