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Do rankings follow leadership or does leadership result in higher rankings?

Yesterday’s discussion about NC State’s rankings in social media usage has generated a considerable amount of discussion. (see yesterday’s post and the attached comments.)

Lots of people believe we shouldn’t care about the rankings, instead, we should focus on providing innovative solutions and uses in the social media sphere.  But I’m taking a much more basic approach and want to know where the paths cross.  Do rankings follow leadership or does leadership result in higher rankings?  An interesting conundrum if you will.  And there may not be an acceptable answer.

High rankings attract attention, attention attracts talent, talent attracts funding.  True leadership attracts talent, talent attracts funding, funding attracts attention.  Huh.


For now I think its fair to challenge NC State to be a leader in technology and social media.  Not just in the rankings and not just in the PR, but a leader in how we utilize all of this stuff and in the stuff we create.  I know Tim and our web guys think this should be the case because they all either responded to the blog or sent me an email expressing their opinions (thank you very much, BTW.)

I think that could be one of the key message points that we’re working on as part of the strategic communications planning process.  As TJ suggested; position the university as the system-wide leader in the field (we’ve got enough stuff already to make this claim with the open source code, mobile framework project, twitter, YouTube, our Facebook plans, DELTA, and the list of start ups, plus some of the projects we’ve been considering), and then as one of the Higher Ed leaders?

If it weren’t politically incorrect, I’d say just skip the system-wide stuff and claim national leadership.  The system can follow our lead can’t it?

So, the Key Message might read:

NC State is a leader in …

You tell me.  Just how would we phrase it? You’ve got one paragraph, or 140 characters.  Gotta be true to the technology ya know.  Interesting possibilities.

Passion Rules!

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1 Cody Williams { 02.12.10 at 10:47 am }

As Roosevelt said, If you build it, they will come. I think that if the university can build a network of social media that puts all others to shame, which I know we can, then the rankings will come. Of course this concept goes well beyond just social media, but really in everything we do. Rankings do attract attention and that’s how you get noticed. These days it seems like rankings are all that anyone cares about too, so like Mr. Bobby said “If you ain’t first, your last”. Well maybe not, but who wouldn’t want to be first?

2 Joe Hice { 02.12.10 at 11:29 am }

First is always the winner.

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