Rise and Shine

8 Social Media Tactics for Higher Education Used by MIT


According to BostInno, MIT is the most buzzed about university online. Mashable lists it as one of the top 10 social media-savvy universities in the world. Here are eight social media tactics that make social media at MIT so great.


Twitter: hashtags for events

Dedicate a specific hashtag for an event. Attendees can share what they find memorable, inspiring, funny, or interesting about the event in pictures and words. Tweeters can search for the hashtag and immediately read what is being posted about the event. It is a form of collective note taking. The MIT Media Lab does this well with #MLTalks; for example, the #MLTalks hashtag was used when Joi Ito and Reid Hoffman talked at the MIT Media Lab on April 4.


Tumblr: collaborative photo journal

Some events take place all over campus. This was true for MIT’s Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). Therefore, a Tumblr blog was set up so prefrosh and students could post images from the many events happening around MIT that weekend.


Facebook: bring them into the space with cover photos

Facebook pages provide space for a logo and a large cover photo. This cover photo takes up a lot of space and gives the first impression to a visitor to the page. MIT Libraries uses a photo that makes one feel like he or she is in the library. MIT Sloan Executive Education uses a photo that makes you feel like you have stepped into a class. These are great cover photos for giving a visitor to the page the feeling of being there in person.


Blogs: what life is like here

A great way to show the human side of a university is a community blog. The MIT Admissions blog is a great example of this. Students from different years and departments write about their experiences at MIT throughout the year. Here’s a post that gives you a great idea of the quirkiness that happens in the dorms.


Flickr: historical archive

Flickr is great for photo archive collections. For example, MIT Libraries show off their beautiful black and white photos from the Kepes-Lynch Photograph Collection.


Google+: ‘about’ section

Use the ‘about’ section in Google+ for more than just a minimal bio. After all, this content is searchable on Google, meaning people using Google as their search engine would likely to find your page, even if they do not have a Google or Gmail account. Professor Hiroshi Ishii of the MIT Media Lab has an extensive biography on his profile.


YouTube: playlists that give back

There are a lot of promotional videos out there, especially business YouTube channels. Make your university YouTube page look less commercial and more focused on education and bettering the world. MIT’s main YouTube channel has almost 100 playlists full of publicly-accessible videos for learning differential equations, biological engineering design, calculus, optics, etc. There are even homework help videos.  Try this playlist on Linear Algebra.


Soundcloud: play back the live experience

Although much of the content on Soundcloud is music, universities can take advantage of the platform’s functionality by posting lectures, podcasts, interviews, and other content that gives the listener an experience with the sounds of campus. CoLab Radio, part of MIT Community Innovators Lab, records sounds related to CoLab Radio’s mission of the open sharing of ideas dealing with aspects of city and regional planning. Take, for example, this podcast: ‘God’s Plan: Is there a connection between faith and city planning?‘ in which two professors talk about how faith-based groups impact communities’ structure and function.


  1. Markefidelman /

    The issue with MIT is they don’t practice what they teach.

    The Sloan MBA program only has a handful of social related classes. They’re not properly preparing the graduate to use Social Media as they do.

    • stephaniehatch /

      Actually, it would amaze you how much Sloan does teach about social media and social business. They may not have classes titled ‘Social Media’, but they incorporate social into much of what they do and teach. In fact, they publish a lot of content in MIT Sloan Management Review on these topics. A recent article: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/feature/kaiser-permanente-using-social-tools-to-improve-customer-service-research-and-internal-collaboration/ MIT Sloan is also one of MIT’s most active schools on social media. 

  2. Event-specific hashtags are a good idea, but you should be sure to search Twitter ahead of time to be sure that your hashtag isn’t being used by another event.

    The Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Canadian Franchise Association, Corporate & Financial Awards, Columbia Festival of the Arts, and Code for America all tried using #CFA2012 for their events in just the past 4 months. It’s not a huge problem if the events aren’t all happening around the same time, but a quick search before publishing your “official” hashtag can help you avoid picking one that may get confused with other groups.

    • Good point Peter. I wanted to use #SMS for Social Media Sun, but obviously being a synonym for text messages, the #SMS hash tag is widely used for every subject of Tweet.

  3. (duplicate comment deleted)

  4. R Abdoel /

    Great tips to use social media in a useful way and engage with students. i def. will try some of these

  5. Cliffordp /

    Great blog!


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