Academics and SoMe – “What to use” and “Why”

By Jonathan Sherbino (@sherbino)

Recently, I read a very compelling article from Nature.  (Thanks @TChanMD!)  Based on an e-survey of >3500 researchers in >95 countries, how academics use various social media platforms was described.

Here are the general results for common SoMe platforms.

Tues post_graph 1
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Interestingly, ResearchGate had the most regular users among those surveyed.  It was used as a networking and information-sharing platform. Memorable quotes include:

“Mainly, a source of stress every time an e-mail pops in showing that my colleagues/ competitors are publishing more than myself.” Age 35–44, Professor, Brazil

“It is the only useful community website for research purposes.” Age 55–64, Professor, Hungary

Tues post_graph 2
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In contrast, Facebook was rarely used professionally.

A memorable quote includes:

“Facebook has zero credibility in my professional life.” Age 35–44, Staff Scientist, United States

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LinkedIn seems to serve more as an interactive “address book.”  Rather than sharing or disseminating scholarship, the platform seems to serve as an updated and searchable contacts list among professional networks.

Memorable quotes include:

“Mainly useful for job hunting.” Age 25–34, Phd Student, United States

“It is too much like Facebook — fluffy forwards and such that are not scientific or related to professionalism.” Age 45–54, Associate Professor, United States

Tues post_graph 4
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Finally, Twitter seemed to serve as a real time aggregator of themes and issues relevant to a discipline.

Memorable quotes include:

“Extremely useful in conference settings.” Age 35–44, Research Scientist, United States

“Great way to keep up-to-date on what is happening NOW in the research community.” Age 45–54, Head Of Academic Department, United States

Tues post_graph 5
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So, what do you think?  Are you an outlier in your use of SoMe platforms?