Social media has become an integral part of our world now. Millions of people and organisations are making use of the opportunities the various social media platforms offer. Among such organisations are educational institutions all over the world. Some universities are now using the power of social media to reach out to and engage their communities and prospective students directly.
Is there a need for universities and other educational institutions to use social media at all? Definitely! As educational institutions, Universities use or can use social media to showcase the resources they have available. Highlighting the experts that the university has can also be done very well on social media. Social media can also be used effectively to showcase the works of both students and faculty. This is done by posting short pieces, photo albums and Youtube videos of such projects and activities.
Instead of just engaging the traditional media to publicise events, universities can also use social media to augment and support the publicity. Community members who are unable to attend events can be offered the opportunity to actively participate by live streaming or tweeting about the event as it is happening. Social media platforms of universities can be a great place for the students’ body and entire community to socialise and create synergies. In cases of emergency, it is easier and quicker for notice or warning information to be broadcasted to the university community via social media. As the repertoire of education, universities can use social media to educate the citizenry on subjects of importance just as they are called to do on radio and TV.
These and many other are the reasons why educational institutions must pay serious attention to social media. A lot of such big educational institutions are already doing marvelously well. I decided to do a cursory search to see how the popular universities in Ghana are using social media.
Surprisingly, my searches show that Ghana’s premier university, University of Ghana, Legon has no easily identifiable official Facebook page. There are a couple of pages with the name but created by individuals for their own purposes. There are no working social media icons on their website to direct you to their official page, if there is any. UG as it is popularly called however has a twitter account with 11 tweets and 59 followers.
The school that is touted as West Africa’s premier Science and Technology University, KNUST has both official Facebook and Twitter account. The Facebook page has over 70, 000 likes. The last post on the page is dated June 30, 2015, which was a notice of a live webcast of an event. The twitter account has 687 tweets and 2,872 followers. As to if that is impressive for a Science and technology university, I will leave that to the reader to decide.
The University of Cape Coast, which completes the trio of the most popular universities in Ghana has official facebook and twitter accounts as well. Their facebook account has 24,926 likes and the most recent post was on September 11,2015.
The University for Development Studies is the only public university in Ghana with a verified Facebook account. That is impressive. The facebook icon can also be easily spotted on their website. The most recent post on the page is dated September 14, 2015.
From my quick search, Ashesi University has perhaps the oldest and best social media accounts. Their facebook page currently has 13,488 likes and is a verified one. Though the number of likes cannot be compared to that of some of the public universities, the timeline is a beauty to behold. With a combination of very nice pictures and short videos, fans of the page are fed daily with happenings on their Berekuso campus. One other interesting thing I noticed about their accounts is that, they are more students centered.
It is very evident from this search that most of Ghana’s popular universities have either not come to the realisation of the importance of Social media to their institutions or they are simply not ready to invest in it. Getting well-managed social media pages should not be a herculean task for academic institutions of such repute. I hope this article finds its way unto the desk of Vice Chancellors and University Relations Officers and serve as a wake-up call before the shadows of oblivion is cast upon them.