Davide Savenije, assistant editor of the website Education Dive, recently posted his picks for The 10 best university Twitter accounts — and what they do right. The list has generated a lot of chatter on Twitter, especially among the fans of those schools who made the list. But there hasn’t been much looking into the methodology behind that ranking.
The Dive’s list consists of big schools, many from “big” confrerences (Big 10, Big East, SEC) that have big followings — 208,000 for No. 1 selection @Harvard and 110,000 for No. 2 @Stanford — and impressive Klout scores. That is, if you find Klout scores impressive.
But Savenije knows bigger isn’t always better. He points out that “followers alone do not equal social media success,” which is why he included Klout scores and something he calls “our subjective appraisal” of the accounts. But take a look at the list, and it’s the numbers and Klout scores that jump out at you. Which might lead a reader to be skeptical of this compilation. Especially when “our subjective appraisal” is so ill-defined. It isn’t even ill-defined. It isn’t defined at all.
Maybe the descriptions of each account will give us some insight. Let’s pick on No. 6, The Ohio State University (@OhioState). Savenije writes:
The Ohio State University’s Twitter account keeps students, faculty and alumni apprised of the school’s goings-on. From student tips, daily photos and event promotions to alumni stories, faculty research and sports team notifications,@OhioState serves followers with the information they need and want.
Really. The school’s twitter account keeps not only students informed, but also faculty and alumni? (But apparently not staff.) That’s what sets this account apart?
Is that all it takes to attain Twitter greatness in the higher ed realm? That and a minimum following of 16,000 plus a Klout score of 83 or better?
I don’t buy it. I doubt you do, either.
So let’s come up with some metrics that make sense for higher ed Twitter accounts.
Please tell me in the comments below (or on Twitter): What makes a great university Twitter account? Feel free to share examples of schools that you think are doing it right (regardless of size of audience or Klout score) and suggest some ways to measure success. Your thoughts just might make their way into a future blog post on this subject.
P.S. – I’m not taking anything away from the 10 schools on this list. They’re all great and have robust social media efforts. I’m just questioning the validity of the metrics. (Something I picked up from administrators dissing the U.S. News & World Report rankings.)
P.S. to Education Dive: In your blog post, is the “S” in “University of Oklahoma” supposed to be larger than the other letters in that name?