Social media and internal comms in higher education

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently pondering internal comms within universities and how social media can transform it. At present, it is constrained by a degree of over-reliance upon e-mail which is ludicrous. Everyone realises it’s a problem and yet, in spite of the technological options now available, there has seemingly been little serious effort to support infrastructural diversification at an institutional level. However, as well as the problems of e-mail overload, there’s the much more positive question of how new technology can liberate the communicative and collaborative potential inherent in any university. The internal communications infrastructure constrains and enables collaboration within the institution. What happens to the kinds of collaborations which emerge if you use new technologies creatively to maximise enablements and minimise constraints? I increasingly see the possibility of interdisciplinary working as fundamentally one of internal comms. You can incentivise interdisciplinary projects in all sorts of top-down ways but, ultimately, if you can develop an internal communications infrastructure which can pervasively counteract the tendency towards departmental & disciplinary siloization then interdisciplinary collaborations are going to emerge in a bottom-up way, simply because you’ve liberated people to collectively pursue projects which would have previously been impeded by all manner of contingent constraints.

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