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The role of social networks in the presentation of Croatian higher education institutions


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Golubić, Kruno. (2017). The role of social networks in the presentation of Croatian higher education institutions. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Information Science.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti) [mentor Banek Zorica, Mihaela].

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Social networks are not a new phenomenon. They have been present on the Internet since the middle of the 1990’s, but in the recent years they have become a topic of everyday conversations. As the social networks became a part of everyday life, they also became a part of the academic community. The aim of this study was to collect data on the usage of social networks by institutions of higher education in Croatia, as well as to analyse the published content in order to use the collected data to define guidelines for developing communication strategy and increasing the institutions’ presence on social networks. In its introduction, the dissertation gives a short overview of social networks’ characteristics, as well as the existing definitions. The introduction also proposes a definition of social networks which covers all aspects of a modern social network. Beside the definition, this chapter also proposes a social network classification by which all social networks can be distributed into three categories. The suggested classification represents a more simplified distribution than some other classifications, nevertheless it is comprehensive and applicable even beyond the scope of this dissertation. The introduction also discloses various statistical data about the number of social networks’ users, as well as the manner in which users use them. Data about the presence of higher education institutions on social networks were gathered during the academic year 2013/2014. In order to determine if an institution is present on social networks or not, institutions’ official web sites were reviewed. Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of Republic of Croatia provided a list of all Croatian higher education institutions. There are 136 higher education institutions in total, 101 of which are state funded and 35 are privately funded institutions. All higher education institutions’ web sites were visited and reviewed on September 23rd 2013. Out of 136 web sites, 133 were accessible, i.e., on that date three web sites, one belonging to a public institution and two belonging to private institutions, were unreachable, i.e., their web servers were inaccessible. Upon visiting all web sites, links to all social networks were noted down which means that the list of social networks was not defined beforehand. Out of 133 reviewed web sites, 53 web sites contained valid links to social networks. One web site did contain a link, but it was not a valid Facebook page so it was not included in the study. Out of 53 institutions included in the study, 30 are state funded and 23 are privately funded institutions. Nine social networks were identified in total. Out of those nine identified, institutions use Facebook the most (N=45), then YouTube (N=20) and Twitter (N=17). LinkedIn has a reputation of being a professional business social network so it is surprising that a relatively small number of institutions (N=8) use it. The small number of institutions using Google+ is also surprising (N=2). Other identified social networks (Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr and Vimeo) are each used by only one institution. Two surveys were distributed in order to receive institutions’ feedback and opinion on social networks. The aim of the first survey was to assess attitudes of people associated with higher education institutions in Croatia towards social networks. During a twomonth period, from March 30th 2015 to May 28th 2015, an online questionnaire was sent to employees, associates and students in order to collect feedback and attitudes about the necessity of official presence of Croatian higher education institutions on social networks. The questionnaire was filled out by 307 participants from 64 higher education institutions. The aim of the second survey was to assess attitudes of people responsible for the presence of Croatian higher education institutions on social networks and it was sent to 53 institutions which were officially present on social networks. During the period from April 22nd 2015 to May 22nd 2015, 24 institutions filled out the questionnaire. Another goal of this survey was to gather data about the reasons why the institutions use social networks, the benefits of using social networks and the use of social networks for advertising purposes, as well as the overall opinion about social networks and their benefits. Surveys showed that institutions do indeed benefit from using social networks, but that they also do not use them to the full extent of their capacity. In order for them to do so, the dissertation provides guidelines for developing a communication strategy by using social networks.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Croatian higher education, social networks, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, social network presence, benefits of presence on social networks, communication strategy
Subjects: Information sciences
Information sciences > Librarianship
Departments: Department of Information Science
Supervisor: Banek Zorica, Mihaela
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij informacijskih i komunikacijskih znanosti
Date Deposited: 08 May 2017 07:41
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2018 11:48

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