THE dean of humanities and other faculty members are now using social media to connect to students.

Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry Messenger, email and SMS are ways used by students to update each other on their news and information. Wits Press, the humanities faculty and Wits Alumni now have Facebook pages which Witsies can use to communicate with the university.

Refilwe Makoloi, a third year BA general student, felt that it was a good decision for Wits to use social media as a means to talk to students as that is where they “will get to see announcements and be informed”.

Psychology, English and media studies have started using blogs to keep their students alert to any changes of lectures and tests. All students can get connected through internet access at Wits and each student has their own Wits email account which is used to receive and send messages to students and staff.

Social media is also being used for other purposes such as online news sources. This was illustrated during the North African revolutions this year and more recently with the Japan earthquakes and tsunami.

Individuals and organisations on Twitter were tweeting ways to help and donate and have submitted emergency phone numbers to call. Photos and videos of the damage have also been widely shared.

According to Paula Fray, an independent media trainer, “the Japanese disaster was the most tweeted and videoed natural disaster [to date].”

Dave Meyers, an online lecturer in the Wits journalism department, spoke about the change social media has undergone with regards to news.

“A generation ago we would only have heard a murmur of what was happening in North Africa. Now we can get a firsthand account of the event.”

Social media is branching out to all areas of life because of its benefit of real-time information. Academic and news information can be shared around the world in an instant.