- Some students at commencement ceremonies have been using Snap Inc.'s Spectacles, which work with the company's popular Snapchat platform, to create videos documenting a moment of student life from a new perspective, according to University Business.
- Spectacles allows users to take video in first-person and hands-free, wearing them like glasses, and higher ed institutions and students are still experimenting with how the technology could be used, from capturing research processes to snapping key moments in sports matches.
- Some feel the relatively cheap Spectacles can also act as an introduction to augmented reality wearables, which could become a massive innovation for higher ed and other industries more generally, and the affordability of Spectacles gives it an additional advantage over the troubled release of Google Glass.
The demographics and increasing rate of Snapchat users should indicate to higher ed institutions that the platform is a viable marketing tool to reach potential students. An August 2016 report found that the app was on pace to have a larger amount of users in the United States than both Twitter and Pinterest. Nearly one in four Snapchat users were not yet graduates of high school, which makes it a potentially powerful tool for colleges and universities to reach the age group that is starting to consider where they will pursue their postsecondary education.
Social media platforms in general are in wide use by young people, and colleges and universities have sometimes been a little slow in investing in them as a marketing tool. A study found that 67% of students used social media in making their college decision. And a separate survey uncovered that social media marketing was particularly beneficial for certain demographics, with 27% of first-generation students 27% of first-generation students, 25% of Hispanic students, 24% of African-American students, and 24% of students from households with $60K or lower income levels report they first discovered a college on social media — far higher percentages than other populations.
However, the first study found that only 15.7% of private universities and 16.8% of public universities employed someone whose sole role involved managing social media platforms. Colleges and universities should also recognize that their student base is an excellent source for discovering and experimenting with new social media platforms, as it is likely they will be using those platforms at a similar rate to the slightly younger potential applicants.