Tweeting in higher education: How today's top US Universities Use 140 Characters

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



It is 2017 and almost every college and university is active on social media-increasingly so using Twitter. While some schools employ Twitter as an institutional news feed to the general population, other schools implement complex strategies to recruit prospective students, retain current students, and build their alumni communities. As the competition for students and alumni donations among higher education institutions increases, the use of social media must be looked at as a potential relationship building tool. To examine how colleges and universities use Twitter to communicate with their constituents, the authors performed a content analysis on tweets (n=23,398) from 66 of the top U.S. institutions of higher education. The authors analyzed frequency, media type, tweet content and format to create a deeper understanding of how schools use Twitter and to uncover best practices. Results show that there are differences between liberal arts colleges and public universities in engagement on tweets, and the use of hashtags and mentions is a tactic used to increase engagement.

Publication Name

Proceedings of the 4th European Conference on Social Media, ECSM 2017

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.