Ten university Twitter accounts worth learning from

This post isn’t about those colleges and universities that fail to follow others, use Twitter as an extension of RSS, or spam followers with one press release after another.

This post is about those doing it right.

A good Twitter account is interactive, adds value and spurs discussion. A good Twitter account is an authentic voice of an institution and provides a personal touch. It’s responsive, engaging, and part of the conversation. A good Twitter account is fun.

The list I’ve compiled below is not the end-all-be-all list of great Twitter accounts representing higher education. It’s a list of the ones I like and look to for direction when I need a good idea. Feel free to add you own examples in the comment section below.

Anyway, here’s my top ten accounts setting a good example for the rest of us (in no particular order):

Marquette University
7,225 tweets | 1,077 following | 8,093 followers | 462 listed

The Marquette University account is a conversation driver, responding quickly to anyone asking a question or simply passing along praise. One of the coolest features of the account is the list of its favorite tweets. The list is a collection of third-party endorsements that money couldn’t buy.

Carnegie Mellon
2,679 tweets | 424 following | 5,173 followers | 410 listed

Twitter accounts are always better when they’re personal. It’s all about the people anyway, right? The tone for the @CarnegieMellon account is set from its profile description. It’s authentic, original, and all about the people: “Researchers, students and alumni do the hard work. We just get to talk about it. I’m Amanda: web teamer, storyteller. Joined by Jay (*J) and Kara (*K).”

University of Rochester
1,034 tweets | 739 following | 1,691 followers | 113 listed

It’s worth mentioning again: Twitter is about people. And people don’t converse with logos, they converse with other people. Embracing this fact in the most public way possible is Lori Packer. Lori convinced her boss to ditch the University of Rochester logo in favor of a picture of her, not in the name of vanity, but with the goal of personalizing interaction with the university. I applaud her efforts. Read more about her move in An Experiment in Being Human: Logo Tweets Must Die!

Oklahoma Christian U
1,633 tweets | 1,580 following | 2,572 followers | 108 listed

Oklahoma Christian University is a small, Christian college that’s not afraid to share its mission with its followers or use appropriate social media tools to reach them. You may not agree with the message, but you have to admire the conviction the feed displays. It’s true to who they are. When you tweet a video of an astronaut leading chapel service from space, yes, it’s cool.

Purdue University
2,421 tweets | 3,399 following | 5,158 followers | 318 listed

The feed touts @LifeAtPurdue as a mix of activities, information, events and news from the Purdue campus. It delivers. Purdue reaches a happy medium balancing all of the above while still following nearly 3,400 others and responding accordingly.

University of Southern California
2,176 tweets | 2,896 following | 6,696 followers | 310 listed

A university Twitter account isn’t always about promoting the school, it’s about cheering it on. The @USCedu account is a great cheerleader. The feed is athletics-heavy so you may not want to follow if you’re a UCLA fan, but the interaction is high and the conversation constantly flowing.

Johns Hopkins University
4,741 tweets | 3,566 following | 9,005 followers | 589 listed

One of the difficulties marketing a university on Twitter is the limited real estate when it comes to copy. All accounts are limited to 140 characters per tweet, so how do you make the most of it? Johns Hopkins provides nearly a link per tweet, essentially creating a navigable front door to a top research university. Also, I dig the profile pic.

Boston College
5,433 tweets | 1,619 following | 9,616 followers | 476 listed

Boston Colleges does a solid job of creating a balance of links and conversation. And while I’m generally not a huge fan of emoticons, I appreciate a university that isn’t afraid to use them. The feed sets a personal tone and becomes a pretty enjoyable read. ;-)

Butler University
4,735 tweets | 1,153 following | 2,221 followers | 83 listed

I know this isn’t the official university Twitter account, but it is the official Twitter account of the university mascot. The Butler Blue II account is written from the perspective of a dog and it’s a prime example of what an effective Twitter account should be — fun.

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18 Responses to “Ten university Twitter accounts worth learning from”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out! And for a great list of other schools to learn from.

    October 28, 2010 at 9:11 am
  2. James J #

    The SUNY system has some great universities who tweet, but the University System account, GenerationSUNY has great tweets regarding news, events and accomplishments from all 64 campuses, while involving people to interact and bringing in feedback from their strategic plan events and other involvement activities. Being someone who cares about the whole being greater than its parts, I think they do a good job bringing everyone together,

    October 28, 2010 at 9:37 am
  3. emt524 #

    I am not a Butler student or grad, but I love seeing what Blue and his little Bro are up to from day to day!

    October 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm
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    August 31, 2011 at 9:57 pm
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  7. Great idea and nice post, but what about all the great universities in other countries outside the USA? The list might be viewed as a little exclusive as it stands.

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