The facilitation of human relationships and connections via social media has several advantages Social media is transforming one-way monologues into collaborative dialogues and interactions. It is democratising information and knowledge: it involves everyone, everywhere, in all-the-time conversations. It helps to weave communities, encourage greater openness and transparency, accelerate information sharing, help to access diverse perspectives, mobilise people, stimulate collaborative knowledge building and reduce the cost of participation and co-ordination of resources and actions.
The key aspect of a social media is that it involves wider participation in the creation of information that is shared. Blogs, wikis, social networking websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, and social bookmarking sites, such as Delicious, are examples of some of the social media tools that are being used to share and collaborate in educational, social, and business contexts. The facilitation of human relationships and connections via social media has several advantages Social media is transforming one-way monologues into collaborative dialogues and interactions. It is democratising information and knowledge: it involves everyone, everywhere, in all-the-time conversations. It helps to weave communities, encourage greater openness and transparency, accelerate information sharing, help to access diverse perspectives, mobilise people, stimulate collaborative knowledge building and reduce the cost of participation and co-ordination of resources and actions.
Social Media for Disseminating Research
The Newsam Library
Making the most of Social
& Special Collections Librarian
Beyond the REF: 21st
Institute of Education, University of London
Introduction to Social Media
What, Why, How
Minocha, S. and Petre, M.
Handbook of Social Media for Researchers and Supe
Available at https://www.vitae.ac.uk/vitae-
What is social media?
Definition from the Social Media Handbook:
Social media is an online environment opened for the purposes of mass
collaboration, where all invited participants can create, post, rate, enhance,
discover, consume, and share content without a direct intermediary (Bradley and
The term media in this context is a collaboration environment characterised by
storage and transmission of messages around and about content, while social
describes the distinct way these messages propagate as one-to-many and
Social media, therefore, is a new form of communication that is changing
behaviour and expectations of researchers, employers and funding bodies. It is
transforming one-way monologues into collaborative dialogues and
interactions thus democratising information and knowledge.
Why use social media?
This quote from an article by G. Small in Nature (2011), 479, p. 141,
summarises how new technologies are changing the way in which the
research dialogues are being conducted:
The real value of social media for scientists (aside from teaching us to communicate
concisely) may be that we are forced to think about how to share ideas with a
broader audience, one that ultimately pays for most of our research: taxpayers.
Public conversations about our research make [social] scientists accountable for
delivering something of value to those taxpayers. In an era of budget cutting, early-
career [social] scientists will have to be effective ambassadors for the profession. This
might manifest in conversations with family members or with strangers sitting next to
us on a plane, or it might mean posting videos on YouTube or blogging about our
ongoing research. The days of [social] scientists communicating only with each other,
in the languages of our individual disciplines, and relying on [social] science journalists
to translate for the public, are rapidly coming to an end.
Altmetrics vs. Citations
Only 25% of academic research is published in mainstream avenues; 90% of papers
published in academic journals are never cited; 50% never read by anyone but author,
editor & reviewers. (Source: http://bit.ly/1m2nka5)
Impact is no longer about just publishing in peer-reviewed journals but about
altmetrics on social media which look at what’s being talked about on the social web.
Your digital presence
Social media is not just for socializing. When handled correctly, you can
use it to enhance your personal brand, establish your expertise, or
demonstrate your digital fluency. Commit to using social media for
professional reasons and be proactive about managing your activity and
image. Consider what potential employers or colleagues will see - you
don't want them to discover only pictures of you and your dog, or worse.
Make sure at a minimum you have a LinkedIn account with a completed
profile. Try tweeting or blogging about your area of expertise, thereby
creating content that others can forward, re-tweet, or repost. This can help
you establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Source: Harvard Business Review Management Tip, 9 March 2012,
online [accessed 16 August 2012]
Social networking provides you with the opportunity to create a digital
To disseminate research to the public (reach the people you would not
normally reach e.g. CEO, funders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists etc);
To begin a dialogue with other researchers, the government and the
To network and collaborate;
To attract future employers; and
To establish yourself as the expert in your field (self promotion is important
To demonstrate your digital literacy skills/digital fluency
Remember – your digital footprint is your
professional identity so keep it PROFESSIONAL
Copyright and other IPRs
Be careful about what you put up – read the terms and conditions of the
site carefully before you give away your life’s work e.g. Instagram,
Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube - find out who owns the copyright
Do not divulge personal names as you will be in breach of agreements you
have either with individuals or with the institution’s ethics approval process
see: http://www.bera.ac.uk/resources/ethics-and-educational-research to
download the guidelines
Acknowledge content of others – understand the copyright law, the
creative commons licenses etc. See: http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/ipr
social media in
The Digital Researcher
In order to establish your online presence on the Internet, as a
minimum, we recommend that you have a presence on:
ResearchGate and/or Academia.edu
Once you are established and feel comfortable, you may want to
consider having your own blog or blogging on your organisation's blog
to establish your expertise.
At a later stage, you may want to consider online networking and
sharing information on Academic Gate, Mendeley and/or Zotero.