Leadership competencies on college campuses are changing. Positions like University Presidents are being challenged to explore communication avenues in order to connect countless communities including current students, alumni, faculty, administrators, local community members, and more.
Presidents no longer can only be charismatic in-person on campus, they also need to have digital communication skills and an authentic online presence as a chief campus leader. This comes to a challenge to many, looking at generational gaps, lack of technology training and existing fears around professional boundaries.
But there are more and more presidents joining the conversation online through social media, especially on Twitter.
Formal research and agreed-upon best practices have yet to be published, so showcasing current accounts have been helpful. Sometimes use of social media is ‘sticky’ with actions by leaders by questioned/challenged or celebrated. For example, the Kansas State University President recently was interviewed about why he uses Twitter, specifically to manage a Basketball Coach controversy. Read more about this case (here).
On a persona note, I’m thrilled to announce that I have been approved by my institutional research review board (known as IRB) to study Higher Education Presidents (including community college and four-year institutions) use of social media in their leadership roles. If you are a president reading this and are interested in being included, please click (here) and provide your contact information. This will be a one year study, so stay tuned!!
In preparing for this study, I have found there have been a number of articles exploring this idea, with some very impressive College President Twitter accounts you should follow. I include those articles at the very end of this post.
While I will be highlighting a few of those Presidents, who I am calling “Social Media Rockstars,” I also want to shine a light on two other groups: new(er) presidents to Twitter that will be worth watching and other high users called Digital Influencers.
For a curated list of all Presidents I have located on Twitter, please subscribe to this Twitter list.
While this post is long, I promise it is mostly twitter photos/posts! I have chosen around six accounts under each category, each featured on separate pages of this post (see the bottom of the page, noted as page 1, 2 & 3). When narrowing down these lists I looked at follower counts, amount of engagement, and types of posts.
- Social Media Rockstars are presidents not only with an impressively high amount of Twitter followers, but are very actively and creatively engaged.
- Established Campus Digital Influencers may have less followers than Rockstars are still engaged and producing quality content.
- Rising Accounts have recently joined or have recently became more active on this platform.
Please consider subscribing to these engaged Digital Leaders!
Social Media Rockstars
1. Santa J. Ono
University of Cincinnati President. 32.9k Followers, 28.7k tweets, of those 3.4k are photos and videos. Line up for your autographs now.
Howdy UC. Love from Hamburg Germany. pic.twitter.com/fYD8gMEsQ6
— Santa J. Ono (@PrezOno) July 9, 2014
George Mason University President. 11.5k Followers, 16,2k tweets and even has a Vine account!
You know a game has entered the humiliating zone when the TV producer has to scroll down the scoreboard to show who scored each goal
— Ángel Cabrera (@CabreraAngel) July 8, 2014
Dillard University President. 9.3k Followers, 11k Tweets and has an awesome username = @HipHopPrez
— Walter M. Kimbrough (@HipHopPrez) July 5, 2014
Spelman College President. 8.2k Followers, engaged on Twitter throughout the day.
— Beverly Daniel Tatum (@BDTSpelman) July 6, 2014
5. E. Gordon G.
President of West Virginia University. 56.1K Followers, includes photos in nearly every post, is a proud grandfather.
I hope everyone has a fantastic Fourth of July. You can bet I am wearing my red, white, and blue! pic.twitter.com/2Rc8DpD4jh
— E. Gordon Gee (@gordongee) July 4, 2014
For the next category of Presidents, “Established Digital Influencers” click page ‘2’ below!