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Building Authenticity in Social Media Tools to Recruit
Innovative Higher Education (2014)
  • Jean Sandlin, California Lutheran University
  • Edlyn V. Peña, California Lutheran University

An increasing number of institutions utilize social media tools, including studentwritten blogs, on their admission websites in an effort to enhance authenticity in their recruitment marketing materials. This study offers a framework for understanding what contributes to prospective college students’ perceptions of social media authenticity and how their perceptions shape expectations of the college experience. The results of the study are based on qualitative data comprising 16 in-depth interviews, 165 journal entries, and an eightmember focus group interview with college-bound students. Prospective college students perceived student-written blogs to be authentic when student bloggers disclosed personal details and feelings about campus life, even when the topic of the blog was contrived to focus on admission and college-related activities. Recognizing a blog as authentic occurred through the process of internalizing the experience described in the blog post and identifying with the blogger.

  • higher education,
  • social media,
  • admissions
Publication Date
Citation Information
Jean Sandlin and Edlyn V. Peña. "Building Authenticity in Social Media Tools to Recruit" Innovative Higher Education Vol. 39 Iss. 4 (2014)
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