Using snapchat in higher education

I’ve struggled to see how Snapchat could be used within higher education. I could imagine why academics might end up using it in an entirely personal capacity, but I found it difficult to imagine how it could be used by them professionally. So it was really interesting to read this interview with Newcastle University’s Social Media manager on the Picklejar site. As he points out, “the people we wanted to speak to were there” and they’ve been using Snapchat to find a “new way to engage with current and prospective students that allowed us to showcase different aspects of campus life in a less formal style”. They feel confident that it’s helped them reach their target audience, also citing “anecdotal evidence that it’s working as a way of keeping applicants warm and engaging with our current students”. Interestingly, they’ve found much higher engagement rates than with Twitter, reporting that most stories now receive over 1,000 views (which given they have 1,000 followers presumably means content circulates easily on Snapchat beyond  followers).

I’m still a little bemused by Snapchat however. From a sociology of youth perspective, I can understand why it’s popular amongst a certain demographic. But from an institutional standpoint, it seems to me that any success with the platform occurs in spite of rather than because of the distinctive temporality built into the architecture of the platform. Perhaps I’ve simply failed to grasp it. But I wonder if the time invested in Snapchat could be more effectively spent creating content for Instagram which could also be reused on Twitter and Facebook with little to no repurposing. I also still can’t see more substantively academic uses of Snapchat, though would love to hear about any that those reading this might know of.


Categories: Social Media for Academics

Tags: , ,

2 replies »

  1. The way Newcastle University uses Snapchat is quite interesting! Still, it stays a “marketing way” to use it, not really different from the way traditional brand use it. I think Snapchat could be used in higher education via the Discover channel, publishing content directly here.

    • We’ve seen librarians offering research help to students and student success centers offering advice and other help to students through StudyRoom. When they initially approached us they expressed the same problem of not being able to reach the students and thus why the need to be where they are. I do think any social media channel is great for communicating with students but as far as academic purposes goes (beyond classroom communication) I think Snapchat is not a great candidate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *