The opening of this year's CASE Europe Social Media and Community Conference by Debra Humphris, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Brighton, was a leadership lesson in the beauty of grey. Her talk focused on how senior leaders within higher education need to have a balanced take on using social media for communications and engagement. As one of only a few female vice chancellors in UK higher education, Humphris talked about the positives and negatives of having a presence on social media – primarily on Twitter. While her talk wasn't very long in duration, her wisdom resonated with the conference crowd of marketing and communications professionals:
It's not often that you hear a senior leader speak about social media from a position of nuance that actually reflects the reality of social media for engagement and leadership purposes.
Balance was a key theme to the welcome from Humphris. She extolled the benefits of social media platforms like Twitter and talked about what it's like being the focus (as an individual) for institution-wide decisions:
VC Humphris opens CASE conference with thoughts about the good, the bad and the ugly of social media. #casesmc— CJCagney (@CJCagney) March 31, 2016
It was great to hear an acknowledgement from Humphris of an awareness of the ever-changing digital landscape that is social media.
Challenges organisationally to manage communication channels... Generational issues with connecting to social media: Prof Humphris #casesmc— Phil Pass (@phil_m_pass) March 31, 2016
Humphris is definitely a good role-model for other UK vice chancellors. Her engagement via Twitter showcases the fluency of an experienced user.
Having senior leaders who are aware of the value (and presence) of social media is vital for organizational success in digital spaces. Kudos to Humphris for understanding how her role within the University of Brighton is enhanced via her use of social media.
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