Russell Group universities use social media, but don’t we all now?

A post from Brian Kelly on the extent to which Russell Group universities are linking to social media sites, in attempts to ‘connect’ with their potential students, I guess

In a recent post in which I gave my predictions for 2012 I predicted that “Social networking services will continue to grow in importance across the higher education sector“. But how will we be able to assess the accuracy of that prediction? One approach is to see if there are significant changes in the number of links to social media services from institutional home pages. The following survey provides a summary of links to social media services which are hosted on the institutional entry point for the 20 Russell Group universities.

The 20 universities are listed with their links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. I’m surprised that Oxford doesn’t have anything listed, given the success of its Mobile Oxford project.

As Brian says, it will be interesting to see how this develops over the year, whether more join in or whether the way these institutions use these media channels change. We have links to the main three on our homepage, but there’s no indication of how we’re using these services. Feels to me that universities are expected to be on Facebook and the rest; that’s the norm, the lowest baseline. Saying we’re on Facebook, and making a big deal out of it, feels a little like us shouting out, “Hey kids! Check us out – our library has computers in it!” It’s not what we have but what we do with it that might make a difference, perhaps?

Maybe that’s why Oxford doesn’t have anything on its homepage. It doesn’t need to.

3 thoughts on “Russell Group universities use social media, but don’t we all now?

  1. Thanks for the link to my blog post.

    Note though that when you suggest that universities only jump on a Facebook bandwagon to say “Hey kids! Check us out – our library has computers in it!” I think the evidence suggests that this isn’t the case. If you look at the survey of Facebook use across Russell group Universities described in a post on “Is It Time To Ditch Facebook, When There’s Half a Million Fans Across Russell Group Universities? you’ll see that there was a 97% increase in the number of Likes in just 9 months. And Oxford University has the largest number, 293,010, with Cambridge in a distant second place with 105,645. Looking at today’s figures, the University of Oxford Facebook page has 367,664 Likes with 10,454 Facebook users talking about the page.

    Maybe that’s why Oxford doesn’t have links on its homepage – it doesn’t need to because everyone knows about, and uses, it Facebook presence already!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Brian, and for the link to another interesting post – I think I have a lot of catching up to do.

  3. Note I’ve published a number of evidence-based posts, under the Evidence category of my blog. The surveys aim to capture benchmarks figures of use of services, in order to detect trends and patterns across groups of institutions. This normally covers Russell Group universities. It would be interesting to see if there are differing patterns across institutions such as York St. John.

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