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Social media at UW-Madison has “Klout”

September 30, 2011 By John Lucas

UW-Madison has been named the second “most-influential” university and a “rising star,” in higher education social media, according to new rankings published Friday by

The university holds a 71 rating on a 1 to 100 scale, just behind top-ranked Texas A&M University, which scored a 73. By comparison, Justin Bieber rates a 98 and President Obama is an 87. Harvard, Oklahoma and Stanford rounded out the top five.

The university’s score has continued to grow since the beginning of 2011 when it rated a 64. Wisconsin was the only state with two schools in the Top 10, with Marquette at a 65.

Klout uses an algorithm to measure the true size of a social media user’s audience, the reach of its content and how other people interact with it. For UW–Madison, Klout evaluated the university’s flagship Twitter account, @UWMadison, along with its Facebook and Fourquare presences.

UW-Madison has launched a series of special initiatives involving its social media community, dubbed #UWSocial, since the start of the year.

The fall semester began with the #FindUW scavenger hunt and a  Bucky Badge-r badge on Foursquare. It has continued with The Bucky Challenge, a unique campaign in which a donor is giving $1 to need-based scholarships for new followers of UW–Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Association on Facebook and Twitter.

As of Friday, the campaign had raised nearly $17,000 and received national publicity in the New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education.

Next week, #UWSocial is hosting Katie Harbath, associate manager for policy at Facebook.

A School of Journalism and Badger Herald alum, Harbath will talk about the role of social media in the upcoming campaign, along with recent changes on the platform. The event will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5 in the Ebling Symposium Center in the Microbial Sciences Building.

Social media use at UW–Madison has grown exponentially in the past two years, with more than 750,000 followers to roughly 500 campus accounts on all platforms.

Although the other accounts didn’t figure into this set of rankings, schools, colleges and campus units are increasingly using platforms like Facebook and Twitter to tell the university’s story, assist students and engage with alumni.