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Using social media to create boundary-free communities. March 13, 2012 | 12:45 p .m. – 1:45 p.m. Phoenix Convention Center | Room 231B. Office of Residence Life | Syracuse University.

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Using social media to create boundary free communities

Using social media to create boundary-free communities

  • March 13, 2012 | 12:45 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

  • Phoenix Convention Center | Room 231B

Office of Residence Life | Syracuse University

We create residential communities where living and learning experiences prepare students to pursue their life goals.


  • Learning Outcomes

  • Literature Review

  • Background on Residence Life @ Syracuse University

  • Our Experience

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion & Resources

Learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes

  • Articulate the value of social media platforms as a resource for connecting with students

  • Identify at least one area within your department in which you can implement a form of social media

  • Discuss how different forms of social media may be more appropriate for certain constituents

Literature review
literature review

  • Social media is not leaving and higher education professionals must learn and use the technology students are using (Freeman, 2010; Munoz & Strotmeyer, 2010)

  • ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology (2011)

    • Technology should be used to “extend learning beyond the classroom” in “participatory and collaborative interactions”

    • Students at institutions that award graduate degrees are more likely to own portable technologies

    • Students aged 18 – 24 and those from family incomes greater that $100,000 own more technology than those outside that

Literature review1
literature review

  • Daily college student social media usage doubled from 2006 to 2008 alone (Educause, 2008)

  • Students prefer news and information updates through nontraditional methods, such as news feeds from Facebook and Twitter (ICMPA, 2010)

Literature review2
literature review

  • 38% of college students report having difficulty going for longer than 10 minutes without checking a mobile device. (Coursesmart and Wakefield Research, 2011).

  • Internet Usage (Pew Internet, 2011)

    • 65% of adult internet users use a social networking site – three years ago it was 29%.

    • 43% use social networking daily

    • 83% are within traditional college ages of 18 – 29

Literature review3
literature review

  • 97% of college smartphone users us them for social networking (Mashable, 2011)

  • 95% of college smartphone users access Facebook and 47% access Twitter on their device (Mashable, 2011)

  • 56% of 18 – 24 year olds earning less than $15,000 annually own a smartphone (Nielsenwire, 2012).

Social media you must be invested
Social media: You must be invested

“Teaching with social media will not be successful if you are not personally and professionally invested.

Heiberger, G. and Junco, R. (2011)

Social media it s all about trust
Social media: It’s All About Trust

“You earn trust by giving of yourself, contributing to the community or conversation or both and only after trust is earned can you then ask for something in return. It’s no longer about one-way communication but a dialog…”

Falls, J. (2009)

Residence life @ su
Residence Life @ SU

  • About 8,300 in campus housing overall

  • 5,800 students in 18 traditional residence halls on North Campus

  • 2,500 students in on South Campus

  • 2 year housing requirement

  • About 40% of residents are first-year students

Residence life @ su south campus
Residence Life @ SU_South Campus

  • 2,500 students in 3 traditional residence halls and 1,072 apartment units, each with private external entrances

  • 125 apartment buildings each containing 8 or 12 individual apartments

  • Several hundred acres of land area

  • Staffing

    • 1 Assistant Director, 2 Residence Directors, 3 Assistant Residence Director, 1 Administrative Secretary, 8 Resident Advisors


  • Email Correspondence

  • Email Signatures of Staff

  • Website

  • Digital Signage

  • Posted on office entrance

  • Bulletin boards

  • Cross referenced in all forms of social media

Why facebook
Why Facebook?

  • Facebook is relevant

    • Statistics – 845 million people on Facebook

    • 95% of college aged smartphone users access Facebook

    • Our students are on Facebook!

      • Students are using Facebook avidly

      • Students are seeking out information/connections via Facebook

  • Facebook is accessible to our students

    • University provided internet access & computer lab usage

    • University provided email address

Facebook on south campus

  • South Campus Apartments Facebook – Main page

    • Started Spring 2010

    • Membership (students, staff & parents)

    • Approximately 25% residents “like” our page

    • Our reach is consistently over 1,000, including 800+ virally

    • Membership incentives

  • South Campus Neighborhoods – Example page

    • Six neighborhoods with individual pages

    • Started Spring 2012

    • Created based on survey feedback

  • S.C.O.P.E. Page – Student run

How are students using our pages
How Are students using our pages?

  • Information & Announcements

    • Operational Information

    • Opening & move-in

    • Semester Breaks

    • Bus Schedules

    • Bus Schedules

    • Power outages, etc.

How are students using our pages1
How Are students using our pages?

  • Programming & Events

    • South Campus programs

    • S.C.O.P.E. events

    • Campus wide events

    • Student postings

How are students using our pages2
How Are students using our pages?

  • Questions & Student Posts

    • General Questions

    • Interactions between students

      • Most active during opening

      • Struggled to continue

What we have learned facebook
What We Have Learned– Facebook –

  • Successes

    • Interaction with students in their venues

    • Increased advertising of information

  • Challenges

    • Student to student interaction

    • Facebook can be more than information, interactional

Why twitter
Why Twitter?

  • Twitter – 500 Million accounts with over 100 million active monthly users. (Messiah, N. [2012])

  • In Residence Life – South Campus

    • Started January 2011: @SU_South

    • Active Twitter community at SU

    • Syracuse University one of most influential (Klout)

    • Reach students where they are

    • Communicate with physically disconnected community

Twitter your message is only good if it reaches others
Twitter – Your message is only good if it reaches others!

  • Targeted plan to increase followers in Fall 2011

    • Welcome Letter and Email

    • Advertised on Facebook Page and Foursquare

    • Email campaign

    • Branded on all information

    • Some information only shared via Twitter


  • 17 Followers in August 2012

  • 215 as of February 29, 2012

Twitter how did we increase followers
Twitter – How did we increase followers?

  • Operational Announcements

    • Power Outages

    • Bus Delays/schedule changes

    • Standard Housing/Residence Life announcements

  • Sharing Limitations/Incentives (e.g., Lock Your Door Results)

  • Respond to questions from students

  • Retweets

  • Live Programming Updates

  • #SCTalks

Twitter class connect
Twitter – Class Connect

  • Hashtags based on home school/college

  • Primarily for use by students living on South Campus

  • Implemented Spring 2012

  • Engage students in conversation

  • Build connections between them and us

  • Demonstrate genuine concern and interest in their life

  • Provide a forum to share thoughts

  • Allow students to learn from us and us from them

  • Meet them where they are

  • Build excitement

  • First #SCTalks held on February 9, 2012

  • Topic specifically chosen to be controversial to attract interest

  • Follow the conversation at:

  • Outcomes

    • Conversation lasted over 1 hour

    • Students participated before and after by using the hashtag

  • Results

    • Schedule adjusted at 10:30/10:45 a.m.

    • Schedule adjusted at 5 p.m. from North Campus to South Campus

    • Additional buses added to and from South Campus on game days

    • Bus company contacted to avoid overcrowding issue

    • Investigating the 3:30 p.m. from North Campus to South Campus

What we have learned twitter
What We Have Learned– Twitter –

  • Successes

    • Students are willing to engage and connect with us (and want to)

    • Detailed information shared in real-time

    • Information searchable and does not clog inbox

    • Builds trust with students

  • Challenges

    • We are not reaching our potential

    • Need more consistent conversations

    • Some information will need to be student driven

Why foursquare
Why Foursquare?

  • Syracuse University is an Active Foursquare Campus

    • Statistics – 15 million on Foursquare

    • SU Alumnus Dennis Crowley co-created Foursquare

  • Reaching Students

    • Staying relevant & current

    • Increased visibility of offices and events

    • Creating a positive image of our office

Foursquare on south campus
Foursquare on south campus

  • Administration of Account

    • Officially owned location, Office of Residence Life – South Campus

    • Created in October of 2011

    • Check-in location with specials

    • 128 potential locations to “own”

    • Many unofficial student created locations

  • Management

    • South Campus staff

    • Marketed through all social media venues, email, etc.

  • Uses of foursquare
    Uses of foursquare

    • Increased Visibility

      • Advertises office location

      • Provides check-in spot for “points”

      • Student usage increases advertising

    • Incentives to “check-in” through specials

      • Mayor Special

      • Seasonal/Monthly Specials (e.g. Halloween, Valentines, Big East)

    What we have learned foursquare
    What We Have Learned– Foursquare –

    • Successes

      • Increased visibility of office location

      • Student check-ins assist in advertising

    • Challenges

      • Limited student participation

      • Necessary to “own” the location to get the most out of Foursquare

    Future directions
    Future directions

    • Twitter

      • Regular and on-going #SCTalks

      • Twitter Challenges (e.g., seek and find)

    • Facebook Wrap-up reflection challenge

    • Marketing to future residents

      • The Brand

      • Social Media channels

      • SC Class Connect and #SCTalks

  • Student and staff blogging and vlogging

  • Implications

    • Social media is a requirement to reach students

    • If you are not invested, it won’t work

    • Acknowledge that a technological divide exists – don’t let it dictate your directions

    • Building your brand is more important than likes


    • Be where your students are – Find and stay with them!

    • Stay on top of current trends (e.g., Pinterest, Path, etc.)

    • Post regularly and consistently from “your” voice

    • Remember that social media is a conversation

    • Use a social media dashboard to help you manage accounts


    • Educause.  (2008).  Retrieved from:

    • EducauseCenter for Applied Research. (2011). ECAR National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology. Retrieved 2/15/12, from

    • Facebook statistics. Retrieved 2/15/12.

    • Falls, J. The problem of promoting you, your cause, your business with social media. July 31, 2009. Retrieved 2/29/12, from:

    • Foursquare. Retrieved 2/15/12, from:


    • Freeman, G.  (2010).  The important of staying young:  A professor reflects on student styles and interests today and 20 years ago.  Journal of college and character, 11, 2, 1-6.  Retrieved from:

    • Google Maps. (2012). [401 Skytop Road, Syracuse University] [Satellite map]. Retrieved from:,-76.114268&spn=0.01299,0.027874&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=56.856075,114.169922&hq=401+skytop+road+syracuse+university&t=h&z=16

    • Heiberger, G. and Junco, R. (2011). Meet your students where they are: Social Media. NEA Higher Education Advocate. Retrieved 2/15/12 from:

    • ICMPA.  International Center for Media and Public Agenda.  (2010).  A day without media:  Research conducted by ICMPA and students at the Phillip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park.  Retrieved 2/15/12 from:


    • Mashable. (2011). Retrieved 2/15/12 from:

    • Messiah, N. Twitter. January 15, 2012. Retrieved 2/15/12, from:

    • Munoz, F. M. and Strotmeyer, K.C. (2010).  Demystifying social media.  Journal of student affairs research and practice, 47 (1), 123 – 127.  Retrieved from:

    • Nielsenwire. (2012). Survey: New U.S. smartphone growth by age and income. Retrieved 2/22/12 from

    • Social Media Landascape 2012. Retrieved 3/2/12, from:


    • @AnneMarieNY. Permission to use Twitter profile picture and name received via Twitter message 3/2/12.

    Connect with us
    Connect with us!




    South Campus Apartments:

    Thank you
    Thank you!

    Eric M. Nestor

    Assistant Director

    Office of Residence Life

    Syracuse University

    [email protected]


    Michelle M. Shea

    Residence Director

    Office of Residence Life

    Syracuse University

    [email protected]