The study examined the performance of the 25 leading UK and US universities in the 2011–12 Times Higher Education World University Rankings across multiple channels such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Each channel was then analyzed for multiple factors, including popularity and receptiveness and assigned an index number, according to the study.
Harvard University was at the top of the final list with an index score of 401, helped by its use of Facebook — the official page has over 1.6 million likes. Rounding out the top five included the University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan and Stanford University.
UC Berkeley followed 25 index points behind Stanford, with an index score of 173. The campus Facebook page has just over 100,000 likes and uses multiple Twitter accounts to reach out to its audience.
Campus spokesperson Claire Holmes announced Wednesday in a campuswide email that the campus will utilize its “Sproul Plaza” Facebook application to help students with questions about financial aid. The campus has previously used the application to answer student questions about the way the campus budget works.
Students will be able to watch a video with financial aid information from Anne De Luca, associate vice chancellor for admissions and enrollment and acting director of undergraduate admissions. Students will have the ability to post comments and questions about the video. They can vote for other questions, and the top-rated questions will be answered in a subsequent video, according to the email.
The study also analyzed the “Transatlantic University Divide” — the tendency of U.S. universities to be significantly more social media-savvy than their UK counterparts.
“(The campus) interacts with its fans and followers by asking its social media communities engaging questions,” a March 30 post from the social media reporting website Mashable states. “People between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most connected group in history, and visiting social networking sites takes up a lot of their time. So universities are ramping up efforts to connect more with this demographic on social media platforms.”
Geena Cova covers academics and administration.