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  • Writer's pictureJon McBride

Training faculty on social media use

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

A lot of colleges and universities have been doing this for a while now, but at BYU we just started a faculty social media workshop as part of university conference at the beginning of the school year. We saw some really cool results.


The first key point to make here:


The best resources you have for training faculty on social media use are your own faculty who are already doing social media well.


We did this by showing a myriad of positive examples from faculty members who were already doing incredibly cool stuff ... like this:


Taking the audience into the research field

Providing advice to students

Sharing work, breakthroughs, discoveries and successes


It can be helpful to look at a (strategic and curated) digital diary

Adding expertise

Sharing media coverage

Start by thinking about what people often ask professors


In total, we went through 61 different screenshots of social posts from various faculty (tweets, Instagram posts, LinkedIn recommendation and more). It was a lot of fun curating those and realizing the breadth and depth of content that's out there from our faculty.


I won't go into all the depth that was covered in the workshop, but our basic outline went like this:

  • Introduce ourselves, our department, what we do and establish expertise

  • Talked through good examples of faculty social media use while lumping them into these buckets

Connecting with peers in your profession

Connecting with students

Helping your research have a greater impact

Championing/advocating for your profession

Championing/advocating for BYU

  • Question time

We wanted to make sure we left enough time for questions. I'm glad we did. Faculty asked us questions, and asked questions to each other, for almost 30 minutes.


A model to point faculty to:


For a great individual case study for faculty social media use, take a look at former BYU and current Virginia professor John Holbein and how he uses Twitter.


He's created a model to not only use social to champion his own work, but to champion the . work of other colleagues and thus champion his field of study as a whole.


Here's the template he works off of:



As you can see, he's found an effective way to share academic research in a very accessible way. He'll get hundreds and hundreds of likes and retweets on much of his content.


The unintended result of the workshop:


It was really cool to see how this was a springboard for faculty to connect with each other.


If you click through to see the thread, you'll see a bunch of different faculty hop in and tag more and more faculty. There were a bunch we had no idea were on Twitter.



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