Washington State is the home of two great public institutions of higher education: University of Washington and Washington State University. Naturally, a friendly (?) rivalry exists between these two great schools. Fans of the universities can argue for hours about which one is better than the other, using football, NIH funded research, number of grads among Fortune 500 execs, ranks of their MBA programs, and other similar metrics. Trying to be free from any bias towards my alma mater, I am going to compare the two schools using the social media tools. First, let’s look at Social Mention. Although both schools can be mentioned under multiple names, I used “University of Washington” and “Washington State University” as the key words for simplicity, and here is the result:
UW vs WSU 1
UW definitely has higher social media reach and more mentionings than WSU, but WSU wins when it comes to the sentiment. Could it be possible that the negative sentiment is coming from the rivals, such as fans of the opposite football team, and high negative sentiment actually reflects negatively on the other school? To figure this out, more research, such as detailed review of the negative mentions, needs to be done.
Let’s now shift gears a bit and take a look at what Moz has to say, using the Followerwonk tool, and here is the result:
UW vs WSU 2
Both schools have similar social authority, but UW clearly has an edge when it comes to the number of followers. However, it has fewer retweets, with only 21.5% of all tweets being retweeted by the followers vs 26.5% for WSU, which tells me that the followers are somewhat less engaged. Certainly enough, the following bar graph shows that the user engagement for UW (yellow) is lower than that for WSU (green). UW has fewer tweets per week and overall number of tweets, but certainly outranks WSU 4:1 in the average daily number of followers, which led me to explore Topsy. And here are the interesting findings, shown in the two graphs that follow. WSU’s Twitter activity has been somewhat sporadic in the past month compared to the steady number of tweets for UW:
UW vs WSU 3
UW vs WSU 4
This is somewhat surprising, given the Followerwonk’s numbers for the two schools’ tweets. To decipher where the differences come from (e.g., a significant drop in activity by WSU in the past month due to some event), one needs to dig deeper into that issue.
Bottom line: the web and social media presence analytical tools give an interesting, fresh look at the two universities from a new perspective, and a short exercise in applying these tools generates a lot of questions that call for more detailed research.
Almost forgot, but here it is:
Happy Monday! 


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