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Social Media Specialist - moving forward

The Web Communications Department at Oregon State University is hiring a Social Media Specialist. We're pretty sure that community permission communications aren't going away, and it certainly deserves more attention than the few hours we devote to it each week.

Is anyone else in higher ed devoting an FTE to social media? If so, what have been the results? The university setting, with its myriad of disciplines, constituencies social and interest groups is the perfect venue for this sort of a role. If shoe companies are hiring social media experts, universities certainly should be as well.

Our office is a fast-paced, stand-alone web team positioned somewhere between IT and PR, a fusion of technology and communication. Like anyone in our discipline, we're simultaneously pushing the envelope and falling way behind. but that's what makes the web fun, right? This new position should make things even more exciting.

So spread the word and let me know what you think of our expansion into this area. I know a lot of folks in the uwebd community are already doing amazing things in social media. We're hoping we can be a bigger part of that.

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Comment by Katie Foraker on March 22, 2010 at 11:30am
I am a Social Media Specialist for Liberty University. Being the first of my kind, it has been challenging forging a way for social media in a university setting where content is used to having a very high level of control. I've read many article where my position is called a community manager, or community moderator. I am a FTE and I create social media strategy (long term and short) for our clients (schools, departments etc.). I also run the top level Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr accounts (LU Online, Liberty University and Alumni all have separate accounts.) I believe the hardest thing can sometimes be buy-in from top decision makers of really allowing two-way communication (and leaving negative comments). Don't expect blow-out results within months-we've been steadily growing our fans, followers, connections and creating policy university wide. I'd love to hear advice or feedback from anyone who also currently has or is thinking of hiring for a social media specialist position to hear your thoughts. Excited about finding others I can communicate with, lonely being the only one of my kind in such a large establishment!
Comment by Jay Collier on November 21, 2008 at 10:06pm
We just started recruiting an online media producer whose responsibilities consist, in large part, of social media management.
Comment by David Baker on November 14, 2008 at 4:52pm
I'm a fan of Brad's blog as well. A lot of us are doing this (or trying to do it) as part of our regular work and it's often treated as an add-on, so it's time to see where we can go with a full-time staffer focusing on this. Higher ed is such an ideal place to test out social media. It's exciting. I almost wish I could apply for the position myself.

Thanks for your feedback!
Comment by Mark Greenfield on November 14, 2008 at 3:31pm
David -

I give you credit for recognizing the importance of devoting a staff member to social media. Brad is one of several people I know who fills this role, even though they have a different job title.

For my thoughts on this, see my blog post from last February called Does Your College Have a CMO (Community Management Officer)?
Comment by Joanne Tolkoff on November 13, 2008 at 7:00pm
I just saw Brad Ward speak at the Stamats Integrated Marketing conference and he is an inspiration to all of us who would like to hire someone for that kind of position. He is doing great things at Butler University. Here is his blog: http://squaredpeg.com
I don't have the resources at the moment but would hire someone in a heartbeat if I could. So I have to make due with cobbling it together which seems pretty precarious at times. It forces me to ratchet down my expectations.

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