Oy. Oy. Oy, thrice.
From The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog (focusing on higher ed goodies), there is a recent post that may incite even more colleges to create a 'behind-the-wall' social networking playground of their own, rather than read between the lines. Here's the post:
If colleges really want to win the affection of prospective students, they ought to rip a page from the playbook used by Facebook and MySpace, says a new report.
The study, "Engaging the Social Networking Generation," found that 43 percent of 1,000 collegebound juniors have created Facebook-esque personal profiles on college Web sites. And of the students who hadn't done so, nearly half said they wished they could.
Read: If I'm a college admissions officer, we MUST HAVE a MySpace-like tech tool. Or the kids will go to State U. instead. Quick, get it built and they will come.
But here is where it does get interesting for those interested in the 'future of learning':
The report was sponsored by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions, along with Noel-Levitz, a consulting firm, and James Tower, a marketing company. According to Diverse, the survey respondents seem excited about nearly any college recruitment scheme, as long as it is high-tech. Fifty-four percent of the students said they would gladly download college podcasts, 63 percent said they would read a blog written by a professor, and 82 percent said they would consider responding to an instant message from a college admissions officer.
Taking advantage of all those online tools is certainly easier said than done for many high schoolers, but the apparent enthusiasm about high-tech recruitment should encourage colleges that are already beefing up their Web sites with an eye on wooing Millennials. --Brock Read
Gladly download college podcasts. Gladly read a professor's blog. Gladly use IM'ing. Mmmmm. So, what is the 'business' take-away?
From a marketing-gone-wild perspective, this will spark a 1000 colleges to create their own MySpace-like tools. Lots of buzz. Long-term value? Mmmm. And in about 6 months, nobody will come back. 'Cause they'll be lame. If created by the adults trying to market their schools. But some student will get peeved and create their own and it'll be cool and hidden from the admissions team and the students will flock. Mmmm.
From the learning side of the coin, however, if the colleges embrace the re-branding elements by realizing the power of having their classes available 'just in time' via podcasting, or being able to track their professors' work/thoughts/networks via teacher blogs, then maybe the marketing directive will have a win-win result.
Or we'll simply have more admissions teams looking at empty marketing bank accounts and crickets chirping, saying, "But why don't they come to our super-duper nifty MySpace space? We built it. They were supposed to come?"
BTW, haven't they come to realize that that same kid-demographic is beginning to run away from MySpace precisely because the marketers started to take over what had previously been a very creative tool?