Social media at the university: a demographic comparison

Alice B. Ruleman (James C. Kirkpatrick Library, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, Missouri, USA)

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 13 July 2012



The purpose of this paper is to examine faculty and student responses to questions regarding their use of social media and to determine possible demographic differences.


A web‐based quantitative survey format utilizing multiple choice and matrix type questions was selected for this research.


Both faculty and students are active users of social media. Some distinct demographic differences were found but they did not always match expected results.

Research limitations/implications

The nature of a multiple‐choice survey creates some limitations although it also makes it easier to obtain responses from a broad range of individuals. The responses to this survey indicate some interesting demographic results particularly related to gender differences (or lack of) with the students and faculty, as well as the differences between the two groups even when comparing the same ages. Additional research could help to explain these differences.

Practical implications

This environmental scan can aid the library in determining potential social media to use to provide service to the campus.


The paper confirms that students and faculty are avid users of some, but not all, social media and the study raises some interesting questions regarding the differences between faculty and students.



Ruleman, A. (2012), "Social media at the university: a demographic comparison", New Library World, Vol. 113 No. 7/8, pp. 316-332.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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