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(This is the first in a series of three posts which will explore engaging undergraduate and graduate students through social media. These posts are based on a study conducted by Hanover Research.)
By Beth McGough, Social Media Manager, ProQuest
Part 1: Use of social media
It is no surprise that undergraduate and graduate students are deeply engaged in social media activities. Nearly 30% of respondents report visiting social media sites 4-6 times a day. Our study found that 98% of students use Facebook. That is followed by Twitter, where 51% of undergraduate students, and 42% of graduate students, tweet.
Among other sites, LinkedIn and Google+ were used by 40% and 31% of graduate students respectively. In the “Other” category, students mentioned sites for file-sharing, and public or school-hosted sites devoted to academics.
When asked how social media is used for specific, research-related tasks, the most common use was to connect with other students to ask questions and share research. Facebook was the most commonly used site for academic tasks.
Social media is used less often for reaching librarians, faculty, and instructors. This could be because students communicate through other means such as email, live chat, and university-hosted tools. The study later reveals students are open to communicating with librarians through social media; more on that in a later post.
What can librarians take away from this portion of the study?• The library should be available through the sites students are using most to communicate. Consider establishing a presence on Twitter and Facebook, if the library has not already done so.• Post regularly to these sites. Library-related updates are a great way to start.• Follow and Like other organizations at your university and develop a reciprocal information sharing relationship to provide additional avenues for the library to promote its services.
The second installment of this blog series will be published next week.
For a more in-depth look at the Hanover study, download the Engaging Students through Social Media whitepaper, and view the "Engaging Students through Social Media" presentation given at Internet Librarian 2013.