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The opportunities for Scottish universities to engage with their staff, students and the general public using social media services is examined. The presence of public-facing social media links on university homepages was noted to be common to all institutions. Although the specific social media services identified varied considerably, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were the most prevalent. Using a web-based survey, policies, practices and attitudes towards the use of social media in education by staff and students were explored. The results indicate that while the use of social media by Scottish universities is widespread, there is no consensus on who can use these services or for what purpose these services are encouraged. Neither are there clear official guidelines on the use of social media services for engaging with education and research. All the universities were consistent in their use of third-party social media services rather than using internal, bespoke applications. This paper documents a baseline for the emerging use of social media by universities and notes that the current situation is embryonic, inconsistent, and at times contradictory. A longitudinal study is recommended.
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