Social media at universitiesFinding the right balance
Social media poses several challenges for higher education institutions: They must define their own approach to current electronic forms of exchange, be prepared to disseminate content through multiple channels and adapt to the more direct feedback in the way they communicate.
Above all, however, social media activities bring to the fore the question of the balance between new media and the "classic" net-based offerings.
With its social media concept, the University of Duisburg-Essen is pursuing four central goals that are to be achieved through the individually adapted use of various social media systems.
- The UDE regards the heterogeneity of its students and staff as an opportunity. Web 2.0 communication (both centralised and decentralised) should promote the value of productive diversity and contribute to a sustainable identification with the principles of the university and with the UDE itself.
- By means of Web 2.0 communication, the transparency of all developments and decisions at the university should be kept at a constantly high level.
- Social media tools offer the university the opportunity to conduct a comprehensive real-time dialogue with all university members, applicants, interested parties or friends in an uncomplicated manner. The UDE wants to meet these target groups where they can be found most of the time: on the road, online and in their own chosen networks.
- As a service, university members are supported from a central location in developing and actively using their own skills in the broad field of Web 2.0.
- The University of Duisburg-Essen stands for regional embedding, the perception of social responsibility, educational equality and the development of potentials that arise through diversity. In classical communication, in direct conversation, in publications and information for print media as well as on the "traditional" web, the UDE communicates education and research as fundamental values of society and works to position the university as a positive protagonist of these objectives. Of course, the functions and modes of communication available to the university via social media tools are subordinated to these strategic principles.
- At the same time, the classic web presence enjoys priority: all relevant information about the university, from study opportunities and access to research and contact information to public and internal messages, should be up-to-date and available first on the university's web presence.