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Digital Influence: What's the Most-Discussed University on the Web?

The Global Language Monitor List analyzed billions of web pages, tweets and blog posts to find out which university has the greatest influence.


Call it The Social Network effect. After a four-year absence from the top spot, Harvard is once again the most-discussed university on the web, unseating the University of Wisconsin. That's the verdict of the latest TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings from the Global Language Monitor List, which measures the cultural influence of universities by analyzing billions of web pages, tweets, and blog posts.

Paul JJ Payack, president of Global Language Monitor, claims that his list is a more reliable indicator of a university's influence than the ubiquitous U.S. News & World Report rankings because they reflect what everyday people are saying. Universities follow rankings like the GLM closely, relying on them to make "reputation management decisions." After all, when it's time to choose a college, students are likely to apply to the schools they've heard of.


While elite private universities do make up the majority of the top 10, a look at the entire list shows a shift toward public institutions, at least on the web. Indeed, almost half of the 25 most-discussed universities are public. In addition to Berkeley, three other University of California schools, UCLA (18), Davis (19) and San Diego (25) are also ranked. And Big 10 schools like the University of Michigan (11), Wisconsin (15), and Indiana University (23) are also popular online.

Here are the 10 most-discussed universities:

1) Harvard University

2) Northwestern University

3) University of California, Berkeley

4) Columbia University

5) California Institute of Technology

6) Massachusetts Institute of Technology

7) Stanford University

8) University of Chicago

9) University of Texas, Austin

10) Cornell University

If you want to see your alma mater in the top spot—or if you just want to dethrone Harvard—the GLM ranks schools twice per year, so get blogging or tweeting.