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Since I work in a University of Applied Sciences and I’ve been interested in social media, I’ve wanted to get an overview of the social media usage on the Finnish university homepages. Inspired by the crowdsourced book by the activists around SomeTime2013 event about the state of social media in Finland, I finally decided to have it a go.

To get the data relatively quickly, I just checked the main pages, even though I knew that sometimes there would’ve been more examples deeper in the structure, eg on Library or Career Services pages.

Universities of Applied Sciences (UAS)

All but one UAS had some social media application on it’s homepage, the UAS that had most, had five.

The most popular social media applications used was Facebook: 25/26 UAS had it on their main page. Almost as popular was YouTube (19/26) – blogs (12/26) and Twitter (12/26) less so.

The range was quite wide: 11 different applications or formats (blogs, wiki). About half of the applications (Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vimeo, VKontakte, wiki) were used only by one UAS.

2013-05-25 Social media on Finnish university homepages

UAS: Social media applications on the main page 24.5.2013 (Centria added 25.5.2013)


All universities had at least one social media application on it’s homepage, the one with most had six.

The most popular was Facebook (17/18 had), then came YouTube (13/18) and Twitter (12/18).

Universities had narrower range of applications than UAS: only seven. Flickr and Pinterest appeared only on one page each, LinkedIn on 3 pages and 4 had blogs.

Universities: Social media applications on the Finnish main page 24.5.2013

Universities: Social media applications on the main page 24.5.2013

Social media has come, but is it to stay?

I made a similar check in 2011 and there were much fewer mentions of social media then. I may have a closer look at the raise some time later.

It’s interesting to see, how the schools invest in the use of social media now that there are big funding cuts at least on the UAS sector. Even if the applications are free, the active content creation, curation and community management requires time and staff. Will the social media experiments melt away like spring ice, when the climate change?

Spring shore. Laaksolahti, Espoo, Finland 28.4.2013 (Edited with Picasa's Creative Kit: Rotation, exposure, colours, Reala 400, Lomo-ish & watermark, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Spring shore. Laaksolahti, Espoo, Finland 28.4.2013
(Edited with Picasa’s Creative Kit: Rotation, exposure, colours, Reala 400, Lomo-ish & watermark,
CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Edit: Centria added to the UAS list afterwards on 25.5.2013, the numbers in the text corrected accordingly.

Edit 2: The University of the Arts Helsinki started 1.1.2013, the founding agreement was signed 15.11.2011.

Edit 3: Took out the word “Finnish” from few places, since the main page for Swedish schools is in Swedish.



Metropolia UAS, News: Metropolia Initiates Information and Consultation Process

Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland: Polytechnics aka Universities of Applied Sciences

Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland: Universities



Edit 23.7.2013: Statistics on Google url shortener

CircleCount, Pages, Finland 13.4.2013

CircleCount, Pages, Finland 13.4.2013

CircleCount keeps track of Google+ profiles and pages. I just noticed that there are currently three pages in the Finnish Top 10 that I have either created by myself or together with others:

1) Summer Photos (5th place, launched 6.6.2012)
2) Metropolia Career Services (7th, launched 8.11.2011)
3) Weekly Photo Project 2013 (9th, lauched 21.12.2012 together with Andrew Willard and Iain Harley)

The content of the pages varies: Summer Photos re-shares participants photos, career services posts links to job ads (sometimes as re-shares from other pages), photo project posts current information for the project participants.

No tricks

There has been no tricks or fancy SEO tactics involved, just simple, small common sense things: sharing interesting content (own or re-shared from participants), thanking for posts, commenting, discussing, listening, reacting to raised concerns or opinions, some promoting on other platforms (blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).

Most of the active promotion for the pages has been made inside Google+ by the participants themselves. For the photo pages people mention the hashtag, page name and curators in their public posts, so there’s a good chance for a snowball effect. The photo pages are also listed on the “Daily Photography Themes” page. I’ve mentioned the photo project for new followers of Summer Photos, since the project is open to join all year round and people sharing their summer photos might be interested. The “Summer Photos” and photo project have had some polls and events, the latter also recorded video sessions with project participants (Hangout On Air, HOA).

The photo project has been actively promoted on Iain Harley’s blog, few times in Facebook, the #WeeklyPhotoProject2013 hashtag is in use in Twitter by few participants. I’ve listed the pages on my blog, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, the career services page is listed on the school’s homepage and career services’ Facebook page.

Active community management

People appreciate if you are kind and show interest. Even very simple positive responses to posts and comments engage people, encourage them to participate and create the sense of doing something together. Even though Google+ communities would be better suited for actual “community management”, similar processes can be applied on Google+ pages.


With limited resources it’s great if you can share the workload with co-curators. The content and intensity of curating varies among the Daily Photography Themes, but even giving simple responses takes time, if there are a lot of participants.

The photo project has 245 people who has posted at least once since the beginning, but not all of them post every week. The Summer Photos started in July from Northern Europe with many posts per day, but the summertime on the Southern Hemisphere has been much slower.

Small country

Last but not least: Finland is a small country with a population around 5 million people, so you get on Top 10 lists with less volume than on larger markets.

With the 1 758 followers the Summer Photos page wouldn’t even fit the Top 100 on the CircleCount list for United States (would be 193rd) – on the United Kingdom’s list it would almost fit in Top 50 (would be 51st).



CircleCount: Finnish Google+ pages
Google+: Metropolia Career Services
Google+: Summer Photos
Google+: Weekly Photo Project 2013


Edit 23.7.2013: Statistics on Google url shortener

Photo: Happenstance. Espoo, Finland 4.1.2013 (Edited in G+ Lightbox: Cropping, exposure, colours, Orton-ish & watermark, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Photo: Happenstance. Espoo, Finland 4.1.2013
(Edited in G+ Lightbox: Cropping, exposure, colours, Orton-ish & watermark, CC BY Tiina M Niskanen)

Asking the right question in the right crowd at the right time may have unexpected results – one reason why I love social media.

In my case this means that a novice Androidographer like me, ends up curating a worldwide weekly photo project with two people I never knew before.

Who’ll continue the 2012 project?

I participated in Giuseppe Basile’s and Kate Church’s weekly photo project in Google+ on 2012.

Around 18.12.2012 I asked in a public post the project crew, if they were planning to continue next year. They weren’t.

But Kate offered to help, if someone would. In other comments there seemed to be some interest to see – and even help out – the idea to continue on 2013.

What did we do?

Since there seemed to be no other active parties in sight, I asked Andrew Willard and Iain Harley to hangout and discuss the matter. They had told in their comments that they could help in the project.

We wished the project continue and despite our limited resources we were willing to volunteer as curators. Using the hangout with screenshare and shared Google Document to edit the weekly themes, we got the outlines for the Weekly Photo Project 2013 ready then and there during the first session.

First theme: New Year

We all curators try to also participate in the project with our own photos – mine first photo is the one on this post.

I had seen people attach musical references to their photo posts, so I decided to choose OneRepublic’s “Feel again” for mine – recent tip from a friend.

May your New Year be blessed with friends who give you tips about energizing music!



Google+: Weekly Photo Project 2013
Google+: Andrew Willard
Google+: Iain Harley
Google+: Tiina Niskanen

Hardly Harley by Iain Harley: The Weekly Photo Project for 2013 (21.12.2012)

Google+: Project52-2012
Google+: Giuseppe Basile
Google+: Kate Church

YouTube: Weekly Photo Project Q&A , hosts Andrew Willard and Iain Harley
YouTube: Feel Again by OneRepublic


Edit 16.1.2013: Statistics on Google url shortener
Edit 3.7.2013: The post by Tiina in Google+ that started the project 17.12.2012

Content CC BY Tiina M Niskanen

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