By Amanda Forbes
Social media coordinator for Texas State Jon-Stephen Stansel spoke to students Thursday about social media in higher education.
Stansel single-handedly runs the school’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat accounts. Stansel said he never anticipated operating social media accounts for his job, but times are changing.
“Social media is the most interesting and challenging part of my day,” Stansel said.
According to Engagement Lab, three of the top five universities on social media are in Texas. Stansel said this sets the bar high to provide quality content for students, faculty and staff that connect with Texas State on all of its platforms.
“Social media and higher education are made for each other,” Stansel said. “We have close to 40,000 students, and you’re all very active on Texas State’s social media.”
Texas State’s social media department sets goals to create and share quality content, build a collaborative university-wide social media environment, and strengthen the school’s brand. Stansel said there are good and bad parts to being in charge of the accounts.
“Social media is like playing Tetris,” Stansel said. “All the pieces need to be in place so we can score big. We need networks that are monitored, we need to be posting quality content, our analytics measurements have to be in place, and we have to be posting at the right time.”
There are hundreds of Texas State-affiliated accounts and multiple audiences for each one to appeal to. Stansel said it can be difficult to moderate each account and make sure content reaches the people it’s intended for.
“Whether these accounts have five or 5,000 followers, they represent the university and we need to make sure they’re doing a good job of that,” Stansel said.
Molly Armstrong, a sophomore advertising major who attended the event, said she realized that social media jobs are challenging and don’t stop depending on the time of day.
“I learned that it’s a 24/7 job,” Armstrong said. “You work on holidays, on your days off, and it’s really not traditional.”
Kym Fox, a mass communications and journalism professor who held the panel during her class, said students should take what Stansel said and apply it as mass communication professionals.
“What I really hope students learned is that what he said can apply across the disciplines,” Fox said. “If you happen to find yourself in a job where you have any sort of social media responsibilities, all the things he said are applicable.”
Thursday was the last day of Texas State’s Mass Comm Week that invited mass communication affiliated majors to attend panels and learn about the field.