There is no doubt that social media is ingrained in the way society communicates today, for good or bad. There is evidence that the use of social media will continue to grow as applications expand and new ones enter the market in the near future. Users are eager to try applications that offer engaging and unique ways to communicate with others. For example, today thirty percent of teens rank Snapchat as their most important social network (Oremus, 2015). This platform which was first released in 2011, today has a market of 166 million daily active users (Oremus, 2015).
The great majority of social media users access this platforms for informal, social interactions with friends, family, and acquaintances. Yet, we have also seen an increase in the use of social media for teaching and learning purposes across many different fields (Rodríguez-Hoyos, Salmón, & Fernández-Díaz, 2015). There is also a large number of social media research efforts that hope to better understand and analyze:
- The way people communicate and connect
- What is communicated in these channels
- Forms of activism and protest
- Specific groups and their online interactions
- Equality, diversity, and social issues discussions
- The affordances of the different platforms
- Cultural and country-specific forms of engagement
- Privacy and security issues
Again, it is safe to say that researchers want to learn more about the platforms, the users, and different matters associated with social media use.
A few months ago, I engaged in a research project collaboration with Dr. Royce Kimmons and Dr. George Veletsianos who are Directors of the Digital Learning and Social Media Group. The aim of the project was to understand how Instructional Design (ID) graduate programs use social media accounts. We wanted to know what type of content was posted in these accounts, how many users liked/followed these accounts, how engaged were these accounts in the content sharing process, and what kind of interactions others had with these social media accounts.
To gather the social media accounts of ID graduate programs, we took a different approach. Instead of combing the Internet and social media platforms in search of accounts associated with ID graduate programs, we created an editable Google Spreadsheet and posted it in different outlets to allow our colleagues and graduate students to share their accounts with us. We asked ID faculty members and graduate students to share the public social media sites of their ID program. This focus on public social media accounts was due to the fact that we were primarily interested on Twitter accounts for our research project. However, faculty members and graduate students gladly shared both public and private social media accounts. Here is a link to the public Google Spreadsheet: http://tiny.cc/IDTSocialMediaAccounts.
Today, there are total of forty-six different higher education institutions listed in the spreadsheet, including public and private institutions within the United States and Canada. Based on the content shared in the spreadsheet, we saw that some ID programs/departments have predominantly public social media accounts to communicate with graduate students, faculty, and other stakeholders. In a few instances, ID programs/department have both public and private social media communities. For some ID programs/departments a “hashtag” was the main form of digital togetherness (see Table 1). However, the most common type of social media account by ID graduate programs, based on the data collected via the spreadsheet, are Facebook Pages (see Table 2).
Table 1. Hashtags of Instructional Design Graduate Programs
||Program or Department
|Brigham Young University
||Instructional Psychology & Technology
|California State University Fullerton
|Master of Science Instructional Design and Technology (MSIDT)
|Indian River State College
|School of Education
|Loyola University Maryland
|Master of Education in Educational Technology
|Royal Roads University
|School of Education & Technology
|The University of Texas at Austin
||Leaning Technologies Program
|University of North Texas
|Learning Technologies Program
|University of Wyoming
|Instructional Technology Program
|Wichita State University
|Learning and Instructional Design
We have maintained the editable spreadsheet available for others to access and edit (add other social media accounts). Although we used this editable spreadsheet as a way to crowdsource IDT program/departments social media accounts, I would hope that the spreadsheet serves as a resource for graduate students and faculty across ID programs. If you know other ID program/department which have a social media account and is not listed in the spreadsheet, please add them. This spreadsheet is opened to IDT programs across the globe.
Table 2. Facebook Page of ID Graduate Departments and Programs
Oremus, W. (2015). Is Snapchat really confusing, or I am just old? Technology: Innovation, The Internet, Gadgets, and More. Slate. Retrieved from: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2015/01/snapchat_why_teens_favorite_app_makes_the_facebook_generation_feel_old.html
Rodríguez-Hoyos, C., Salmón, I. H., & Fernández-Díaz, E. (2015). Research on SNS and education: The state of the art and its challenges. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 31(1), 100-111.