At the AACSB Annual Conference in Chicago, Dr. Michael Williams from Pepperdine University gave an excellent, practical talk on some of the strategies we can adopt for using different social media efficiently in our jobs. Dr. Williams recognizes that “we are all trapped in a high flow information world” and struggling to cope with all the different media forms that exist. The meeting was organized by the Associate Deans Affinity Group and was attended by 70 delegates.
Dr. Williams is a self-confessed media fan; indeed, he was one of the first 500 members on Facebook when it was opened up from Harvard. From this experience then, he has come to realize that one of the keys to using social media is to understand the voice we want to project and then identify those people with whom we wish to enter into a discussion. This is a shift from a channel based to a platform based form of discussion. The first is akin to a telephone conversion, while the second is more like talking on a Debate Square or Agora. This led to a brief discussion on how the members of the audience were using social media.
How were members of the audience using different forms of media?
Nearly 70 Associate Deans attended the seminar and it was interesting to see the different ways in which they were using social media. Linked In and Facebook obviously came is as the most popular. Many people in the group were slightly uneasy that the boundaries within Facebook have become blurred between our personal and professional lives. Linked In is used by practically all of the participants, though one professor noted that most of the time she hadn’t gone beyond linking with her contacts. Half of those present have a Twitter account though only about 3 or 4 people were using this regularly. Similarly, none of those present were active on Google+ even though about 20 of the people actually had an account. Only one person was on Tumblr and very few people had heard of it. However, as Dr. Williams surmised, whether you want to use the media or not, other people are out talking about you and your institution.
What is the motivation to use social media?
According to Dr. Williams “technology acceptance models” show two variables have a massive impact on people’s intentions to using technology:
- Perceived usefulness (and not objective usefulness)
- Perception of ease of use
Rogers (1983) states that 5 factors will then have an impact on the adoption of technology; relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability. It is not possible to use all of these media, so we should decide which of them best suits our needs according to these criteria. From there, a decision has to be made concerning the message you wish to communicate.
Finding your voice in Social Media
On a social media platform you have to find your own voice which is consistent over time. This is no different to a singer and will draw you a fan base. Clarity in the choice is very important. Dr. Williams gives the following advice:
- Be authentic. Really be you.
- Find a subject that really interests you.
- It’s a “dating” model, not a “marriage” model. There is no long term commitment and you can try out different voices to discover who you are.
- This is not the forum to reveal your many fascinating attributes and interests.
Once you start advocating your voice on a media, you have to go along with this. This may involve using multiple accounts and here Dr. Willliams gave some very practical advice on which ones to use depending on our objectives as shown in the two pictures below.
Identifying you tribe
Once you have decided on “your voice” you need to identify the tribe that you want to talk to. This could be with academics, staff, practitioners etc. Dr. Williams recommends that you don’t just say what your tribe wants to hear, rather what they want to say. You should also tag words to show up more easily in searches. This will give you more hits when people are searching. In fact, it is useful to spend 30 minutes doing this within your own interest to understand how these work.
Timing also important and you need to know when your tribe will look at what you put up. Each media will have “Prime Times” and it is useful to know the best possible moment to publish your content.
Dr. Williams gave not only a useful theoretical overview of social media tools but also some very practical ideas on how to go about using them. It was an excellent way to begin the 2013 AACSB Annual Conference.
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Dr. Michael Williams, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Information Systems at the Graziadio School of Business & Management at Pepperdine University.
At the AACSB Associate Deans Conference 2012, Dawn Hukai, Associate Dean at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Susan Laurenson, Associate Dean at The University of Auckland Business School and David J. Urban, Executive Associate Dean, at Virginia Commonwealth University discuss the many roles of an Associate Dean.
At the AACSB Associate Deans conference, Karyl Leggio, Dean and Professor of Finance at the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University Maryland, led a fascinating discussion on the issues in setting up new programs. The topic of the presentation was centered around generating revenues and “managing costs by benefitting from revenue sharing initiatives.” Given that we are now into the fifth year of the financial crisis with no easy end in sight, this is an important subject to address.
One of the opening sessions of the AACSB Conference for Associate Deans Conference brought together panelists from 4 business schools; Latha Ramchand, Dean at the University of Houston, Lynne Richardson, Dean at the University of Mary Washington, Deborah Spake, Associate Dean at the University of Alabama and Kristie Oglivie, Interim Associate Dean at California State University. The Panel was chaired by Susan McTiernan, Associate Dean at Quinnipiac University and Vice Chair of the Associate Deans Affinity Group.