How do universities use social media? An empirical survey of Italian academic institutions

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International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2014
Fiorenza Oppici, Simone Basso, Juan Carlos De Martin
21-23 May 2014

This work describes how Italian universities use social media, with a focus on Facebook and Twitter. Empirical data about the online features and behaviour of the social media accounts of Italian universities was gathered using several qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques, including automatic data collection, ad-hoc API queries and information obtained from the university personnel managing the accounts. The results of the ‘SocialUniversity’ project show that most Italian universities have active social network accounts; that Facebook is the platform of choice to answer the students’ questions, while Twitter serves mostly as an online news channel; that Italian universities on average use social media platforms generally better than the Italian public administration; that in the specific subset of technical universities, a few Italian institutions have an online footprint comparable to some of the top European technical universities (e.g., the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich).

The paper is available in PDF version.