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Birds of a feather: the geographic interconnection of Australian universities on Twitter

Palmer, Stuart 2016, Birds of a feather: the geographic interconnection of Australian universities on Twitter, Journal of applied research in higher education, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 88-100, doi: 10.1108/JARHE-01-2015-0002.

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Title Birds of a feather: the geographic interconnection of Australian universities on Twitter
Author(s) Palmer, StuartORCID iD for Palmer, Stuart orcid.org/0000-0002-2517-0597
Journal name Journal of applied research in higher education
Volume number 8
Issue number 1
Start page 88
End page 100
Total pages 13
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Place of publication Bingley, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 2050-7003
1758-1184
Keyword(s) higher education
Australia
Twitter
social media
network visualization
Summary Purpose
Regardless of their virtual nature, research suggests that social media networks are still influenced by geography. This research investigates the connections between Australian universities on the Twitter social media system.

Design/methodology/approach
This research employs network analysis and visualisation to characterise the connections between Australian universities on Twitter.

Findings
A strong relationship to geography, both at the intra-state level and the inter-state level, was observed in the connections between Australian universities on Twitter. A relationship between number of followers and time since joining Twitter was also observed.

Research limitations/implications
The research presented is limited to Australian universities only and represents a snapshot in time only.

Practical implications
Australian universities have the opportunity to reach beyond the geographically restricted connections observed here, to actively seek new audiences, and to realise the cited benefits of online social media relating to increased connection across physical and digital frontiers. By capitalising on the strong ‘locality’ observed in social media connections, a university could become a desirable source of information that is likely to be of interest to, and valued by, local constituents.

Originality/value
This paper contributes to the research literature on university use of social media by addressing the so far largely silent area of inter-institutional connections via social media, and the influence of physical geography on the connections between universities on Twitter. It also offers a practical methodology for those interested in further research in this area.
Language eng
DOI 10.1108/JARHE-01-2015-0002
Field of Research 130103 Higher Education
080709 Social and Community Informatics
150502 Marketing Communications
1302 Curriculum And Pedagogy
1303 Specialist Studies In Education
Socio Economic Objective 930502 Management of Education and Training Systems
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Emerald Group Publishing
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30080283

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.