Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Social Media/ Internet/ Mobile/ Direct Marketing

Publication Date



The use of online social communities for online universities seems a topic where usage can be taken for granted. This paper provides an analysis of social media usage by traditional and online universities and compares their activity levels. The paper analyzes the social media activities of the top 53 undergraduate and top 53 graduate online programs as compared to their traditional programs. Despite the need to engage through these social media sites, online universities in general and online graduate-level programs in particular are not taking advantage of these sites to build communities and deepen relationships with students and alumni as are their traditional programs. Universities invest significantly more resources in their traditional programs’ – both undergraduate and graduate programs – social media usage. This is true across the five social media platforms. Recommendations for online university engagement on the top five social media sites are provided.

About the Authors

Lisa Witzig -- Corresponding Author -- Colorado State University - Colorado State University-Global Campus

Dr. Witzig is the lead faculty at Colorado State University-Global Campus for marketing. Dr. Witzig is the CEO of with Ideen, LLC, a marketing and communications company in the Washington, D.C. area. Ph.D. – Capella University.

Joe Spencer – Anderson University – South Carolina

Dr. Spencer is a Professor of Marketing at Anderson University, Anderson SC. He is the former VP of Emerging applications and VP of Marketing at CenturyLink (CenturyTel). Prior to this he served at AT&T and BellSouth. Dr. Spencer researches social media and new product development. DBA University of Sarasota – Argosy.

Katlyn Myers University of Missouri - Missouri

Ms. Myers is a graduate student at the University of Missouri, where she is studying marketing research. Ms. Myers holds her BA from Anderson University.

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Digital Commons@Georgia Southern License

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Marketing Commons