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Posted at 12:14 PM ET, 01/19/2011

Stanford has the most 'klout' on Twitter

By Jenna Johnson
Jenna Johnson

Many colleges and universities have created a Twitter feed to share campus news with students, parents, alums, faculty, sports fans, journalists and everyone else.

But is it worth the time? And what's the best measure of a Twitter feed's success? Is it number of followers, number of RT's, number of clicks on links, number of interactions or something else?

Obviously, the answers to many of those questions are still unknown -- but a few groups are trying.

One group is Klout, an online company that tracks the popularity of tweets and assigns scores ranging from 1 to 100. The company looks at a number of factors, especially clicks, comments and retweets.

This week Klout ranked scores for the most influential universities on Twitter -- Stanford University led the list with a score of 70, followed by Syracuse University, Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, all of which had a score of 64. (You can read more about the study in The Chronicle of Higher Education.)

Late last year, the Global Language Monitor released a ranking of colleges with the strongest brands online. Topping that list was the University of Wisconsin at Madison, followed by the University of Chicago, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University.

That ranking was determined by the TrendTopper MediaBuzz analysis, which looks at data collected from the Internet, social media, blogosphere and top media sources. (You can read more about the analysis and see the full list of schools on the Global Language Monitor's Web site.)

Those are just two of the rankings I have seen lately -- I am sure there are many more, and I would like to hear about them in the comments, along with your thoughts on the best way to measure social media success.

And if you have questions about how colleges are using -- or not using -- social media, please join my online chat, Campus Overload Live, at 1 p.m. Thursday.

I will be joined by Marc Parry of The Chronicle of Higher Education, who writes about technology and online education, Patrick Powers of Webster University in St. Louis, who is the interactive media manager, and Menachem Wecker of George Washington University, who writes and tweets for GWToday. Submit your college social media questions now!

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  | January 19, 2011; 12:14 PM ET
Categories:  Networking  | Tags:  Columbia, Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Syracuse University, University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin  
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Here’s a bit more about the The TrendTopper MediaBuzz College Rankings. They are produced twice a year by the Global Language Monitor. With them we attempt to measure the Internet “Brand Equity” of the top 300 colleges and universities.
Time Magazine described the TrendTopper MediaBuzz rankings as measuring internet brand equity as "a measure of who's talking about you online, based on Internet data, social media, blogs and the top 75,000 print and electronic media outlets.” By focusing on online presence, GLM hopes to avoid the biases that characterize other rankings, which commonly rely on the opinions of university officials and college counselors rather than that of the greater public.

We believe the rankings provide an up-to-date perspective on which schools have the most popular brand. For example, the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania (ranked fifth in 2010 by U.S. News) fared almost equivalently to Penn State (ranked 47th in 2010 by U.S. News), ranking 22nd and 24th respectively."

The resulting tool gauges the relative value of the various institutions and how they change over time providing one way of judging the value of the institutions in the eyes of the world, say a hiring manager on the West Coast, or London or Beijing.

The rankings are the only ones that contain specialty schools which are typically assigned to "unranked" or "other" categories, such as Art, Business, Design, Music, and even Online Education, since students have to make difficult decisions based on price, distance, and perceived quality.

A top student, for example, might have to weigh the relative benefits of attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, or Middlebury, or Bucknell. Just as a top student might have to decide among Juilliard or Pomona or Northwestern. And thousands of students every year have to make the difficult decision of attending the U. of Phoenix or Capella or Walden vs. a brick-and-mortar institution.

This year the University of Wisconsin at Madison leapt over Chicago, Harvard, MIT, Columbia and two-time defending No. 1 (and fellow Big Ten academic powerhouse) Michigan, as the Top University. Harvard, Michigan and now Wisconsin have all held the top spot. Harvard slipped to No. 3, while the U of Chicago moved into the No. 2 spot. Cornell and the Cal-Berkeley broke into the Top Ten, knocking out Stanford, Princeton and UCLA. Big movers included Georgetown, Cal-Davis and CalTech, each moving up ten or more spots.

We see the ‘flight to quality,’ centered on the price-sensitive ‘public ivies,’ tech-centered schools and the ‘little Ivies,’ now well distributed across the country.

Davidson topped the College category. The Top Ten included Occidental, Bucknell, Oberlin, Pomona and US Air Force Academy. The Top 20 included the Little Three, four of the former Seven Sisters, two Patriot League schools, two US Service Academies, the top Catholic College (Holy Cross)), two Claremont Colleges, and Juilliard and Pratt.

Posted by: PJJP | January 19, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Klout (and its Stanford alum founder) assigns scores based on a proprietary approach which includes clicks, comments and retweets as you mentioned—but also is based on manual actions, like linking social pages to the Klout site. Did the Post take a hard look at how Stanford’s score went from 63 on 1/17 (per the API) to 70 today?

Posted by: TonyaMcFee | January 20, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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