With an admitted bias toward university civic engagement, Wednesday night I mined the twittersphere for indication of who ‘our’ biggest social media representatives are. And by our I mean those individuals who are compelled by the idea that universities must serve as institutions dedicated to democracy and social improvements. What I found was – a surprising lack of leadership. Please write in and let me know who I’m missing. Here’s the rundown:
First, a couple Twitter observations: some people or institutions get followers because of reputation alone, but most get followers due to a combination of reputation and frequency of interesting activity. Looking at a few academics broadly speaking, Jeffrey Sachs has a global reputation as an economist and much more, so he astonishingly has 67,227 followers with only 1,236 tweets. Laura Seay, on the other hand, a far less famous Morehouse University Political Scientist, has tweeted 32,827 times and is both informative and entertaining, bringing her an impressive 8,326 Followers. A historian who recently wrote 10 Commandments of Twitter for Academics for The Chronicle of Higher Education has earned 2,505 followers with 21,030 tweets.
In the civic engagement community, there are a few organizations that stand out for a high number of tweets and followers, but most of the community is relatively silent. As of May 16, the following organizations or individuals tweeted and had followers as indicated:
DoSomething.org 8,549 Tweets 530,282 Followers
National SL Clearinghouse 1,680 Tweets 2,702 Followers
The Resource Center 1,534 Tweets 6,155 Followers
Volunteer Global 6,021 Tweets 4,479 Followers
Youth Service America 2,448 Tweets 5,725 Followers
The Campus Compact crowd is online, but (like me) not that regularly. Relatively low numbers of tweets translate to relatively low numbers of followers. The following three Campus Compacts stood out for having more than 500 followers:
National Campus Compact 134 Tweets 809 Followers
IA Campus Compact 789 Tweets 641 Followers
OR Campus Compact 1,071 Tweets 506 Followers
A few more civic engagement individuals with relatively high or growing tweets / followers:
Dara Goldberg, Nonprofiteer Passionate about SL 3,986 Tweets, 650 Followers
Emily Gilliland, OR Campus Compact ED, 590 Tweets 385 Followers
Budd Hall, Community Engaged Research 8,202 Tweets 615 Followers
JR Jamison, Associate Director, IN CC 711 Tweets 251 Followers
Building a Better World Forum 629 Tweets 220 Followers
Community Campus Partnerships for Health 2,083 Tweets 782 Followers
Community Works Institute 106 Tweets 155 Followers
Learn and Serve, UMASS-Lowell 99 Tweets 179 Followers
I’m sure I missed a few people and organizations. This resulted from a few hours of searching with key terms and following the relationships on Twitter. PLEASE share major civic engagement social media individuals or organizations I’ve missed. I also watch the global development community positively sing (explode or yell sometimes) via social media and the blogosphere, and I’d love to see that level of awareness-raising and engaging discussion among the university-community civic engagement crowd as well.
Building a Better World will be sharing some guest posts in the coming weeks, and as a result I’ll have a more continuous presence online, so I’ll try to do my part! Thanks for reading and visiting. Please follow us on Twitter or by using the email box to the right. And of course, please feel free to share your Twitter Handle below. Or say hi @buildingbetterw!
Update, 5/17 @ 9:33 AM: JR Jamison has suggested a few more civic engagement folks to follow on twitter:
Update 2, 5/24 @11:11 AM: NYLC graciously reminded me that they were missing:
Eric Hartman is a co-founder of this site, an independent consultant, and a university educator. During the coming year he will be leading a doctoral seminar on Fair Trade Learning for Prescott College.