Measuring Campus Health with Social Media

Monitoring social media activity is a good way for administrators to get a feel for the mood of the campus community.

Schools and universities are beginning to invest in social media monitoring services in order to identify threatening behavior before any violence occurs.

Filtering social media activity can give administrators a clearer picture of their school’s safety, but it can also shed light on a school’s culture.

RELATED: Countering Potential Threats with Social Media Monitoring

Aside from using social media to improve campus security, schools are also choosing to use the technology to answer a simple but sometimes tough-to-answer question: How happy are the people on my campus?

Universities can use social media to see what kids think of different aspects of their campus while K-12 schools can see where their students stand on issues that are important to them. “We had a fairly high profile incident in our town and we were curious to see what the community was saying about it,” Revere (Mass.) Public Schools Superintendent Chris Malone says. “So it’s good to try to get a temperature of what people were saying and it gave us feedback on what the community was feeling. It was very helpful information.”

The information can also be used to get students help from support services if it’s determined they need it.

“Even in relation to what went on in Paris last fall, if there were any issues, not so much threats but kids putting on social media concerns or wondering about it or feeling unsafe about it, it gives you an extra layer to see what’s happening,” Malone adds. “In some cases we can figure out if social workers should be involved, particularly when we see self-injurious behavior.”

RELATED: Tackling Social Media Monitoring’s Liability, Clery Compliance Questions

Digital Fly’s Derek Peterson also sees the technology as a way to get kids the services they need.

“We want to provide help for these kids if they need it,” he says. “It’s about identifying stress or other issues that these kids are dealing with, and then it’s ‘How do I get this person therapy?’ or whatever they need to get an education.”

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About the Author


Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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