In case you’ve run out of ways to tell your parents, friends, and other muggles how great Wes is on this loooong winter break (for most of which you’ve been stranded inside), the Global Language Monitor just released its new 2011 MediaBuzz College ranking that puts Wes 4th among colleges for internet brand equity. What does that mean, you ask? The Global Language Monitor tracks internet activity to determine shifts in language and culture around the world (Google does this too now. Go figure). They have honed their internet scouring servers to create lists of colleges and universities based solely on internet buzz. Is this the U.S. News killer we’ve all been waiting for? Probably not. But it’s an interesting take on the relative attractiveness of schools to the world at large. From the GLM:
“The ‘flight to quality’ continues unabated. The savvy consumer of the education marketplace appears centered on the price-sensitive ‘public ivies’ and technology-centered schools, as well as on-line alternatives. The solidly performing ‘little Ivies’ are now now fairly well distributed across the country– and are holding their own,” said Paul JJ Payack, President of the Global Language Monitor.” One aftermath of the recent recession is that consumers understand that it is smart not to accept ‘retail pricing’ and that colleges are no different in this regard from any other institution.”
The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings are a way of seeing the schools through the eyes of the world at large. It is a democratic, self-generating ratings system, since it captures the brand equity associated with each of these fine institutions. GLM’s TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings actually removes all bias inherent in each of the other published rankings, since they actually reflect what is being said and stated on the billions of web pages that we measure.
See the rankings and other interesting tidbits collected by the GLM after the jump.
This year’s top 10 buzzed-about liberal arts colleges (as distinguished from Universities according to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s classifications) are:
1. Davidson College
2. Occidental College
3. Williams College
4. Wesleyan University
5. Carleton College
6. Amherst College
7. Bucknell University
8. Oberlin College
9. United States Air Force Academy
10. Pomona College
The GLM noted that Obama went to Occidental College for a year, possibly accounting for its number 2 spot. There was no theory given for Davidson’s rise to the top spot.
Davidson, as well as L.A.’s Occidental College (where President Obama spent his first year in college) both leapt over the Little Three (Amherst, Williams and Wesleyan University) as well as all three previous No. 1’s: Carleton College, Wellesley College, and Colorado College.
Further down in the rankings, Wellesley (where some of your family probably still thinks you go) came in at 11, Vassar (our unofficial sister school) at 13, and Bowdoin at 17. So even though we still failed to beat Williams, we’re on top of the rest of the NESCAC.
As for the bigger universities, the big three (Harvard, Yale, Princeton) came in at 3, 9, and 12 respectively. University of Wisconsin-Madison came in at the top (go Badgers!) followed by the University of Chicago.
While this is certainly an interesting way to rank schools and says something about academic brand popularity across the country and the world, the GLM offers little specific information about its data collection processes. The one somewhat revealing nugget of information is this:
TrendTopper MediaBuzz utilizes a mathematical model that ‘normalizes’ the data collected from the Internet, social media, and blogosphere as well as the top 75,000 print and electronic media. The end result is a non-biased analytical tool that provides a gauge of relative values among various institutions, as well as measures of how that value changes over time.
‘Normalizes’, in quotes? Hmmm….