In a politically-charged era fueled by fake news debates and increasingly anti-intellectual sentiments, institutions of higher education face a significant challenge in developing and maintaining authority.
The most troubling threat to that authority is anti-expert sentiment and negativity towards the work and position of academics. There’s a persisting notion that they lack ‘real world’ experience or are elitists detached from everyday concerns, which erodes the value of their work to a society largely consisting of non-academics.
This is a problem for universities.
In an effort to combat swirling anti-expert sentiments, institutions are turning to social media as a platform to share knowledge in ways they’ve never been able to before.
Because while some use the potential of social to spread education, others use it in attempts to appeal to the public’s distrust of expertise.
Social platforms, blogs, podcasts—these are spaces to openly broadcast research, making knowledge accessible and establishing audiences for the authoritative voices of academia and inviting healthy conversation between intellectuals and layperson audiences.
It’s up to institutions to get smart about social communication and embrace its ability to inform non-academic audiences and facilitate communication between academics and the society their work serves.
For today’s universities, social is on your side.