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20 Colleges That Are Killing It with Social Media

Posted on Sunday June 26, 2011 by Staff Writers

Just about everyone and everything has some sort of presence on social media. We live in a world where cereal box cartoons talk to us via Twitter, and of course, colleges have taken notice and joined the world of social media. But there are an exceptional few colleges who have truly done great things in social media, becoming influencers and brainstormers online. Students and fans alike can interact with college professors, athletics, and admissions on social media outlets, and these colleges are doing it in a really interesting way.

  1. Notre Dame: Notre Dame is well aware of the importance of social media, going so far as to spell out their social media policy on their site. The school greatly encourages the use of social media, and recognizes it as important to professional development. Notre Dame news, libraries, alumni, and other accounts can be found throughout the social web, including Facebook and Twitter. Even if you’re just a fan of Notre Dame athletics, the school has something to offer you, with Irish Alert text messaging, as well as Twitter and Facebook pages for almost every sport.
  2. Syracuse University: Syracuse is the second-most influential college on Twitter, and has even been touted as a case study for foursquare presence in higher education. Syracuse alumni were able to take advantage of homecoming weekend activities through Twitter and Facebook, engaging even those who weren’t able to be on campus. The school continues to innovate in social media, relying on talented students in the School of Information Studies and other programs.
  3. University of Texas: In the city that hosts SXSW, The University of Texas at Austin is at the forefront of social media. The school makes it easy to engage through their Know website, which offers a social media directory sorted by colleges, offices, libraries and museums. UT also supports social media with Facebook bootcamps and a Social Media Club.
  4. Baylor University: Baylor makes it easy for Baylor students and alumni to stay in the loop, using Facebook, Twitter, iTunesU and blogs for getting connected with the University. The school is the 5th most influential college on Twitter, and one of the top 30 social media colleges in the US. Baylor’s Facebook has more than 40,000 likes, and the school is praised for its effectiveness at engaging audiences.
  5. Butler University: Butler’s social media is a win, primarily based on the fact that they have a Twitter account for their mascot, a bulldog. But Butler didn’t stop there, creating a social media storm during 2011 March Madness. Players and fans alike took to social media to share their excitement, making it fun for the world to follow their journey.
  6. Johns Hopkins University: Johns Hopkins has a great presence on the social web. The University not only has university-wide accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and iTunesU, but also for admissions, schools, libraries, athletics, and more. Accounts are run by administrators, and even students who blog.
  7. Harvard: Harvard is the birthplace of Facebook, and that fact alone makes the school one of the best in social media. But they haven’t stopped there. Harvard has a social media group, social media business school professors and of course, a great presence on social media networks for the university, alumni, admissions, and more.
  8. Ithaca College: Ithaca College makes social media accessible, placing links to Facebook, Twitter, and Ithaca College blogs right on their homepage. The school even offers myIthaca, a feature that has a social networking community that new students can use to meet their classmates. Plus, Ithaca has an active presence on Facebook and Twitter, with thousands of likes, and a fun, interactive account on Twitter with @ithacacollege.
  9. Columbia University: Columbia University has such an amazing presence on the social web, they had to build a directory for all of their accounts. Columbia University Press, Columbia Magazine, and ColumbiaBizNews are just a few of the many social media accounts maintained by the University. Columbia has a Social Media Club, and even a search function for alumni to find social networks.
  10. Emerson College: When Emerson President Jacqueline Liebergott shared that she had an important announcement, two students started the hashtag #jackiessecret, discussing what the news could be. After she announced her retirement, the hashtag lived on to discuss her replacement. This is just one of the ways Emerson has used and impacted social media. On Emerson’s Facebook page, prospective students and those in the Emerson community can connect with Emersonians and alumni, as well as learn about news and events. Emerson also works hard to bring social media into the classroom, with hashtags for classes like Emerson Social Media class (#ESM). You can find Emerson’s latest updates through the school’s social media directory.
  11. Ohio State University: Ohio State got started with social media with its O-H-I-O website, encouraging students, fans, and alumni to share their pride online, but they haven’t stopped there. In January 2011, Ohio State’s Athletics Department broke the record for collegiate followings on Facebook, with over 700,000 “likes.” Ohio’s presence extends beyond Facebook, with Twitter, delicious, Flickr, and YouTube accounts as well. In addition to the University itself, students have their own social media organization created to discuss and develop social media for personal and professional use.
  12. Duke University: Duke has many different ways to connect with the university, on iTunesU, YouTube, Twitter, and more. You can use Duke’s various accounts to learn about events, athletics, news, and other important happenings in the community. Some of Duke’s coolest features in social media include Duke University Office Hours, which allows you to interact with Duke faculty through the web, and Duke University On Demand, which has Duke videos available to watch online.
  13. Arizona State University: Arizona State University offers several ways to connect with the school online, including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Foursquare. On Arizona’s website, you’ll find a Social Media page that allows you to see all of the university’s postings on any given platform. Students who are interested in social media as a profession can study at the Cronkite New Media Academy that offers courses in social media, web innovation, and more.
  14. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: The University of Illinois has several blogs for admissions, students, campus housing, performing arts, and more, as well as a Facebook page with thousands of fans. One of the university’s most impressive uses of social media is a Twitter feed that helps students get connected with resources within the library.
  15. Princeton University: Princeton University has a great blog presence, with star blogger Paul Krugman’s blog at the New York Times. Professor Melissa Harris Lacewell also keeps Princeton at the forefront of Twitter, updating her thousands of followers as she contributes on nightly news stations. In addition to Princeton’s social media stars, the University has a good presence on YouTube, as well as Facebook, Wikipedia, and StumbleUpon, with more traffic to the school’s website coming from social media sites than any mainstream news sites.
  16. Tufts University: Tufts has created a social media hub on its site, allowing anyone to find Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and other accounts, as well as Tufts blogs. Some favorite interactions include @TuftsDining, which tweets menus every day, and the Tufts Facebook group with moderated discussions and links.
  17. Carnegie Mellon: Carnegie Mellon University has used Classroom Salon, a social networking application, which allows students at the high school and university level to share their ideas on writings, using annotation and sharing tools to enhance the student experience. Additionally, Carnegie Mellon has a great presence on all of the major social media sites, offering campus event photos, alumni Facebook groups, and feeds for current students to stay on top of what’s going on at the university.
  18. Mayo Medical School: The Mayo Medical School has used Facebook to make orientation easier and more enriching for new students, and experienced 100% participation on the site. Through the connections made on the social media site, students were able to create their own activities, such as a camping trip, saving the college thousands of dollars and getting to know each other in an easy and fun way.
  19. Stanford: Stanford University has embraced social media for students, visitors, family, and friends of the university. Most recently, the University created mobile and social media content for their commencement weekend, allowing for a social mapping application to follow friends and check on commencement events. Stanford has also created an official presence on Foursquare, which can be used to check in, receive tips, and check in at spots around campus. The school also uses Facebook to host Stanford Open Office Hours, which allows users to post questions for the likes of Bill Gates and US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.
  20. University of Minnesota: The University of Minnesota’s Carlson MBA program made use of Twitter to improve its failing admission goals, using the site to directly connect with potential students online. Carlson was able to answer questions, discuss programs, and more, increasing their incoming applications. Beyond Minnesota’s victory with the Carlson MBA account, @umnews is in the top 10 most influential colleges on Twitter.