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Someone Claims "Colleges Fail on Social Media" :: I Don't Agree

Do you feel that colleges are failing in social media education?

Hey, that’s a pretty broad claim, after all.

I feel this needs to be addressed.

Marc Hausman makes the claim in PROpenMic. His post, Colleges Fail on Social Media is from October 16, 2008. He bases his bold broad claim on one visit to one class at one university. At least he admits, in the comments of that post, that “My sweeping conclusion was for the sake of drama as it is inappropriate for me to make a statement about all colleges from one class visit.”

Marc wasn’t happy to just cross-post at PROpenMic. No. See, it turns out he had cross-posted it again at MyRagan.com – Colleges Fail on Social Media on October 16, 2008. Today, October 20th, MyRagan sends it out as a featured post in their email promotions to drive traffic to their site.

Gee, I think, this looks familiar. Only, there is one difference. At MyRagan.com, Marc cross-posted the whole post from his blog – Colleges Fail on Social Media. Hmm? That title looks familiar, too.

We have a few problems with this practice. I honestly wouldn’t have written this, had I not known of the other cross-posting instance. But, hey … a university and class is being wrongly accused and they are being used to cast false assumptions on all colleges and universities. Let’s pick the low hanging fruit, first. Here is a comment I was going to post at MyRagan.com:

As I shared elsewhere (on another cross-posting of this same article), this anecdotal observation – solely for drama’s sake – does not truly represent either the student involvement & understanding of social media, nor the faculty involvement & understanding, either.

One college ‘class’ doesn’t measure up, yet we have a blanket condemnation – “Colleges Fail on Social Media”? Well, perhaps we have a failure here, but it isn’t on the shoulders of the students or academia.

At least MyRagan’s tease had a ‘might’ caveat in it: “Think Gen Y knows more about social media than you? Think again. Turns out 20-somethings might know less about social media than originally suspected.”

Come on, Marc. A declarative statement as your headline, but you offer nothing more than one anecdotal reference. If you’re going to make claims, at least have some broad evidence.

OK, that’s where my comment ended. I think posting it here, so I may elaborate, works better.

You see – don’t you? Marc is condemning a whole class of students and the university he visited – with no true evidence, just his one class visit experience. This Google search for “american university” public relations site:blogspot.com reveals many examples of students & faculty engaging in blogging at American University. Gee, Marc. Maybe you visited the wrong class? I do not think you’re being fair to American University – or, for that matter, all colleges.

Let’s not forget, Marc charged that all “Colleges Fail on Social Media”.

Hmm? Do they? Gee, here’s a list of the schools involved in PROpenMic. They seem to have some people interested in social media. :o) Look. Here is a list of the college and university affiliations our users shared in their profiles.

1. Ivy Tech Community College
2. Immaculata University, PA
3. Algonquin College
4. American University
5. Appalachian State University
6. Arizona State University
7. Arkansas State University-Jonesboro
8. Artevelde University College
9. Arteveldehogeschool
10. ASE, Marketing
11. Atlantic Cape Community College
12. Auburn University
13. Ball State Univeristy
14. Baltic Film and Media School of Tallinn University
15. Baltic Film and Media School, Tallinn Univesity, Estonia
16. Banja Luka College of Communications
17. Boston University
18. Bournemouth Media School
19. Bournemouth University
20. Brock University
21. Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Faculty of International Economic Relations
22. Bucks County Community College
23. Budapest College of Communication and Business
24. Butte College
25. Cal State University
26. California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
27. California State University Chico
28. California State University, Dominguez Hills
29. Cameron University
30. Capital University
31. Centennial College
32. Central Michigan University
33. Charles Sturt University
34. Christopher Newport University
35. Clarion University of PA
36. Clark Atlanta University
37. Clemson University
38. College of Charleston
39. Colorado State University
40. Columbia College Chicago
41. Columbia University
42. Columbus State University
43. CSUF
44. CSUN
45. Curtin University of Technology
46. De Montfort University
47. DePaul University
48. Dominican University of CA
49. Dundalk Institute of Technology
50. Durham College
51. IIM/EURO, Novi Sad, Serbia
52. E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University
53. East Carolina University
54. Eastern Connecticut State University
55. Elon University
56. Emerson College
57. Escola Superior de Comunicao Social – Sao Paulo
58. ESCS – School of Communication and Media Studies
59. Europa Fachhochschule Fresenius
60. Faculty for media and communication, University of Singidunum
61. Faculty of political science, University of Belgrade
62. Faculty of Technical Sciences, Novi Sad
63. fakultete organizacionih nauka
64. Falmouth ucf
65. Fanshawe College
66. FCRP
67. Ferris State University
68. Florida International
69. Florida A&M University
70. Florida Atlantic university
71. George Washington University
72. University of Kent in Brussels
73. Georgetown University
74. Georgia College and State University
75. Georgia Southern University
76. Georgia State University
77. Grand Valley State University
78. Hawaii Pacific University
79. High Technical School, Novi Sad
80. Hofstra University
81. Howard University
82. Humber College
83. Bournemouth University
84. Seneca College in Toronto
85. Harvard College
86. Illinois State University
87. Indiana University
88. Indiana University – Bloomington
89. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
90. INP – Instituto Superior de Novas Profissaµes
91. Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administrao do Porto
92. Intern (American Red Cross)
93. Iona College
94. ISCAP – Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administrao do Porto
95. ISCOM Paris
96. Istanbul Bilgi University
97. IULM University, Milano, Italy
98. James Madison
99. Johns Hopkins University
100. Johnson County Community College
101. Kennesaw State University
102. Kent State University
103. Kutztown University
104. La Salle University
105. Lancashire Business School
106. Leeds Metropolitan
107. Leeds Metropolitan University
108. Lehigh University
109. Lethbridge College and Athabasca University
110. Leverage Your Genius – Rejuvenate Your Practice
111. Liberty University
112. London College of Communication
113. Louisiana State University
114. Loyola University Chicago
115. Malardalen University College Sweden
116. Abo Academy Finland
117. Madonna University
118. Marketing Faculty
119. Marquette University, Milwaukee
120. Marquette University, Wisconsin
121. McGill
122. McGill University
123. McKendree University
124. MDH University of Applied Sciences Berlin
125. Michigan State University
(new addition) – Minnestoa State University, Mankato
126. Minnesota State University Moorhead
127. Missouri Southern State University
128. Morehead State University
129. moron university
130. Moron University
131. Mount Saint Vincent University
132. MSU
133. Mt Royal
134. Muhammadiyah Surakarta University
135. Murray State University
136. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
137. New York University
138. Newcastle University
139. Niagara College
140. NIU
141. Northeastern University
142. Northern Arizona University
143. Northern Kentucky University
144. Northwestern
145. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
146. Northwood University
147. NW Institute of Printing
148. NYU – Gallatin School of Individualized Study
149. NYU – School of Education
150. Ohio Northern University
151. Ohio University
152. Oklahoma State University
153. Otterbein College
154. Pearson Education
155. Peking University
156. Point Park University
157. Portland State University
158. Manchester Metropolitan
159. Universidade Luterana do Brazil
160. PUCPR
161. Queensland University of Technology
162. Quinnipiac University
163. Radford University
164. RMIT University
165. Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland
166. Rochester Institute of Technology
167. Rosemont College
168. Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
169. Ryerson University
170. Ryerson University
171. S. I. Newhouse School, Syracuse University
172. Saint Joseph’s College
173. Salem State College
174. Salisbury University
175. Salzburg University
176. Samford University
177. San Diego State
178. San Jose State University
179. Savannah College of Art and Design
180. School of Communication, Charles Sturt University
181. School of Communication, Edith Cowan University
182. School of Media Studies – Politecnic of Lisbon Institut
183. Seattle University
184. Seneca College
185. Seton Hall University, MASCL Program
186. Sheridan College
187. Simmons College
188. SNSPA-Comunicare si Relatii Publice
189. Sonoma State University
190. Southern Illinois Univeristy-Carbondale
191. Southern Illinois Universtiy-Edwardsville
192. St. Edward’s University
193. St. John’s University
194. Stirling University
195. SU St. Kliment Ohridski
196. Sunderland University
197. SUNY New Paltz
198. Swinburne University of Technology
199. Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Pune
200. Syracuse University
201. Tallinn University Baltic Film and Media School
202. Tartu University
203. Texas A&M University
204. The George Washington University
205. The University of Findlay
206. The University of Hawaii at Manoa
207. The University of Iowa
208. The University of Jyväskylä
209. The University of Memphis
210. The University of North Alabama
211. The University of South Florida
212. The University of Sydney
213. The University of York
214. The West University of Timisoara
215. Nelson Mandella MU in Port Elizabeth, South Africa (BAMCC)
216. Thomas Nelson Community College
217. Towson University
218. Troy University
219. Tulane University
220. U.N.A.T.C. “I.L. Caragiale”, Film Faculty, Bucharest – Romania
221. UC Davis Extension
222. UC Santa Barbara
223. UCLA
224. University of Central Lancaster Lancashire
225. Ulbra
226. University of North Carolina – Charlotte
227. Union University
228. Univ of Georgia
229. Univ. of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
230. Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera. Spain.
231. Universidad Jaime I
232. Universidade Catalica Portuguesa
233. Universidade de(University of) Sao Paulo – USP – www.usp.br
234. Universita Catholique de Louvain, Belgium
235. University at Buffalo
236. University College Falmouth
237. University Luterana do Brasil
238. University of Alabama
239. University of Arkansas at Little Rock
240. University of BORDEAUX (ISIC)
241. University of Bucharest
242. University of California, Irvine
243. University of Central Arkansas
244. University of Central Florida
245. University of Central Missouri
246. University of Chicago
247. University of Georgia – Grady College
248. University of Georgia, College of Environment and Design
249. University of Hawaii at Manoa
250. University of Houston
251. University of Iowa
252. University of Jyvaskyla¤, Finland
253. University of Leipzig, Dep. for Communication Management
254. University of Lugano
255. University of Malaradalen
256. University of Mary Washington
257. University of Maryland, College Park
258. University of Memphis
259. University of Miami, Ohio
260. University of Miami, Florida
261. University of Michigan
262. University of MInnesota
263. University of Nairobi
264. University of Nebraska- Lincoln
265. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
266. University of New York in Prague
267. University of North Alabama
268. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
269. University of North Carolina Wilmington
270. University of North Texas
271. University of Oklahoma
272. University of Oregon
273. University of Phoenix Online
274. University of Pittsburgh
275. University of Rhode Island
276. University Of Sao Paulo
277. University of South Alabama
278. University of South Carolina
279. University of South Florida
280. University of Southern Mississippi
281. University of Stirling (UK)
282. University of Sunderland
283. University of Sydney
284. University of Tartu
285. University of Technology Sydney
286. University of Tennessee
287. University of Texas at Austin
288. University of Texas at San Antonio
289. University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio
290. University of Virginia
291. University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
292. University of Washington
293. University of West Florida
294. University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh
295. University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
296. University of Wisconsin, Madison
297. Univrsity of Central Lancashire
298. Unversity of North Florida
299. UQAM
300. USC Annenberg School for Communication
301. UWF
302. ViA
303. Vidzeme University College
304. Virginia Tech
305. Washington State University
306. Wayne State University
307. Webster University
308. Western Kentucky University
309. Western Oregon University
310. Wilmington College
311. Yasar University, Izmir, Turkiye
312. York, UK

OK, I have not completely combed the list for duplicates. I’m sure there are some. I’ll do that combing later. Suffice to say, there seem to at least be 200+ schools in the list. Now, some are alma maters by some that are no longer students. Some are the schools of faculty members, too.

Still, seems like there is at least some potential real evidence to counter Marc’s claims.

What do you think?

P.S. Marc, I guess you’re probably going to think I’m picking on you. I’m not. I’m trying to make a point to my students about best practice. You can believe me or not. But, that’s the truth.


  1. Robert,

    Marc makes sweeping generalities with little basis in fact for what purpose? To gain a little Google juice? Give me a break.

    Let’s face it: colleges fail on many things; governments fail on more still; and the private sector, of which he presumably is also a part, is solely responsible for the current economic meltdown.

    In this particulat example, ignorance or avoidance might be construed as outright failure, but as you rightly point out, there aren’t many schools I can think of who aren’t thinking about and embracing social media in some fashion in their curriculum.

    I happen to be very proudly associated with Auburn and Georgetown, but I interview students from and guest lecture at schools all over the world. Are many people I see still a tad confused about what it all means? Absolutely? Does that make them — or their institutions — failures. Absolutely not.

    Every school on your list is doing something right. And that’s what Marc and anyone who shares his opinions should be reporting.


  2. Well said; I am a U. Oregon graduate and learned most everything I know about social/digital media during my PR core curriculum. I began blogging immediately after graduation, but most of the class below me started their blogs in the classroom (and still continue writing in them to this day). Now, one year later, I am working in the Digital Lifestyle group at a great agency and I attribute much of my success in the field to my stellar education. It is definitely not accurate for Marc to make these assumptions based on a single class visit. Had he visited UO – or any University above for that matter – I think he might have had a different opinion.

  3. Thanks, Rick. Yep, Marc’s use of headlines and cross-posting was a true Google juice, link bait, link phishing expedition.

    I agree that there are plenty who are still a bit puzzled by it all. That’s understandable. I don’t presume to know it all either. It is the experiential participation that may well be the best educational experience in this particular area of our discipline.

    But, if we looked back at when we started doing online experiences in class – about 2000 – well, the rise in interest by other schools could be called exceptional. Sure, there are many faculty that have yet to embrace and adopt emerging digital media. Their numbers are dwindling, though.

    We’re on the right path.

    Thanks for your comment.

  4. Andrea, a great example. The work you are doing is a perfect example. The work of Kelli and Tiffany at The University of Oregon – and all the students there – are perfect examples of great social media educational experiences.

    Glad to hear you’re doing well and enjoying that great job! Take care and keep up the good work!

  5. Just a note, you’ve listed #224 as ‘University of Central Lancaster’ it’s actually ‘University of Central Lancashire’. I graduated from there.

    I think universities are starting to do a lot with social media, and so are Students’ Union’s. We’re moving a lot of content into flickr/youtube/facebook and creating a bubble of content around our existing site. We’re also using ning for our course representatives, to give them a private online network to discuss ideas/problems and connect with course representatives across every faculty.

    There was also a debate here at UCLan as part of the ‘Give It A Go’ fortnight where students had the chance to hear experts on the question ‘Online Survival: Facebook, Google & Plagiarism’. So, there’s plenty happening.

  6. Thanks, Ed. I just did a cut-n-paste of the university names, so I guess someone wrote that. I’ll change it. I searched for “University of Central Lancaster” and couldn’t find one.

    I like the ideas UCLan has implemented regarding feedback and discussion regarding class / department issues. So many schools in the UK are so involved in social media. As a nation, per capita, you may be way ahead of all of us.

    Thanks for your comment.

  7. No…I don’t feel picked on at all. In fact, this is one of the great things about social media: the ability to engage in dialog and share conflicting views.

    I stand by my blog post. Yes…there are many examples of colleges doing an excellent job of teaching social media best practices. However, I suspect there are also programs that have yet to incorporate this into their curriculum. I think we can all agree that this needs to change.

    As for the link-baiting comments. I cross-promote the content of the “Strategic Guy” blog in a number of online communities whose members may have an interest in the topic. It’s how I try to generate discussion and, at the same time, enhance the reputation of my firm.

    At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we’ve found you can’t just write and then hope an audience will find you. It’s OK to promote when you believe you have something of value to contribute.

  8. Hi Robert,

    Maybe Marc was wrong in generalizing that “ALL” universities are doing an inadequate job at teaching undergraduates about social media. However, from my experiences, I have to stand by Marc’s claim. Let me give you my examples:

    I have not seen any classes at UCLA that teach social media. You have UCLA listed on number 223 on your list, but when I attended UCLA (I graduated in 2007), I did not see a single class or organization that dealt with teaching undergraduates about social media. I may be wrong, but I was never exposed to it.

    I currently have a team of 20 campus representatives across the nation. My undergraduate team consists of students from ASU, NYU, Cornell, Michigan, USC, Washington, and many others. Out of the 75 students that I interviewed for the position, only about 10 consistently read blogs. Out of the 75, only two had their own blogs.

    To be fair, I know that there are many classes that are now starting to teach about social media, which I think is great.

    Great post and I look forward to reading more.

    Jun Loayza

  9. You may not have seen any classes, but that doesn’t mean they do not exist. I spent just a few minutes on Google and found examples of blogs and other aspects of social media being addressed in classes, symposiums, conferences and seminars at UCLA, for example. Just try the site:(schoolname).edu search format with “social media” and/or “new media” as the search terms for each school. The examples are there.

    This is the kind of argument I’m talking about. Anecdotal. Your observation is based upon random personal observations, just like Marc’s (and he admits to it in comments on PROpenMic).

    Jun, I realize you’re trying to promote your site / show which encourages involvement in social media (I just watched your video). I’d be wary of using these anecdotal arguments. They don’t hold water.

    Yes, there are plenty of examples where schools are just now beginning to incorporate social media into their curricula. Being one of the first to do it, I have watched the growth with interest. The examples are out there. Ya’ just have to look for them.

  10. Please add Minnestoa State University, Mankato, to your list. I believe we would fall in at # 125+1/2.

    As a mass communication professor, I can assure you I’m adding social media daily, weekly and monthly to my public relations and journalism courses. But entire curricular changes take time, often from one or two years.

    Discussions like these illuminate. Thanks to all.

  11. Thanks for sharing the new addition to PROpenMic, EMM. :o) I’ve added you to the list. I agree about the slow process of changing the curriculum, too. It took us about one year to add just one new course focusing on social media. There are good reasons for the review process. Of course, we all wish it could move just a wee bit faster.

    Glad to have you involved at PROpenMic, too. Bring your students! Thanks.