A great story in the pull out on the World University Rankings in Times Higher Education, encouraging universities to move properly into the digital age.

The increased importance of brands has been paralleled by rapid growth in the channels of information that shape reputation and transmit brands. Social media outlets have proliferated, diversifying the ways information is spread. There are live chats, blogs, interactive bookmarking and video sharing. All can and do shape reputations.

Universities have been slow to react to the shift in the media environment. They have one foot in the print and post era, and one in the online age. Yet they often engage social media on the same terms as they engage mass media: fixed and formal messages, static images and long production cycles.

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To achieve this brand leverage, universities have to engage with social media platforms and listen to many active voices. And they have to be quick about it because messages on these platforms move fast and reach many.

For example, a single student’s “status update” on Facebook at midnight about University X will reach on average 130 friends. If 15 of those friends comment, their messages will go to more than 1,000 individuals. Some will post a related message on Twitter. A complete stranger who searches for University X on Twitter will see this post; they could write a blog and reach another group of readers. Before University X’s communications office has opened, a message about the institution has been created and spread.

Read full post. Many lecturers are still treating social media as something optional … but we live in a digital world and we need to engage with it!

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