Against Social Media for Academics

I wrote a few guidebook chapters about social media last year:

– How to Disseminate and Promote Your Research Online
– How to Use Social Media for Public Engagement
– How to Build Research Networks Online

My advice would have been slightly different if I’d waited until after Musk’s takeover to write them. As someone who has spent 10+ years helping academics use social media, it’s odd to realise that I might advise people NOT to use it now unless there’s a pressing reason to do so. I worry we’ve reached a crescendo of institutional normalisation at exactly the point where the risk/reward ratio doesn’t make sense for many academics. We’re moving into a new phase of ‘pay-to-play’ for visibility and safety in using popular platforms. My suggestion: treat digital engagement as a specialism funded and supported adequately, detached from using social media for participating in intellectual communities. These were always different activities leading to increasingly different experiences as social media changes. It’s such an avoidable mess brought about by terrible advice on professional practice and lofty disdain for social media by sector leaders apart from its use in research impact. It was crucial part of research infrastructure and we’ve now broken it

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