Social Media Begins to Penetrate Higher Ed

December 7, 2011


A little over a year ago, I had the opportunity to interview Marty Cooper, one of the principal actors behind the development of the mobile phone, and the man who made the first ever call on a mobile phone. Marty has a lifetime of tech innovation behind him. Yet, today, at the age of 82, he is increasingly spending his time exploring the ever-expanding world of social media. Marty is convinced we are just beginning to understand the potential of social media, and that the permeation of social media into our work and our lives is still in its infancy. He predicts it will become pervasive in business.

Which is why it’s a good thing that social media is also starting to penetrate the ivory walls of higher education. A shift in how universities approach the medium is under way, writes Josh Sternberg in The Atlantic.

“The issues around social media — community, identity, presentation of self, social capital, public sphere, collective action; a lot of important topics from other disciplines — aren’t really being raised in academia,” said Rheingold. “They ought to be because these topics, not only academically, in terms of the shifts in media and literacy that they’re triggering in the world, are where the students live and work.”

The article reads like a battlefield report. Well, ok, as close to a battlefield as higher education gets. But, for now, it looks like social media is here to stay in education. And if Marty Cooper’s intuition about the growth of the medium is accurate, we should all breathe a sigh of relief.

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