#WeAreInternational campaign demonstrates UK remains diverse & inclusive to international students & staff

The #WeAreInternational initiative traces its roots  to 2013 whereby those at the University of Sheffield wanted to eradicate the myth that international students did not integrate with the city.

It has so far has been backed by over a 100 universities, education institutions, government organisations as well as international organisations. The full list of supporting organisations can be found here.

In this blog post we use a very powerful brand monitoring tool Visibrain to gain insight into the impact that the campaign has been having.

Figure 1 – Time series graph which shows when there were peaks in tweets


The figure above, created using Visibrain, displays the peaks in the hashtag over a 30 day period. The first peak corresponds to the 25th of October and this peak occurred as a number of organisations and individuals tweeted their support of the hashtag on this day. These included the Foreign Office, the editor of the World University Rankings, and Cardiff University among others. The largest peak of tweets occurred on the 9th of November, and correlated to a #WeAreInternational event, which took place with the University of Sheffield’s Vice Chancellor, in Delhi.

Looking carefully at some of the numbers generated using Visibrain from October 22nd to November 21st the initiative had a total of 8,782 tweets which were tweeted out by 4,426 users, and which had 36,804,730 impressions, with 2,061 (23%) original tweets, and 6,721 (77%) retweets, and 3,289 (37%) tweets contained links. In interpreting these results, firstly this indicates that the hashtag has quite a high retweet percentage, and a possible reason for this is that users wish to indicate their support of the initiative, and retweet in order to have the hashtag appear on their timelines. The number of impressions (a metric Twitter users to refer to views) is also quite high which may indicate that users with large followings may have been tweeting and retweeting the hashtag. Next we took a look at the most frequently occurring words, as shown in figure 2 below.

Figure 2 – Most frequently occurring words


The most frequently occurring word is that of #WeAreInternational (n=7951), followed by #LoveInternational (n=391), GlobalBritain (n=335), #Brexit (n=230), and #WorldWeek16. The aim of the campaign is to highlight how the UK remains diverse and inclusive to international students, and many of the words used, such as ‘#globalbritain’ suggest this. We can also see that a number of countries are also mentioned such as Malaysia, Nambia, China, and India. Next we take a look at where the users tweeting come from.

Figure 3 – Top 10 locations of user tweeters


In the top ten table  the majority of tweets derive from the United Kingdom (81.2%). However, those behind the initiative would be pleased to see that 18.8% of tweets derive from outside of the UK. This would suggest that the hashtag is not only reaching those outside of the UK, but that it is also being engaged with via original tweets, and retweets. Next we used NodeXL and took a look at the structure of the network for tweets which were tweeted over the time period of 25 November 2016 to 04 December.

Figure 4 – NodeXL Network graph (access full report here)


NodeXL network graphs can take a number of different shapes, and this post may be useful for those looking at this for the fist time. The graph above has clustered Twitter users into a number of different groups, and many of the groups represent broadcast networks (G1 to G8). In a broadcast network a user may send out a tweet and their followers or a group of users following a topic may retweet the user. The complete NodeXL report can be found here.

This initiative demonstrates that social media can be used to raise awareness and disseminate information on an unprecedented scale. This blog post referred to data and analytics powered by Visibrain, and Connected Action

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