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Module 4: Approaches to the Analysis of Education Policy
Essay title: 'Don't affect the share price': Social media policy in higher education as brand management
This study considers the social media policies of ten universities in the United Kingdom. It addresses some of the ways in which HEIs are responding to both the positive potential of social media as well as its perceived threats. It argues that the development of social media policies has been taken in response to both the promise of social media in promoting university µbrands¶ as well as the threat to institutional reputation. The creation and implementation of social media policies have therefore played a key role in helping universities manage both the risks and benefits of social media in the context of a marketised HE environment in which the defence of institutional reputation has become an increasing priority.
I am currently Principal Lecturer in Learning Technology at Kingston University, a medium-sized post-'92 university in the south of England. I am based, not in a faculty, but in the Academic Development Centre, a central department dedicated to academic staff development and to the making and
implementation of the Kingston University¶s Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy. I have played some role in developing this strategy - a kind of policy if you like - especially the sections relating to educational technologies. Although I have not been directly involved in developing institutional social media policy, I am in regular contact with colleagues notably those from both Information Services and Marketing and Communications - who are. As such, I might be said to enjoy something of the µepistemological privilege¶ of being an µinsider¶ researcher and am therefore able to gain insights which, as Colin Lankshear and Michel Knobel (2006) remind us, µare sights from the inside¶ (247-8).
I should also add that I am, for primarily professional purposes, a regular user of social media; I have both Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/) and Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/) accounts which I use for work- and study-related purposes. I also have accounts on Slideshare (http://www.slideshare.net/), Prezi (http://prezi.com/), Scribd (http://www.scribd.com/) and Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/) where I store and share images, papers and presentations. Finally, I have active accounts on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/) and Academia.edu (http://academia.edu/) for additional professional networking purposes.
When I use social media am I representing myself or my institution? My initial answer is, of course, myself. However, is it really possible to blog or to tweet in a wholly individual capacity that does not invoke in any way one¶s institutional affiliation? When I post an off-the-cuff and uncomplimentary tweet
about current HE policy (see Fig. 1), I do so as an individual academic expressing a personal opinion to those who follow me.
Fig. 1: tweet articulating personal opinion
However, might my tweet be perceived to be representing an institutional (Kingston University) or possibly departmental (Academic Development Centre) viewpoint? In using social media to articulate a position hostile to a government policy that I may - perhaps will - later have to help implement, am I not undermining the work of my department or institution? It¶s an ambiguous area that, as I will argue, clearly-defined social media policies seek to address.
My research for this essay adopts a more deductive approach insofar as my µinsiderness¶ has allowed me to develop the hypothesis that the making of social media policy in higher education is a response to the perceived threat of reputational damage to institutions caused by unregulated and unsupervised social media use by both staff and students. Although I will also argue that advising staff of IPR, copyright, liability, data protection issues and general good practice are also an important part of social media policy, for
However.but often hidden . Social media tends now to be the term used in preference to Web 2. it is the metaphorical µshare price¶.0 and encompasses such varied technologies as blogs. social networking sites like Facebook and media sharing services like YouTube and Flickr. with this ease comes potential threats. offers the following advice to academics considering using social media: µ[t]he simple rule for everyone should be ³don't affect the share price´. µbrand value¶ or reputation that enables universities to recruit students and. facilitating dialogue and sharing resources. wikis. Social media has greatly lowered the threshold technological barriers to creating online spaces.purpose is to protect universities¶ reputation in the context of a competitive HE market in which µbrand value¶ is key. As I will argue in more detail later. What is social media and why does it matter to HE? Social media is the term used to designate online services characterised by a high degree of collaboration. associate head of e-learning at the Higher Education Academy. This is why the µbrand¶ or reputation needs to be carefully managed. to charge the maximum possible. Derek Morrison. interaction and content sharing. in an exchange quoted in the Times Higher Education Supplement.Tony McNeill many institutions the main . Could online spaces and digital communication tools allow academic staff to stray 'off message' and articulate 4 . in the context of differential tuition fees. no matter what technology you are using¶ (Corbyn 2008).
The need to manage the risks attendant upon such uncontrolled and decentralised uses of social media services informs. Although other policies relating to the use of internet-based technologies exist .past.some institutions have responded to both new challenges and 5 . present and potential . information services and marketing/communications that academic staff using social media are circumventing university controls in ways that may present themselves.g. perhaps most important of all.Tony McNeill statements or publish media at variance with institutional policy or in some way detrimental to institutional reputation? Of equal concern. tend not to be hosted on institutional systems such as the university intranet (e. could online social media sites become spaces in which staff and students . their students and.around university computing and telecommunications facilities. There¶s a sense amongst some senior staff in departments of human resources. their institution with unacceptable levels of risk. intellectual property rights and staff and student disciplinary policies to name just a few examples . the institutional VLE (e.g. Blackboard Learn) or official university web sites.post defamatory or inflammatory comments also harmful to a university¶s reputation? Although social media offer many great opportunities to connect and engage with a range of users. to a large degree. the senior management of some institutions regard it with a degree of caution. This is because blogs or Facebook pages. for example. the making of social media policy in higher education. Social media therefore fall outside of the institutional policies and management control mechanisms. Moodle. the many university intranets that use Microsoft SharePoint). data protection.
than they might receive at the LSE where the majority of full.a pre-'92 institution far less prestigious than the LSE . in some the cases. Although the claim would be uncontroversial to many . came into conflict with his employers over comments he had made in his blog. Ringmar resigned from the LSE in 2006 claiming that the university authorities had made his life µunbearable¶. In one of his blog posts. for students too. Going rogue: one case study of µmaverick¶ social media use The most high-profile case of an academic using social media in a way that was perceived to cause reputational harm took place in 2006 when Erik Ringmar. but only 6 .Tony McNeill new threats by developing an explicit social media policy for staff and. After an uncomfortable period during which a number of attempts were made to reprimand him for his conduct. everyone including Sir Howard Davies was endorsing the idea.and part-time academic staff devote their energies to research. Ringmar made the claim that LSE students would receive as good a quality education and academic support from London Metropolitan University . In an account published later.especially those working in pre-'92 universities . Freedom of speech is fine. Ringmar claimed that: My mistake was to use the freedom of speech to discuss the institution itself ± the LSE and English academia. then a lecturer in government at the London School of Economics (LSE).it attracted the disapproval of senior management who felt that the institution's reputation was being unfairly maligned.
However. That teaching comes a poor second to research at elite institutions such as the LSE is only a controversial claim in the context of an institution competing for students in a global marketplace in which reputation counts and where statements damaging to reputation must be removed from the public sphere. What drivers inform the development of social media policies? Shattock (2006) has argued that from the late 1970s onwards. The example of Ringmar¶s conflict with the LSE .Tony McNeill as long as speaking freely did not deter prospective students from applying. In an era of commercialized education.although an extreme case . (Ringmar 2007:44) Ringmar¶s description of his conflict with LSE¶s senior management is an inevitably one-sided account designed to present himself in the best possible light as a valiant defender of free speech in the face of the depredations of managerialist culture and appears reluctant to acknowledge instances in which he might legitimately be seen to have acted unprofessionally. He argues that µthe state has 7 . higher education policy has been driven exclusively from the 'outside inwards' with internally-generated policy making being increasingly sidelined as the state takes over the lion¶s share of its development. the limits to freedom of speech are set by the market. he makes a valid point in describing academic freedom of expression as circumscribed by the market.highlights some of the possibilities of social media to stage debates and construct arguments in public that cause discomfort to institutions¶ senior management.
Conservative. The context of higher education policy making in the UK then is very much driven by the priorities of government. Dearing  was much more the voice of Government¶ (139).Tony McNeill taken over policy making because the insider organs that once generated policies have been weakened or no longer exist¶ (138). The principal national HE policy driver informing policy . if you prefer.is. therefore.cited earlier . The main driver behind the development of a range of policies in UK HEIs has been successive governments¶ . Ringmar¶s claim .that the limits of the publicly sayable are set by the market is not without justification when placed in the context of this dominant policy driver. its drivers are external rather than internal. pseudo-market principles. New Labour and Coalition commitment to restructure higher education provision along market or.including µmicro¶ policies such as an institution¶s social media policy . a movement that seek to refashion the relationship between academics and students along the lines of a service 8 . To summarise this tendency. the marketisation of higher education. Shattock uses the example of two reports of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education from different decades to claim that µ[i]f Robbins  was quintessentially the voice of the universities. The marketisation of higher education I¶m using the term µmarketisation¶ to designate the movement towards the commodification of academic education.
(3) Roger Brown (2011) provides a more detailed and structured account of marketization. Kathleen Lynch (2006) provides a useful summary of neo-liberalism and its impact on higher education: The corporatisation and marketisation of the universities has its origins in neo-liberal politics that is premised on the assumption that the market can replace the democratic state as the primary producer of cultural logic and value. social justice. iii) price and iv) information. the individual (rather than the nation) is held responsible for her or his own wellbeing. Although not all of these characteristics are directly relevant to my argument. especially to stateguaranteed rights in education. the importance of competition. 2005). 2000). price and information most certainly 9 . The knowledge developed or acquired at university is now less a public good and more a commodity to be capitalized on or traded in on the employment market. µas much a political/ideological process as an economic phenomenon¶ (2) insofar as it is symptomatic of the neo-liberal weakening of the state and the concommitant stress on the value of higher education to the individual (as consumer who expects a µreturn¶ on his/her time but also financial investment) than to the collective (democratic entitlement. 1990. as Frank Furedi (2011) points out. He identifies four features that define marketisation: i) institutional autonomy. resourced and capable of making market-led choices. Neo-liberalism offers a market view of citizenship that is generally antithetical to rights. The citizen is defined as an economic maximiser. learning for its own sake as an innate good). health and other public goods (Chubb & Moe. Marketisation is. In this new market state. 1996. There is a glorification of the µconsumer citizen¶. construed as willing. The state¶s role is one of facilitator and enabler of the consumer and market-led citizen (Rutherford.Tony McNeill provider and a consumer. welfare. ii) institutional competition. (13). governed by self-interest. Tooley.
One exemplification of this is the recent national policy published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) requiring all universities to produce µKey Information Sets¶. The provision of information about a university. or µcomparable sets of standardised information about undergraduate courses¶ (HEFCE 2011) by September 2012 (Fig. its course and employment record of its graduates has become an increasingly important part of the work of universities.e. The policy driver here is.Tony McNeill are. 2: mock-up of a Key Information set 10 . marketization but more specifically the market-driven necessity for the consumer (i. Fig. of course. the potential student) to have the information on which to base his/her choices as a customer. 2).
Tony McNeill However. All 11 . 2006). comparatively few were organised in a strongly professional way. as Brown points out. Today¶s pattern is very different. and operating at the strategic core of the university. This can be done through raising one¶s scores in the exercises that inform league tables such the annual Student Satisfaction Survey (NSS 2012). seen a strong momentum in this direction. over the last decade or so marketing and communications departments have seen their influence grow: The last decade has. Brown (2011) argues that µthe growth of marketing functions is inevitable and essential¶ (36) and that. promoting one¶s institutional brand is another means of differentiating oneself from competitor universities (Chapleo 2005. In higher education the difficulty is that the product is not visible and the opportunities for repeat purchases are limited (Cave et al. marketisation¶s stress on providing consumers with information does not translate well to the context of higher education: According to market theory. Brand or reputation management The reference to league tables in the above extract from Brown makes clear the growing importance of competition and the need to stand out from institutional competitors. using professionally qualified marketing staff. A study of marketing activity in universities in the early 1990s (Smith et al. in particular. quality is protected automatically as consumers use the available information to select the product that is most suitable for them: suppliers that do not provide goods that are suitable go out of business. This does not of course stop either commercial publishers or government agencies from producing information to guide students and funders in the form of institutional rankings and µleague tables¶. 1995) showed that although all were engaged in marketing. However. 1992).
it¶s clear why some senior management feel that the use of social media needs to be professionally managed to protect and enhance institutional reputation and its brand value in the marketplace. and few are worried about using the µM¶ word in the everyday language of the institution. such as business. Most now have a specific appointment at second tier level (Pro Vice Chancellor) to lead marketing and/or external relations activities. When students choose colleges. and heads of institutions increasingly focus on the role of surveying. (36) From a US perspective. marketing has a key place in the management and leadership of the UK¶s universities. Colleges and universities complete vigorously to market their institutions to high-ability students able to assume high debt loads. media arts. Deem & Brehony 2005) have termed the µnew managerialism¶ of public sector institutions such as universities.Tony McNeill universities have expanded their operational marketing functions. institutions advertise education as a service and a life style. communications. Student consumers choose (frequently private) colleges and universities that they calculate are likely to bring a return on investment and increasingly choose majors linked to the new economy. shaping and responding to the external environment and markets. And at strategic level. in particular the imposition of a powerful management 12 . µNew managerialism¶ is the term used to designate practices that are commonplace in the private sector. It¶s also unsurprising that it is often the case that marketing departments have led on the development of policy. New Managerialism Related to the marketisation of higher education is the development of what some researchers (Deem 1998. (1-2) In this context. Slaughter and Rhoades (2004) argue more strongly that: [t]he theory of academic capitalism moves beyond thinking of the students as consumer to considering the institution as marketer.
Methods and methodology This study of social media policy documents broadly adopts the analytical approach of critical discourse analysis (CDA). Deem goes on to argue that: 'New managerialism'. reproduced.such as the right to claim that students might receive as good an education at London Metropolitan University as they would at the LSE . she argues that we have seen a µshift from both the collegium and from professional autonomy and discretion¶ (50) towards a much more tightly managed higher education sector in which academic autonomy and freedom of speech . and an emphasis on standards. performance measured against set criteria. Deem (1998) argues that higher education is no longer a µgentleman¶s club¶ in which collegiality presides and academics are expected to self-manage. and inequality are enacted. is likely to place considerable pressure on roles and individuals. dominance. (52) The case of Eric Ringmar and his conflict with senior management at the LSE is a good example of this tension. and resisted by text and talk in particular social and political contexts. µNew managerialism¶ is also characterised by an emphasis on discipline. efficiency. My starting hypothesis - 13 . I was drawn to CDA because it represents an analytical method whose primary focus are the ways in which power. external monitoring. if it exists in universities. especially where tensions between the logic of managerial control and the conventions of professional autonomy become especially acute.Tony McNeill body overriding professional skills and knowledge. Rather.are constrained by the overriding priority to protect institutional/employer interests.
those which might be interpreted as constraining 14 . This had some similarity with my interest in the ways in which the discourses of both marketisation and µnew managerialism¶ inflected the social media policy texts under consideration.Tony McNeill that policy was a response to senior management¶s anxiety about unregulated social media use that sought to manage or control academic freedoms . To quote Fairclough. I¶m adopting a stance that is critical of both the marketisation of higher education and of the µnew managerialism¶. work and. in particular. expose by making the tacit explicit. one of CDA¶s leading practitioners. I want to highlight the potential difficulties that the more prescriptive policies might pose. constituting and constructing the world in meaning¶ (Fairclough 1992: 64). in particular. CDA often presents itself as a dissident research form insofar as critical discourse analysts adopt an explicit political or ideological position when seeking to understand. In this study. I was also influenced by Norman Fairclough. My arguments are also informed by his definition of discourse in Language and Power (1989) and Discourse and Social Change (1992) as somewhere closer to the more expansive definition of socially-situated language informed by a specific ideology or culture than the more limited definition of µdiscourse¶ as a stretch of language in use. his use of the theme of the language of what he termed µnew capitialism¶ in Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Researchers (2003).drew me towards this type of analytical approach. discourse µis a practice not just of representing the world but of signifying the world. and ultimately resist power.
my convenience sampling has the appearance of purposive. µWeb 2.0 policy HE¶. Fig.Tony McNeill academic autonomy and circumscribing the possibilities for innovation which almost always involve a degree of risk.g. the one I generally use for professional networking (http://twitter.e. µsocial media guidelines¶ into the Google search engine and following up the relevant search results. My search involved inputting a number of search strings . nonprobability sampling (Ritchie & Lewis 2003: 77- 15 . µsocial networking policy HE¶. convenience sampling and my sample comes from the ten social media policies currently available online that I was able to locate between early October and late November 2011. 3). Sampling method All sampling is.com/anthonymcneill). that is to say. to tweet a request for information on and links to social media policy documents from UK-based HEIs (Fig. I also used my main Twitter account. 3: tweet requesting examples of social media policy By chance rather than by design. µsocial media policy HE¶. to some degree.
I was not able to locate any social media policy documents from an µancient¶ university such as the University of Oxford or the University of Edinburgh so the sample cannot be said to be wholly representative of the HE sector in the UK. University of Durham. University College. University of Surrey) and µnew¶ or µpost-¶92¶ universities (e.with staff from other parts of the institutions? What other types of policy document or broader policy context does the policy link to or form part of? With the exception of two universities. University of Huddersfield). plate glass (e. It would be interesting to conduct further research into the apparent absence of social media policies from µancient¶ universities . University of Bristol).in the main elite institutions ± with a view to exploring the degree to which they feel they do not require the sort of µbrand management¶ other universities do.g.Tony McNeill 108) insofar as the ten institutions with publicly-accessible policy documents represent a broad cross-section of the different types of university in the UK: those chartered in the 19th century (e. most policies were accessed from either the human resources pages or the marketing pages of the universities¶ 16 . The location of policy making A key question I wished to consider when analysing policy was the location of that policy making. Which department or unit has primary responsibility for creating policy? What are the forms of consultation .if any . University of Essex.g. London) through to µred brick ¶ (e.g.g. University of Central Lancashire.
the social media policy was accessed via the Human Resources pages of the external-facing website. It¶s obvious from the admittedly small sample that the marketing and communications teams currently have the largest stake in developing social media policy.University College London.or µguidelines¶ as they are called . the University of Leicester and Oxford Brookes University) . the University of Glamorgan. At three universities . At Heriot Watt University the social media policy was developed by and published on the pages of the Web team and at the University of Essex the policy . 4). the University of Huddersfield. Marketing and communications services appear to 17 .were developed by the university¶s Social Media Overview Group which reported to the Communications Sub-group of the ICT Steering Group. Durham University and the University of Surrey . at five universities . Marketing (5/10) University College London University of Glamorgan University of Huddersfield University of Leicester Oxford Brookes University HR (3/10) University of Central Lancashire Durham University University of Surrey Other (2/10) Heriot Watt University University of Essex Fig.Tony McNeill web sites (Fig.the University of Central Lancashire. 4: the location of social media policy The location of policy is a clear indicator of which department has the strongest strategic interest in developing social media policy.marketing (and communications) hosted the policy. This is because these teams are more actively engaged in protecting or adding to institutional brand value.
Where policy was produced by marketing and communications departments. as such. Unlike marketing departments. For example. the influence of marketing discourse was. tend to contextualise social media use in terms of potential misconduct. Moreover. use of a discursive repertoire drawn from marketing and the underpinning concept of the university as a brand to be bought into. 18 . most prevalent. There¶s a stress in the policies emanating from HR departments on compliance and managerial structures. predictably. the University of Leicester¶s social media policy states that: Social media presents an opportunity but also a challenge for brand and reputation management [emphasis mine]. Equally interesting are the three institutions whose human resources departments were responsible for policy making. However. We can discern then. HR departments are generally the originating source for disciplinary policies and. a sidebar to the left of the policy text links to a page on the µUniversity's Brand Proposition¶ which explains to readers the µneed for an underpinning market proposition¶ to differentiate the University of Leicester from other institutions in a competitive marketplace. in these policy documents.Tony McNeill have a better grasp of how to use social media as it increasingly an integral part of how private-sector companies develop their brand. it is not immediately clear to me what claim to expertise HR departments might have in the area of social media.
the university might interpret the post as having a µnegative impact¶ on the institution and cause it to be brought into disrepute (at worst as racist and at best as negligent in addressing the issue). However instances where the University is brought into disrepute may constitute misconduct or gross misconduct and disciplinary action will be applied. However. I might be blogging as part of a genuine attempt to raise awareness of an issue of concern to me and to seek advice from others.php) to help analyse this particular document. The policy raises more issues than it can answer but would certainly appear to conflict with the academic ideals of free speech and transparency. A concordancer allows users to input a text and identifies the frequency of individual words.Tony McNeill For example. suppose I were an academic at the University of Surrey and posted to my public blog that my department had a poor record in recruiting students from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. However.in contrast to most of the other policies . the University of Surrey¶s social media policy is a two-page PDF document that adopts a defensive stance and stresses reputational risks. to adapt Erik Ringmar¶s case. This policy is clearly about defining acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and offers .little advice to staff on good practice: « serious misuse of Social Networking sites that has a negative impact on the University may be regarded as a disciplinary offence. Although I had neither the time nor the expertise to develop skills in concordancing.com/concordancer.spaceless. I thought it might be productive to use an online concordancing tool (http://www. This particular online 19 . what might a µnegative impact¶ be? For example. An individual is free to talk about the University.
Social media policy as reputation management In seven of the ten policy documents analysed. This is a document redolent of the discourse of the µnew manageralism¶: there is a stress on compliance with policy. suggestive of a document whose purpose is to protect institutional interests above all else. other frequentlyused terms invoke institutional hierarchies . 5): content disciplinary employees employment manager networking personal policy services site sites social staff university working Fig. Setting the concordancer to remove the 1. Moreover.000 most common words and to display only words which appear on four or more occasions.Tony McNeill concordancer also offers the ability to produce a list of sentences that use a selected word in context and lists the frequency of words as a either list or a word cloud (a frequency weighted list or a kind of textual histogram in the style of many social media sites such as Flickr). process following and seeking permission or advice from one¶s line manager before acting. I produced the following word cloud (Fig.µemployees¶ and µmanager¶ .and also contractual obligations (µemployment¶ and µdisciplinary¶). 5: University of Surrey social media policy word cloud The dominant word is µuniversity¶. reference was made to the importance of institutional reputation at or near the very beginning of the text: 20 .
(UCLan) The purpose of this guidance is to protect the reputation [emphasis mine] of employees of Durham University and the University as a whole from abuse via staff usage of social networking and personal internet sites. µintegrity) as in the example below: The purpose of the social media policy is to promote the interests [emphasis mine] of the University of Glamorgan within the realms of social media whilst protecting the integrity [emphasis mine] of the University and maintaining a consistently high standard of communication with internal and external users. preferring instead alternatives (e. (Durham University) Heriot-Watt University encourages staff to make appropriate use of Web 2. all staff who use Web 2. (Heriot-Watt University) Social media presents an opportunity but also a challenge for brand and reputation management [emphasis mine].Tony McNeill This guidance is designed to bring your attention to the measures within the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) which are designed to protect you from abuse by a colleague via a social networking site and to protect the reputation [emphasis mine] of your employer.0 technologies in work and private life.0 services are responsible for compliance with this policy. policies and guidelines exist outlining the rules when engaging in social media on behalf of the University. For this reason. µinterests¶) or near synonyms (e. operational. financial and reputational risk [emphasis mine] to the University.g.g. (University of Leicester) Other policies avoid direct use of the term µreputation¶. (University of Glamorgan) The idea of institutional reputation is something invoked by the perceived threat of social media being used in ways which bring the university into µdisrepute¶ as in the following examples: 21 . In order to promote student and staff safety and reduce legal.
from Oxford Brooks University. of marketing discourse. However instances where the University is brought into disrepute [emphasis mine] may constitute misconduct or gross misconduct and disciplinary action will be applied. The verb µpromote¶ invokes the marketing possibilities of social media use and therefore may be interpreted as strengthening or enhancing the Oxford Brookes µbrand¶ or reputation. For example. The University of Essex¶s social media policy uses another verb in its opening paragraph: The purpose of these social media guidelines is as follows: y y to encourage good practice to protect [emphasis mine] the University. the Oxford Brookes University social media policy begins: The university is keen to encourage its staff to actively engage in the use of social networking to promote [emphasis mine] and communicate on behalf of Oxford Brookes. (University of Huddersfield) Three policies . In the µgeneral usage policy¶ section there is explicit reference to the µ[u]se of the Oxford Brookes Brand¶ and to staff requirement to µcomply with the corporate branding guidelines¶.Tony McNeill An individual is free to talk about the University. please be aware that disparaging or untrue remarks which may bring the University. However. its staff or students into disrepute [emphasis mine] may constitute misconduct and disciplinary action may be applied. its staff and students 22 .do not refer to reputation as such although the concept is implicit in the verbs used. therefore. University College London and the University of Essex . There is very clear evidence in this policy. (University of Surrey) Anybody is free to talk about the University on social media sites.
although certainly not all of the social media policies. financial or reputational loss may be subject to disciplinary sanctions.Tony McNeill y y to clarify where and how existing policies and guidelines apply to social media to promote effective and innovative use of social media as part of the University's activities The University of Essex¶s social media policy is much less inflected by marketing discourse than that of Oxford Brookes. whether for work or private use. exposes the University to risk of legal liability. However. is the tacit threat from which the University requires protection. Damage to reputation then. (Heriot-Watt University) 23 . In the cases of some.0 services. I¶d argue.g.or levers . the lever is potential disciplinary action in cases of infringement or breach of policy (e. The reader is left to infer meaning and my interpretation is that the threats are both legal but also reputational. University of Huddersfield.in order to change the behaviours of individuals or groups. University of Surrey). What are the levers employed to support policy implementation? The term µpolicy lever¶ refers to the potential actions an organisation might take to influence behaviour. a rather offensive metaphor suggestive of a puppeteer pulling strings . It is. operational. what is less clear are the threats from which the university needs protecting. Heriot-Watt University. A few examples will suffice to give a sense of the register used and sanctions invoked: Staff whose use of Web 2. University of Glamorgan.
a more collegial tone is taken with colleagues encouraged to register their social 24 . In some universities. you are free to talk about UCLan on your site. Another feature of these policies is the requirement to register social media use with either one¶s line manager or a central department (marketing. This allows us to maintain consistency and high standards of use. I would argue. (UCLan) Those institutional whose policies invoke formal disciplinary action.ac. Links from www.glam. Twitter and YouTube. (University of Glamorgan) Such rules place social media use under strict managerial control or else under supervision of a specialist department. (UCLan) All new accounts to be set up on social media sites including (but not exclusive to) Facebook. exercise what Martin Trow (1994) calls µhard managerialism¶ characterised by more authoritarian language and by systems of rewards and sanctions accorded to staff based on their compliance or non-compliance with policy. should be approved by the Web Team before they are created. However.uk to unapproved Facebook or Twitter accounts will be removed. web team or information services) as in the following two examples: If you already have a social networking site or intend to initiate one which indicates in any way that you work at UCLan you should inform your manager. as this may constitute gross misconduct as listed in the Disciplinary Procedure in the staff handbook. you must avoid bringing the University into disrepute in any way. alongside approving use of University of Glamorgan logos etc.Tony McNeill Unless there are specific concerns about the nature of your job. Flickr.
and also try to keep you up to date with central social media developments. stopped. Email digitalcomms [at] ucl. Although the more collegial tone comes as something of a relief when compared to the more authoritarian discourse of other policy texts. The allusion to Goffman¶s (1959) dramaturgical theory is deliberate: his argument that individuals are engaged in what they hope to be a flawless and convincing performance to audiences whilst keeping the messy business of contradiction firmly back stage seems relevant 25 .Tony McNeill media use with a central university department as an option rewarded by advice and regular updates as in the following examples: Get in touch with us! Let us know what you've set up: we'll add you to the list of UCL social media users on this site. the underlying aims are to influence the nature of staff interactions and to create a centralised list of social media use that may be monitored and. if deemed necessary. (University of Leicester) These policies might be seen as exemplifying what Trow (1993) terms µsoft managerialism¶ insofar as they seek the agreement and consent of colleagues and are therefore more compatible with collegiality than µhard managerialist¶ approaches. Conclusion An alternative title to this essay might have been 'the presentation of universities in everyday life'.ac.uk. (UCL) Add your site to the record of all social media sites related to the university by emailing Chris Rice with the site address and details of the maintainer(s).
for better or worse . University of Leicester) adopt a more collegial register and offer support and advice whilst some others (e. Also. University of Surrey) wield the threat of disciplinary action. illustrating the importance now of these functions to the lifeblood of universities.). tone. I have wanted to draw attention to the ways in which even a micro-policy is informed by a dominant policy driver such as the marketisation of higher education. I have also wanted to highlight the potential tensions between the academic ideals of openness and the freedom to act and to write as we see fit 26 . Rather.g. I have not wanted to argue that producing social media policy is a µbad thing¶ per se. Finally. It¶s revealing that half of the social media policies found were developed by institutions¶ marketing and communications departments. many social media policies are about seizing control of what Goffman calls µimpression management¶ imposing from the top-down as it were a repertoire of preferred presentational strategies (use of corporate branding. I have learnt much from reading the documents. disclaimers etc. it is unfair to present all social media policies as a homogeneous monolithic bloc. on-course students and employers. alumni. some of which have been full of constructive advice that I will share with interested colleagues.g. Indeed.Tony McNeill to the ways universities seek to present themselves in the best possible light to a diverse audience including potential applicants. UCLan.has the potential to trouble institutions¶ attempts to project a unified and controlled image of themselves to the world. UCL. Social media . Therefore. some (e.
they also inhibit innovation? 27 . in the name of maintaining the metaphorical university share price. Is perhaps the greatest risk posed by the more restrictive of the social media policies analysed that.Tony McNeill with social media policies that constrain our academic autonomy.
London: Longman.asp?storycode=403827 Deem. Barriers to brand building in UK universities? International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing. (9 October 2008). Cambridge: Polity Press. Nixon. Markets. P. Times Higher Education Supplement. Oxford Review of Education. R. (2006). C. C. F. In Molesworth. (1-8). S. 6(1): 54-64 Chapleo. (2005): Management as ideology: the case of µnew managerialism¶ in higher education. By the blog: academics tread carefully. µClassification¶ and µJudgement¶: social class and the µcognitive structures¶ of choice in Higher Education´. J. E.Tony McNeill References Ball.. 28 . David. London: Routledge Chapleo. D. R.. 'New managerialism' and higher education: The management of performances and cultures in universities in the United Kingdom. Language and Power. & Brehony. (1998). Corbyn. S. (1992). Choice and Equity in Education. Introduction.. N.uk/story. (eds) (2011). Discourse and social change. Davies. (2009). R. (1989). The Edgeless University: Why Higher Education Must Embrace Technology. Bradwell. M. In Molesworth. Buckingham: Open University Press. Z.co. Accessed 26 October 2011 from: http://www. (2005). N. S.. London & New York: Routledge. Brown. The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer. London: Demos. (2002). (11-24). Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. & Reay.J. and Scullion. British Journal of Sociology of Education. (eds) (2011). Fairclough. and Bowe. The March of the Market. Fairclough.J. M. and Scullion. Ball. 12(1): 23±32. Nixon. 31(2): 217235. Fairclough. (2011). Furedi. (1995). 8(1): 47-70 Deem. Do Universities Have 'Successful' Brands? International Journal of Educational Advancement. (2011). London: Routledge Gewirtz. (2003). R. International Studies in Sociology of Education. The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer.timeshighereducation. 32(1): 51-72. K.. M. N. E.. R.J. R.
Accessed 26 January 2012 from: http://www. NSS (2012). Accessed 26 January 2012 from: http://www. 7(3): 325-335. New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Classroom Learning. & LeBlanc. (eds) (2011). C. Neo-liberalism and Marketisation: the implications for higher education.. and Scullion. 26(1): 85-94. M. Lynch. Universities and colleges to provide key information for students.ac. and Scullion. Accessed 26 January 2012 from: http://www. E. Having. 14(3): 277-287. Molesworth. (2009). G. Image and reputation of higher education institutions in students retention decisions.hefce. Student Satisfaction Survey.thestudentsurvey. European Educational Research Journal. Goffman.htm Lankshear.com/id6144-social-media-policy-resource-guide-fromsimtech10. N. (2006). From the Invisible Hand to the Invisible Hand-Shake: marketing higher education. Nguyen. P. Teaching in Higher Education. being and higher education: the marketisation of the university and the transformation of the student into consumer. Research in Post Compulsory Education. M. edu. Buckingham: Open University Press. P. The International Journal of Educational Management. New York: Doubleday. Higher Education as a Market: a problem or a solution? Studies in Higher Education. Social Media Policy Resource Guide for Higher Ed. London: Routledge Molesworth. M. (2002). & Knobel.html Ringmar.. Nixon. Accessed 26 January 2012 from: http://doteduguru. R.uk/news/hefce/2011/kis.ac. K.Tony McNeill Gibbs. E.Guru blog. Key Information Sets.hefce.com/ Petroff. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. (2010). M. A Blogger¶s Manifesto: Free Speech and Censorship in 29 . (1959). (2007). 5(1): 1-17. Nixon. (2001). Gibbs. HEFCE (2011).htm HEFCE (16 June 2011). The Marketisation of Higher Education and the Student as Consumer. (2006 2nd Edition). R.uk/learning/infohe/kis. E. E. (2001). 15(6): 303-311.
60(2): 130±140 Slaughter. and J. Managerialism and the Academic Profession: The Case of England. (1994). Higher Education Policy. M. Academic Capitalism and the New Economy: Markets. Lewis (eds) (2003). S. Baltimore. Higher Education Quarterly. Policy Drivers in UK Higher Education in Historical Perspective: µInside Out¶. and Rhoades. Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. London: Anthem Press Ritchie. 7(2):11-18 30 . Trow. and Higher Education. Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press. M. London: Sage. G. (2006). (2004). States.Tony McNeill the Age of the Internet. µOutside In¶ and the Contribution of Research. Shattock. J.
Tony McNeill 31 .
ac.ac.brookes.uk/digital_media/policy.hud.pdf University of Leicester http://www2.htm University of Huddersfield http://www2.ucl.surrey.php University College London (UCL) http://www.uk/staff/marketing/web/socialmedia/policy University of Surrey http://www.ac.pdf 32 .uclan.ac.ac.Tony McNeill Appendix List of publicly-accessible social media policies University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) http://www.uk/documents/download/52/ Heriot Watt University http://www.ac.uk/shared/shared_vcowg/docs/policies/Social_Networking _Policy.dur.uk/offices/marketing/marcomms/communications/social Oxford Brooks University http://www.uk/hr/policies/social/ University of Essex http://www.hw.uk/social-media/ Durham University http://www.ac.aspx University of Glamorgan http://msr.ac.uk/about/corporate/policies/social_network_policy.uk/information/services/hr/hr_guidance_employees/social _networking.uk/webteam/about/service/social-media.le.glam.essex.ac.ac.
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