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Hot Topics: September 2020 in UK Higher Education

Well done, you've survived the second month of the academic year, even if some of you may feel like you're hanging on by a thread. It's still fair to say it is a bit like a never-ending rollercoaster right now. Let us apply the brakes for a moment and celebrate some of the interesting stories from the UK higher education scene in September. Each month we aim to make this blog post a C-word free zone, highlighting what else is happening in UK universities.

Top 50 Emojis, Hashtags, Locations, Organisations, and Phrases

The University of Oxford came out top thanks to the collective volume of mentions, ranging from vegan diets to satellite data and AI predicting potential dam collapses. Reaction to the University of Edinburgh's decision to rename Hume Tower grabbed a top ten spot in the word cloud. For the second month running, Netflix features thanks to conversations about virtual events for students to times when campuses or university buildings featured in films/shows.

Top 5 Twitter conversation themes

Another diverse month for stories, sources, and institutions mentioned. We particularly love the Keele story from 2017 resurfacing. There's always that one story that finds its way back into conversations each year, and looks like this could be Keele's.

Institution Mentioned:

University of Oxford

All tweets: 42

Impressions: 54,305,461

Institution Mentioned:

University of Cambridge

All tweets: 27

Impressions: 16,948,091

Institution Mentioned:

Keele University

All tweets: 13

Impressions: 15,085,956

Institution Mentioned:

Imperial College London

All tweets: 86

Impressions: 13,949,450

We've cheated our own rules for this last week as those cheeky journalists couldn't resist writing lockdown stories without the C-word mentioned. So instead, we've found a story that generated a large volume of aliens exist on other planets?

Institution Mentioned:

MIT, Cardiff and others

Retweets: 411

A real mixed bag of hashtags this month, with Oxford and the Open University the only institutions getting a direct mention. Our favourite is #HappinessHacks, which comes thanks to a feature in the Hindustan Times. They referenced research from the University of Cambridge about our taste in music. They created a quiz for their readers to participate in. The hashtag made it into the top ten off the back of three tweets, again proving that quality content

We definitely recommend hashtag monitoring as part of your social media content strategy. It's a great way to jump in on the conversation, particularly if you've refined this down to what your audience are enjoying. Just remember not to go overboard with creating too many brand hashtags for your own content, keep it simple.

Here are your top ten movers and shakers in September, and while the top hasn't changed much since August there's an interesting newcomer - UberFacts. Who, why, what? Well we feel their spot should be shared with Keele as it's thanks to a post about their swearing research we mentioned earlier that fifth place is theirs.

If you didn't catch last month's hot topics blog, you can read our August post here. See you next month to find out what was hot in October, other than the candles inside your pumpkin carvings. 🎃


About the Hot Topics blog series

Using Brandwatch for Education, each month we review the online conversations mentioning any college or university in the UK. These conversations took place on Twitter, sharing information from social, blogs, forums, news sites, and websites.

With rolling Covid-19 coverage an every day part of our lives right now, we switched it off for this blog. Using a simple Boolean filter NOT (covid* OR corona*) to see what's actually being talked beyond the virus. This approach has given us a more balanced view of the activities taking place and the range of topics discussed. Universities should not be defined by how big the conversation is about that damn virus.

Want to know more?

If you want to find out more about Brandwatch for Education and analysing the data for your university, get in touch.


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