All entries for Monday 30 April 2007

April 30, 2007

Marketing the Myspace way

Writing about web page http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/comment/story/0,,2067053,00.html?gusrc=rss&feed=8

Compare and contrast; Tom Abbott here at Warwick:-

We are bringing the academe to audiences in a very new and exciting way. This is a rich window into what the university experience is, which may be impossible to articulate in a brochure.

Barrie Clark at Swansea University:-

I feel that potential students, being very media-savvy, would see universities’ use of social networking and text messaging as intrusion into what they use as a recreational space. I don’t see this trend as likely at Swansea University in the near future. I’d counsel caution here.

The two quotes aren’t strictly comparable, since Tom’s talking largely about Warwick’s use of video and audio through its iCast and podcast content, whereas Barrie is talking about Myspace and other social sites. But Warwick is also keen on Myspace, it seems:-

Looking to start a degree this year? You might find that a strange 42-year-old man is trying to be your friend. He’s a Leo, he lives in Coventry and his occupation is ‘University’. His name is Warwick. He’s rather popular; he already has 457 other friends (and counting). Warwick University is one of the first in the UK to put its profile on MySpace, one of the most popular types of ‘social networking’ websites.

So who’s right? Is it intrusive or embarrassing for a university to have a Myspace presence, like a geography teacher at a sixth form disco? Or is it just a logical choice of advertising space, since like all advertisers, universities want to display their messages in places where potential customers will read them? It’s a shame that the article didn’t manage to take what would seem to be the next logical step and speak to any actual students, or prospective students. Consultants, yes. Marketing people, yes. But if the underlying question of the article is whether students tend to value or spurn “web 2.0 marketing” (yuck), then wouldn’t it have been useful to ask them?


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