UT increases visibility to its international target audience
From now on, the University of Tartu is better accessible to English-speaking audiences – on Friday, the university opened its official page in Facebook.com, the world’s most popular social network. In July, the university also set up its own Twitter news stream and released a new version of its English-language web.
“We intend to make information about the University of Tartu available to our English-speaking audiences in the medium that is the most convenient for them, one which they are accustomed to using on a daily basis,“ explained Ms Inga Külmoja, the university’s senior specialist for international communication. “Naturally, we welcome everyone interested in the university to our refurbished website, yet we have also decided to meet our audience half-way and to be present in environments that are a virtual home to many of them,“ she added.
Both Twitter and Facebook will be used by the university to disseminate news about the university and information about various university events. The rich store of information accessible through Twitter and Facebook, as well as the interactivity of both environments, will provide considerable added value and an excellent supplement to the university’s regular website. For instance, the university’s Facebook page will offer members the opportunity to start a discussion and to find answers to questions concerning the university or academic life in Tartu.
According to Mr Illari Lään, Head of the UT Office of Communication, it is crucial for an international university to be visible to English-speaking audiences. For international students, Facebook, in particular, is the world’s most popular communication and information portal. “By creating its own Facebook page, the university has joined a community that already counts more than 250 million users, and is growing every day. The contemporary network society is characterised by a multiplicity of various information portals. Understandably, it is impossible – and unnecessary – to join all of them. Yet, also in the virtual world, there are recognised leaders, who show the way to the so-called net communities. Facebook and Twitter are certainly among those the development and expansion of which we have recently followed with considerable attention,“ explained Mr Lään, outlining the steps taken by the university to improve access to information about UT for the English-speaking audience.
In addition to joining the above communication environments, the university has taken a series of steps to make its website more user-friendly. In February this year, the Estonian-language version of the website was refurbished, and in July a new version of the English-language website was released.
It was also in July that the cybermetrics laboratory of the Spanish Ministry of Education published its rankings of websites of the world’s universities, providing UT with feedback about its new communication effort. Among the 17,000 sites analysed, the University of Tartu web ranked 282nd, the highest of rankings held by the universities of Estonia and the Baltic region.
For the rankings of websites of Estonian universities, see: http://www.webometrics.info/rank_by_country.asp?country=ee
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