Higher Ed Social Media Influencers of 2017

We all know that elected and appointed officials like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, HELP Committee Chair Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Ranking Member Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) are influential in education policy. But who else is driving the conversation? With issues of higher education in the news every day, it’s tough to keep track of everything that’s happening. We often find ourselves turning to Twitter for instant news and some much-needed pulse checking. That’s why we’ve taken a page out of Mike Petrilli’s K-12 playbook and created a list of folks that are making waves in the higher education dialogue on social media.

Our lists are made up of a diverse group of individuals ranging from institutional leaders to members of the press to policy wonks and more. The common thread amongst them is that a significant portion of their engagement on Twitter is about higher education.

What was our methodology? Glad you asked! First, we brainstormed a list of people whose voices we think of as powerful and impactful on all things higher ed. Next, we organized them into two very long lists based on their number of Twitter followers and their Klout score. Klout looks across social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and more) to evaluate how influential a user is on a particular issue area. Then we winnowed it down to those with the top digits.

While we may not have employed the scientific method to generate our lists, there’s no doubt in our minds that the folks on these lists are important voices driving the debate. So, without further delay, please enjoy our first annual ranking of Higher Ed Social Media Influencers!

First by # of Twitter followers:

And, now let’s check out who is influential according to Klout scores:

There are repeat customers appearing on both lists and also some folks that only appear on the list defined by Klout score. So, how can someone with a smaller amount of Twitter followers have a high Klout score? Upon its inception, success on social media was measured almost exclusively by number of followers and fans. Now quality of content and level of engagement are considered as well.

What higher ed voices do you value on social media? Who did we miss? Questions? Ideas?

We want to hear from you! Email our education communications advisor, Nicole Siegel, to share your thoughts and additions, and we’ll update the list at the end of October with the crowdsourced ideas: nsiegel@thirdway.org.