University Twitter Accounts Compared Using Klout – A measure of engagement?

Here’s a comparison of Swedish university twitter accounts using Klout (I’ve done something similar before).  I’m interested in how much klout tells you – does it reflect the nature of the twitter account. Does it tell us whether the twitter account is being used to engage, or simply broadcast? And before you get all sniffy, engagement is a fancy word for talking.

Swedish university twitter accounts ranked by Klout score.

Swedish universities and their Klout score

Does Engagement Have An Impact On Your Klout Score?
Klout only seems to tell you so much. It’s definitely telling you whether you left the starting blocks or not, but after that – well – it seems to get pretty blunt rather quickly. Here’s the amount of tweets, RTs, and @ replies from the top 6 Swedish universities, as ranked by their Klout scores, from January 2011. #RT is the number of times they retweeted something, #@ is the number of times they replied or mentioned another user (but not in a RT). Lists is the number of times they are listed.

Swedish universities with a high Klout score and their engagement

The number of @s and RTs gives an idea of how much the account is talking. It would seem that Klout is not so sensitive to engagement.  For example, @karolinskainst and @lundsuni have barely acknowledged that they have followers, through their lack of RT’s and @s, but still they have a reasonably high klout score. Both @malmouniversity and @liuuniversitet are engaging with their followers, but it does not look like it particularly impacts their klout score.

Klout’s important for a gross comparison –  but it looks like it’s less sharp for getting a handle on engagement. Or? Shoot me down in flames – I’ve love to have a single number which quantifies engagement!

Some observations on best practice.

I looked at a bunch of twitter accounts for this article, here’s some observations:

You so need a bio, and if you’re not using all the characters you’re missing out on opportunities to be found. It’s the only place on your twitter page (other than the tweets themselves) that you can put a clickable link in. Without a good bio it’s hard to decide whether you’re worth following or not – this goes for your personal account as well.

How often do you tweet? Particularly if it’s an English language account, there’s whole bunch of people who never see your tweets because they’re on the dark side when you’re tweeting. If it’s important information, consider sending it out several times to maximise your changes of being read– don’t be shy.

Are you sending traffic to your other online assets? Your Facebook page would probably appreciate a shout-out once in a while, and if you’ve just updated your admissions guide on your website why not tweet about it?

Do people care enough about you to put you on a list? Getting included on someone’s list means you’re in the VIP lounge for their attention. Make your own list of all the tweeting staff, students and offices from your university – that way you’ve got a handy source for RTs and an overview of your tribe’s activity.

A final word, if you’ve created an account but are rarely using it then you still need to pay attention to any questions or comments you get. Otherwise you could be quietly bleeding out good will, without ever realizing it.

Research Pages of Lund University – ‘absence of a comprehensive web presence’

Over the last year an external evaluation, by over 100 international evaluators, has been assessing the quality of research at Lund. The evaluation is called RQ08. The final report is out now, with several key areas highlighted as being of the highest international standard – good job.

 But the evaluators also said that our web pages suck.

I blogged about this subject (with pretty much the same conclusion) a month ago, where I discussed my own review of our research pages. The main conclusion of the RQ08 report says:

 “…the absence of a comprehensive English web presence robbed many of the panels of a facility that they would normally expect to exploit in an assessment such as they have just undertaken…”

 So, the research evaluation itself may have been made more difficult, or even affected, by the lack of good web pages.

Here are some of their comments, the page references are to the entire report.

“On the basis of information provided on the School’s web pages, it seems like if (sic) the research activities at Campus Helsingborg would not be very extensive.”

Page 163

“I had particular difficulties navigating the departmental web-site. This is somewhat unevenly organised.”

Page 178

 “The Panel has tried to obtain some information through the DCE web-site. It has helped significantly, yet it did not provide the full picture of the research organizational structure…it did not give information concerning full dimension of such (ongoing) projects and further introduced a few elements of difficulty since some projects are repeated in different areas.”

Page 402

“We believe that much of this information can be made available with no or little pain to the faculty people, by properly populating a Web information system that we think the university anyway lacks.”

Page 453

The evaluators had a strong motivation to try and find information, I seriously doubt that many of our visitors would make the same effort.

So what now? Well, as I suggested in my review of the research pages we really need to understand what tasks users of the research pages are trying to do. We also need to figure out the best metrics to measure the performance of any changes we make. Watch this space.

 Please comment on this – what problems have you encountered on our research pages? What could be better?