Top 10 of Social Media in HE

Nieuws | de redactie
21 december 2010 | Social media are ‘in’. Facebook, Twitter and other platforms for communication and knowledge sharing have gained enormous popularity. But how do universities in Europe respond to this development? ScienceGuide conducted research and created a Top 10 list of HE of the best in social media and presents three prestigious universities that lose out in the race for Twitter, Facebook and co.

From 2011 on, ScienceGuide will offer you a new Englishlanguage service presenting you with news from stakeholders inscience and higher education from all over Europe. We select highlyqualitative live feeds from social media and bring them togetherwith thorough journalistic analyses.

Would you like to become part of our network for knowledgesharing? Get in touch with us via TopTien@scienceguide.nl.

As a first preview, we now present you with the results ofthe research we conducted among almost 2.000 universities from allover Europe. How does your university score? How do the Netherlandsperform as a whole? What countries and institutions lead inimplementing social media? Who falls behind?

A Silent Revolution

Over the past few years, a silent revolution has taken place inthe ways universities communicate with their students and theoutside world. 336.890 people are currently following live feedsfrom 390 university twitter channels. At the same time, Facebookgained popularity with 1.475.255 members gathering in 598 officialuniversity Facebook groups.

UK universities are by faroutperforming other countries in communicating via social media.More than 60% of all university twitter followers are connected toUK institutions. They also account for 42,4% of all Facebookmembers. The University of Oxford dominates both Twitter andFacebook and is growing at a great velocity of around 2.000 membersevery month.

Despite some effort by Dutchuniversities to catch up with this trend, none ofthem manage to place in our Top 10. Taking the country as a whole,the Netherlands only places 7th Europe-wide. Anoutstanding phenomenon here is that Dutch universities experiencedifficulties promoting their Facebook pages properly as theyaccount for only 1,2% of all Facebook university members. Twitterby comparison seems more popular with a ‘market-share’ of 8,9%.

Rank

Institution

Twitter

Facebook

1

OxfordUniversity

11.500

125.000

2

University ofCambridge

11.000

55.000

3

Open University MiltonKeynes

8.700

35.000

4

University ofLondon

18.000
(different faculties)

30.000

5

University of SouthernDenmark

70

37.000

6

Cardiff UniversityWales

6.600

20.000

7

University ofWarwick

6.200

8.500

8

University ofPadua

950

14.000

9

University ofTurin

1.400

13.000

10

University ofAberdeen

3.400

11.000

Note: numbers are in followers on Twitter and fans onFacebook, respectively

Why Social Media?

Looking at the numbers is only one side of the story. Manyuniversities create Facebook pages and twitter channels, but in theend they do not know what to do with them. Some are simplycopying news they publish on their regular homepage.

Others are using social media for ‘Customer Services’ updatingtheir students about library opening hours or exams and classesthat are cancelled due to the recent snow chaos. A thirdapproach is to increase the university’s reputation by targetingoutsiders that might be interested in hearing about the latestresearch breakthroughs made at the institution.

Right now, numbers show that more than 65% of the social mediachannels in Europe focus on offering customer services to students.Understanding Facebook, Twitter and the like as a means foractively sharing knowledge and initiating discussions is veryrare.

Great Britain Dominates

Having a closer look at how universities from differentcountries perform in communicating via Twitter and Facebook, it iseasy to see that Great Britain dominates the ranking.

Rank

Institution

Twitter

Facebook

1

Great Britain

201.885

625.020

2

France

24.130

130.050

3

Spain

15.980

97.525

4

Germany

31.500

68.930

5

Portugal

3.445

79.950

6

Italy

6.330

70.150

7

Netherlands

31.270

17.790

8

Poland

280

48.700

9

Denmark

60

40.700

10

Belgium

1.980

32.200

Note: numbers are in followers on Twitter and fans onFacebook, respectively

Flop 3

Last but not least, let’s have a look at those institutions thatare widely regarded as elite and prestigious in Europe. All of themare ranked highest in quality of research, but our data showed howsome of them still have to find their way into the 21stcentury.

  1. Katholieke Universiteit Leuven:
    Despite being member of renowned university clubs such as LERU andCoimbra, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven has only anold-fashioned website without any news services like RSS orrepresentations on Twitter or Facebook.
  2. ETH Zürich:
    This university is well-known for its research of internationaland global relevance. Communication-wise it only reaches Germanspeakers (115 twitter followers, 260 Facebook fans)
  3. Ludwig Maximilian Universität inMunich:
    Known for its excellence in research, this institution does notcommunicate via Twitter or Facebook. Only German speakers can use aRSS service.

Read the more extensive Dutch version of this analysis andranking here on ScienceGuide.


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