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  • Mark 11:05 am on December 5, 2019 Permalink
    Tags: Social Media,   

    A video introduction to Social Media for Academics 

    How has social media changed since the first edition of this book?

    (More …)

  • Mark 4:55 pm on November 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Social Media   

    Social media, attention economies and the future of the university 

    This is an extract from Social Media for Academics 2. If you like it please consider buying the book!

    Social media hasn’t created the celebrity academic but it has made it a category to which a greater number and range of people might aspire. It can be a gateway to the familiar markers of esteem associated with being a well-known scholar: paid speaking invitations, opportunities for media collaboration, requests for endorsements, extensive publication opportunities, paid reviewing work, invitations to join working groups, etc. These might be supplemented by requests which reflect popularity while nonetheless being less welcome, such as endless requests to peer review papers, assess monograph proposals or review grant applications. How these reinforce other forms of hierarchy remains to be established but we can speculate that they are unlikely to make the academy a more equal place. Even if social media expands the pool of celebrity academics, potentially making it more diverse than would otherwise be the case, it does so through the entrenchment of hierarchy: rewards flow to those who are known, valued and heard while those who are unknown, unvalued and unheard struggle to increase their standing.

    If we see social media platforms as democratic spaces then we miss how unevenly attention is distributed across them. For instance as Veletsianos (2016: loc 1162–1708) found in a study of educational tweeters, the top 1% of scholars had an average follower count of 700 times scholars in the bottom 50% and 100 times scholars in the other 99%. If this online popularity can be converted into offline rewards in the manner suggested, it doesn’t matter whether these are established academics who leverage their existing prestige to build a following or new entrants who have accumulated visibility through their social media activity alone. Both are beneficiaries of a new hierarchy which supplements the existing hierarchies of academic life. Social media can play an important role in allowing more diverse voices to rise to prominence within academic life and this should be celebrated. But we should not confuse this with platforms making the academy less hierarchical. It is certainly true that social media allows everyone to have a voice, as its cheerleaders are prone to pointing it out. However, it does so at the cost of making it much more difficult for people to be heard, something which is crucial to grasp if we want to get to grips with the long-term effects of social media on higher education.

    Publishing projects creating platforms for academics to have access to established audiences have a crucial role to play here.There are examples which cross disciplines such asThe Conversation and the group of LSE blogs. But perhaps the most interesting examples have a smaller audience and/or a narrower focus than this. Examples from my own discipline include The Sociological Review, Discover Society, Everyday Sociology and The Society Pages. I read blogs like The Disorder of Things and Critical Legal Thinking from adjacent disciplines.There will be examples from your own disciplines which I am unfamiliar with.These multi-author spaces have different intentions and different audiences, reaching out beyond a narrowly academic readership to varying degrees. But they are examples of a proliferation of outlets which enable academics to publish online and ensure a readership.

    The fact these projects have built up their own readership, accessible to academics who want to write occasionally or even on a single occasion, means they can perform the function of redistributing visibility. This might not in itself mitigate the attention economy unfolding in academic life but it can nonetheless provide a corrective to it, as long as editors of projects like this recognise the important role they play as gatekeepers to online audiences and the implications for who gets heard and who doesn’t in an academy where social media is increasingly ubiquitous. These projects also have an important role to play in addressing the parochialism which pervades social media.

    The Global Social Theory project founded by Gurminder K. Bhambra is an inspiring example of the form this can take. It seeks to correct the narrow focus on European male authors which characterises many reading lists on social theory, building a library which profiles theorists from around the world and guides people about how to engage with their work and use it on reading lists. In this sense, it uses the affordances of social media to find ways to amplify voices outside of American and European intellectual currents.The site itself was created in WordPress and it was promoted, as well as contributions solicited, through Twitter and Facebook. The Global Dialogues newsletter produced by the International Sociological Association addresses parochialism in a slightly different way, with each newsletter being translated in 16 languages so updates from around the world can be read by people from around the world.

    Both projects feature contributions from around the world with the range of their contributors and the scope of their readership enhanced by social media even if their operations are not strictly dependent upon these platforms.They highlight the potential which social media offers for overcoming parochialism, if it is approached in the form of a practical project. Their necessity helps illustrate how social media can entrench Anglophone bias if unopposed, as multilingual academics find themselves nudged into engaging online in English if they want access to international audiences. Collective projects of this sort have a crucial role to play in mitigating the inequalities of visibility which social media is generating. But they can also play a role in ensuring that we can respond collectively to the problems of online harassment and political polarisation which increasingly pervade social media.

  • Mark 10:49 am on October 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Social Media,   

    Social Media for Academics 2 

    It’s only a month to go until the second edition of Social Media for Academics will be released by Sage. It’s a vastly expanded text with almost 100 new pages of material. I’ve also rewritten the existing content from start to finish. There’s a whole range of topics which have been added: live blogging, developing hashtags, live streaming, videocasting, podcasting, working with freelancers, trolling, social media sabbaticals, building communities, auditing your footprint and much more. Here are some of the kind words which people have already shared about this edition. If you’d like to get a sense of the approach I take then you might like to explore the hundreds of blog posts about social media I’ve written or reviews and media coverage from the first edition. If you’d like me to speak or advise on these issues then please get in touch.

  • Mark 8:30 pm on September 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , discussion, , , Social Media, Zizi Papacharissi   

    The supersurfaces of social media 

    If I understand this notion from Zizi Papacharissi correctly*, it captures something important about social media. These platforms create an experience of expansiveness which doesn’t hook into the social world in a significant way. It’s a free-wheeling expansiveness, to use a term from Roy Bhaskar’s critique of Richard Rorty, a trick of perspective which affects a significance it can’t provide. From pg 137 of Affective Publics:

    The term supersurfaces is popular among architects, as a way of describing spatial possibilities enabled by the technique of folding, so as to show how flat surfaces can be transformed into volumes through cutting, weaving, twisting, winding, and further manipulating woven forms (Vyzoviti, 2001, 2003). I use the term to describe how the discursive spaces rendered by net-based platforms relate to the materiality of physical spaces (Papacharissi, 2010). They extend and pluralize spaces for conversation and mobilization organically, in ways that feel empowering and meaningful. At the same time, without direct connections to the systemic core of civic institutions, their ability to effect institutional change is compromised.

    *And I’m not sure I do because I don’t think this is a particular clear explanation.

  • Mark 4:14 pm on June 10, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: quitting social media, Social Media, social media detox   

    Learning to live with social media 

    Far from being the contribution to social media quit lit which I thought it would be, this piece by Elisa Veini nails the question which has become my overriding obsession:

    How then, faced with the inescapable need to have a professional profile on LinkedIn and maybe the will to see what is happening on Twitter, or just to contact with friends and family, on Facebook indeed – how to do it in a way that feels at least a bit right? The answer depends on yourself, and the parameters you set for your own social media behaviour. I think that there is a fine balance between becoming overtly cautious of every step you take in public, and not losing your spontaneity. The point is, you do need parameters, and you need to act on social media in a way that corresponds to those parameters. For the rest, the choice is yours.

  • Mark 1:46 pm on June 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: professionalisations, , Social Media, , social media guidelines,   

    How do dentists use social media? 

    My notes on Bhola, S., & Hellyer, P. (2016). The risks and benefits of social media in dental foundation training. British dental journal, 221(10), 609.

    One of my main interests in recent years has been social media and professionalisation. Once these platforms become a routine feature of working life, it’s necessary to prepare professionals to take advantage of the opportunities they offer and the challenges they create. But how do we do this? My interest has been in academics and teachers but I’ve recently been looking to how these debates are being taken up within other professions. This paper reflects on the professional use of social media by dentists, with a particular focus on Dental Foundation Training as the training year to prepare newly qualified dentists for independent practice. It takes place in dialogue with an experienced dentist who acts as a training supervisor.

    The General Dental Council offers guidance on the use of social media by dentists. It recognises the professional value in conversing about cases but insists any such discussions must be suitably anonymised in order to prevent the identification of patients. Furthermore no patient information may be shared without their explicit consent. The uptake by dentists can be clearly seen across Facebook groups (peer to peer, as well as pages & groups attached to organisations), a mobile app with a vast education library produced by the British Dental Association, peer to peer educational Instagram feeds, educational YouTube videos across a range of topics, relevant resources collated on Pinterest and many dentists on LinkedIn often identifying themselves as specialists in particular fields. There is also GDPUK which is an immensely popular professional networking resource for dentists, including access to substantial quantities of CPD and links to local events. There are also blogs created by dentists, particularly those orientated towards trainees with an educational intent.

    They identified a number of purposes which social media can serve for dentists:

    1. Professional networking which provide a belongingness akin to dental school to professionals who often feel isolated in independent practice.
    2. Access to a large array of educational resources which can broaden the horizons of trainees
    3. Raising their professional profile, particularly amongst more senior colleagues, creating connections which might be difficult to form through other means.

    And the risks entailed by social media:

    1. There’s no way to ensure the quality of information which is provided freely online, not least of all when commercial motivations intersect with educational ones in ways which might not always be clear.
    2. The ever present possibilities that dentists taking to social media might use these platforms in ways which reflect badly on the profession.
    3. Problems of consent caused by dentists talking about cases and patients online. Interaction with patients through social media might trouble established professional boundaries.

    Here is the summary of GDC social media guidelines and the authors own advice about using social media as a dental professional:

  • Mark 5:31 pm on May 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , screen time, Social Media, ,   

    Does social media make young people unhappy? 

    My notes on Orben, A. & Dienlin, T. & Przybylski, A.K. (2019). Social media’s enduring effect on adolescent life satisfaction. Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences

    Does social media make young people unhappy? This is the question which this paper by Amy Orbena, Tobias Dienlinc and Andrew K. Przybylskia addresses using the Understanding Society (the UK Household Longitudinal Study) data from 2009–2016. They caution that most responses to this question have been synchronic, comparing different people at the same point in time in order to draw conclusions about something that necessarily relates to the person over time. They offer their study against a background where “trivial trends are routinely overinterpreted by those under increasing pressure to rapidly craft evidence-based policies” (1).

    The longitudinal data concerning 10- to 15-y olds (n=12,672) means that within person questions can be asked of the data. They produced a range of models working with different subgroups, exploring the statistical relationship between self-reported hours spent using social media (“on a normal school day”) and different areas of reported life satisfaction (Friends, Appearance, School, Work, Life, Family, Mean). For male adolescents social media predicted “tenuous” (does this mean extremely small…?) decreases in satisfaction with life and mean satisfaction. For female adolescents it was “a predictor of slightly de- creased life satisfaction across all domains, except satisfaction with appearance” (3). Most of the effects they found are trivial and were not statistically significant in over half of the models. They recognise the limitations of self report data but in the absence of social media firms “sharing granular user engagement data and participating in large-scale team-based open science” (2) the best datasets we have are similarly reliant upon self report.

  • Mark 8:46 pm on April 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Social Media, , ,   

    Academics like the idea of Twitter in the classroom but what do students think? 

    My notes on Boath, E., Vigurs, K., & Frangos, J. (2018). Twittering Away-Is twitter an appropriate adjunctive tool to enhance learning and engagement in Higher Education?. Innovative Practice in Higher Education, 3(2).

    Twitter has often be framed as a potential tool for teaching and learning. It can be used for virtual peer support groups, developing interactive networks, sharing knowledge and building networks. It “allows learning conversations to take place both virtually and publicly, thus removing them from the isolation of classrooms and academic ivory towers” (104). It can promote asynchronous learning, generating online community and facilitate immediate formative feedback. There are a whole range of ways in which it can be used but what do students make of these possibilities?

    In this study, Elizabeth Boath, Katy Vigurs and Juliette Frangos investigate student experiences of Twitter through a study of a convenience sample of 44 social welfare law students. Its focus was on Twitter as “an adjunctive learning tool to provide learners with access to contemporary discussion relevant to their subject, which they were invited to identify, understand and disseminate to the wider group” (105). During a Welfare Benefits and Money Advice Module of a BA Social Welfare Law, Policy and Advice Practice students were invited to engage via Twitter lists, a twitter chat, direct engagement with lecturing staff, each other and experts in the field within and beyond the academy. They were asked to identify information relevant for their course and share it with others using a dedicated hashtag. A 17-item questionnaire using closed and open questions was designed to explore their views of this activity and the impact it had on their learning experience. It was completed by 11 of the 44 students (25%). Three of them had previously been regular users of Twitter, five had not used Twitter before but were now regular users and 3 were infrequent users previously and remained so now.

    Their responses conveyed the usefulness of Twitter for enhancing knowledge, particularly on emerging event s and breaking news. Though this was coupled with concerns about the reliability of twitter sources. Some suggested they found the platform overwhelming, with too much information and too little time to process it. This reinforces existing research which has found that Twitter’s use to support students may be limited. The authors suggest that “if supported by institutional digital scaffolding such as time management strategies and training, Twitter may be a useful adjunct to traditional physical learning spaces that facilitates the enhancement of knowledge and building of professional networks” (108).

    The real question is what from that scaffolding would take and whether this would be worthwhile even if it was provided. The teaching might be effective but are students interested?Interestingly, only two of them agreed that Twitter had added to their enjoyment of the model. Could there be much more enthusiasm for Twitter on the part of educators than on the part of students? They note that the students in question “tend to be more mature students, to be employed, have children and also some undertake additional caring roles” and so may be atypical of the broader population (108)

  • Mark 11:55 am on April 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , educational research, , neil selwyn, Social Media   

    Social media and education… now the dust has settled 

    My notes on Selwyn, N., & Stirling, E. (2016). Social media and education… now the dust has settled. Learning, media and technology, 41(1), 1-5.

    This special issue of Learning, Media and Technology is a sequel to a 2009 issue which began to inquire into the emergence of ‘social software’ and what it meant for teaching. Seven years later with social media platforms ubiquitous, the online/offline distinction having collapsed and a ‘social’ element being a standard feature of new technology, it asks how social media platforms are actually being used in educational setting, what the implications of this use, their interaction with their institutional context and how they are transforming it in the process.

    The main difference they see between 2009 and 2015 is “the extent to which social media have become part of mainstream digital practices and everyday life in general” (2). They make the interesting point that this means the term itself now lacks resonance outside of the academy, as platforms have faded into the background of everyday life:

    “The pervasiveness of social media is illustrated neatly by the lack of resonance that the term now has with the general population. The characteristics and qualities that made social media such a distinct and exciting ‘thing’ in 2009 are now normalized to the point of not being an obvious topic of conversation, let alone meriting a specific label” (2)

    Yet their uptake is far from uniform. Many people don’t have internet access, many are subject to a ‘device divide’ in which they are only able to access platforms through phones and/or non-broadband connections. These divides are profoundly regionalised. They also note how significant it is that the study of social media has grown in the way that it has, with approaches as different as platform studies and computational social sciences illustrating how wide this field is if indeed it constitutes a feed at all.

    Social media has been an increasingly prominent topic in education journals. However, as the put it, “many of the most interesting (and, we would argue, most important) questions about social media and education remain largely ignored by education researchers” who tend “to look primarily for good news, ‘best practice’ and examples of ‘what works’”. There is much hope still that social media will be “the ‘Killer App’ capable of initiating significant shifts in how people learn and engage with education”. However the social media research outside of education has shown us that its use by young people is complex, contradictory and contested. We need educational research that confronts this multifaceted character head on. There are exception to this but these studies “remain overshadowed by broad-brush accounts of social media use in the classroom” (4).

  • Mark 7:54 am on March 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Social Media, social media firms, trust   

    Can social media firms remain popular while being perceived as untrustworthy? 

    In the last few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about the popularity of social media firms amidst mounting scandal. It has often seemed that there’s a new common sense opening up in which these firms are seen as fundamentally untrustworthy, built around a business model which means the scandals they generate are a feature rather than a bug. But how widespread is this point of view? There is low trust in social media with the Edelman Barometer finding 34% in Europe and US/Canada which is markedly lower than trust in traditional media. In Zucked, Roger McNamee reports on a corpus study looking at associations with tech firms. From loc 3298-3313:

    To get a sense of the impact, I asked Erin McKean, founder of Wordnik and former editor of the Oxford Dictionary of American English, to study changes in the nouns and adjectives mostly frequently associated with each of the largest tech companies: Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft, plus Twitter. Prior to the 2016 election, the tech leaders enjoyed pristine reputations, with no pejorative word associations. For Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, that is still true. For Facebook, things have changed dramatically. The word “scandal” now ranks in the top 50 nouns associated with Facebook. “Breach” and “investigation” are in the top 250 nouns. With adjectives the situation is even worse. Alone among the five tech leaders, Facebook had one pejorative adjective in its top 100 in 2015–2016: “controversial.” In 2017 and 2018, the adjective “fake” ranked in the top 10 for Facebook, followed by “Russian,” “alleged,” “critical,” “Russian-linked,” “false,” “leaked,” and “racist,” all of which ranked in the top 100 adjectives. Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft do not have a single pejorative noun or adjective on their lists. Twitter has two nouns on its list that may or may not imply brand issues: “Trump” and “bots.” The study was conducted using the News on the Web (NOW) corpus at Brigham Young University. The top 10 US sources in the corpus, ranked by number of words, are Huffington Post, NPR, CNN, The Atlantic, TIME, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Slate, USA Today, and ABC News. Despite all the political fallout, Facebook continues to go about

    But are they still popular? In an important sense, the evidence would suggest yes in so far as that neither user growth nor engagement rates seem to be in decline. Does this behavioural popularity co-exist with an affection for the brands themselves? I’d love to know of any research on this if readers have encountered it. But what seems clear is that continued use can co-exist with a pervasive sense that what is being used is not trustworthy. This seems like a potent psychic mix to throw into the already strange relationship which many of us have with these platforms.

  • Mark 8:00 pm on February 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: amplificationitis, , platform optimisation, Social Media   

    How growth hacking is leading to a pandemic of amplification-itis on social media platforms 

    One of my obsessions in the last year has been how firms seeking to optimise their platforms influence user behaviour in the process. On one level, influencing users in this way is the goal, as real time data allows continuous optimisation to increase user engagement i.e. encouraging users to engage with more content, spend longer on the platform and return more frequently. But on another level, the growth hacking methodologies which dominate this activity produce unintended consequences. The approach is described here in Roger McNamee’s Zucked online 1190:

    From late 2012 to 2017, Facebook perfected growth hacking. The company experimented constantly with algorithms, new data types, and small changes in design, measuring everything. Every action a user took gave Facebook a better understanding of that user—and of that user’s friends—enabling the company to make tiny improvements in the “user experience” every day, which is to say they got better at manipulating the attention of users. The goal of growth hacking is to generate more revenue and profits, and at Facebook those metrics blocked out all other considerations.

    In terms of mapping the contours of user behaviour, the metrics available to platforms are sophisticated. But from a hermeneutical point of view, they are a remarkably crude instrument. What matters to the growth hacker using these tools is the accumulation of attention, not how it is deployed. In my recent work, I’ve offered the idea of amplification-itis to make sense of where this can lead: a condition in which pursuit of online popularity becomes an end in itself, pursued through an overriding concern with how widely what you shares circulates on a platform.

    This is something which there would always be a possibility of catching simply because human agents have a generic concern for social standing. But growth hacking produces conditions which incubate amplification-itis in an unprecedented way and it has spread to the status of a pandemic. Hence Twitter’s recent concern with ‘conversational health’ and introduction of Terms of Services changes which clamp down on some of the behaviours this condition can give rise to. They’ve recognised the harm which the pursuit of amplification as an end in itself causes, with its tendency to undermine the reasons why people use the platform in the first place. But do they recognise how their own activity has lead it to spread as widely and as virulently as it has?

    • Patrick Ainley 5:55 pm on February 28, 2019 Permalink

      Have you read Shoshana Zuboff’s ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’? I would be interested in your (re)view if so.

    • Mark 3:03 pm on March 1, 2019 Permalink

      just wrote a quick post! Still only 15% of the way through. You?

  • Mark 8:53 pm on February 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Social Media   

    Mark Fisher on using social media rather than being used by it 

    Image-1-4“In sum, the obsession with the web, its monopolisation of any idea of the new, has served capitalist realism rather than undermined it. Which does not mean, naturally, that we should abandon the web, only that we should find out how to develop a more instrumental relationship with it. Put simply, we should use it – as a means of dissemination, communication and distribution – but not live inside it. The problem is that this goes against the tendencies of handhelds. We all recognise the by now cliched image of a train carriage full of people pecking at their tiny screens, but have we really registered how miserable this really is, and how much it suits capital for these pockets of socialisation to be closed down?” – Mark Fisher, Abandon hope (summer is coming) 

  • Mark 4:44 pm on January 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: research workflow, Social Media,   

    Why have generic, popular services proved so enticing for digital academics? From 2011 to 2019 

    My notes on Rowlands, I., Nicholas, D., Russell, B., Canty, N., & Watkinson, A. (2011). Social media use in the research workflow. Learned Publishing, 24(3), 183-195.

    I was fascinated to stumble across this paper from 2011 which I’d somehow managed to miss in the past, reporting on a project funded by Emerald investigating social media use amongst academics. The authors reflect on what they see as a recent change in scholarly attitudes, noting that “[o]nce things change in the digital world they change unbelievably quickly. As they write elsewhere on pg 183:

    Researchers appear to have moved from outright scepticism, to pockets of scepticism to virtually no scepticism at all. Whereas it was cool to rubbish social media three years ago, it now appears to be cool to listen and praise

    The research used a survey sent through a number of participating publishers (Wiley, Taylor & Francis, Emerald, Kluwer, and CUP) supplemented by an e-mail to staff across UCL and delegates at the 2010 Charleston Conference. They received 4,012 responses out of nearly 10,000 invitations to participate, including publishers, librarians and university administrators. Responses were received from 215 countries and included 1,923 respondents who were actively using social media. These were compared to a contrast group of 491 researchers who had yet to use social media, with questions raised by the research further explored through a focus group, but the relevant methodological details for either group are confusingly absent from the paper.

    They asked about eight categories of tool: social networking; blogging; microblogging; collaborative authoring tools for sharing and editing documents; social tagging and bookmarking; scheduling and meeting tools; conferencing; image or video sharing. What now seem like the most obvious examples of social media figure relatively marginally amongst their uses: 27% used social networking tools, 23.2% used imager video sharing tools, 14.6% blogged, 9.2% microblogged and 8.9% used social book marking services (pg 185). It’s interesting to note that 63% used tools in only one or two of the eight categories they inquired into, with a tiny few using 6 (2.6%), 7 (1%) or 8 (0.7%) (pg 186). Blogging/microblogging and Social networking/microblogging were the two most common pairings of tools by researchers. Interestingly, they found that men tended to have a stronger preference for LinkedIn over other social networking services and younger respondents preferred Facebook to LinkedIn.

    They note that familiar brands dominate the lists within each category, what they describe as “generic, popular services” on pg 186, speculating that there might be a market niche for much specialised tools designed for academics in the future. It’s interesting to theorise about why this might be so: they are familiar, widely used, easy to pick up, come with an existing social network and have the promise of access to a much broader audience beyond that network. As they put it later in the paper, these are tools which are “generally very intuitive and require little or no third-party maintenance” (pg 191). As they put it on pg 194, researchers are demonstrably drawn to these tools and “it is worth investing time in these mass market tools as their research colleagues worldwide are committing to the same tools”. They stress this point again in the conclusion: researchers are “largely appropriating generic tools rather than using specialist or custom-built solutions and both publishers and librarians need to adapt to this reality”.

    Scientists were the biggest users, something which they suggest can be partly explained by the team structures within which they work. It would be interesting to speculate whether these relatively minor divergences (e.g. 95% of earth science respondents vs 84% of social science respondents) might have been closed as digital social scientists have ‘caught’ up. Younger respondents were more likely to use microblogging, social tagging, and bookmarking, though they caution against age-based interpretations of social media uptake, suggesting that the significant difference is the “passion exhibited for social media by the young” rather than their choice of tools as such (pg 188). It’s important to meet people where they are and it might be more effective, as in their example, participating in Facebook communities than creating their own branded spaces.

    To make sense of the implications for the research process, they identify seven stages while noting these are analytical constructs which simplify the messy reality of research: identifying research opportunities, finding collaborators, securing support, reviewing the literature, collecting research data, analysing research data, disseminating findings, and finally managing the research process (pg 190). Their findings provide some reason to believe that social media tends to  be used across these categories, rather than being confined to any particular one. Their findings on perceived benefits amongst these users are very interesting, presented on pg 192:

    Social media was used to compliment existing forms of dissemination, rather than displace them. It was interesting that when it came to perceived obstacles, a lack of clarity over the precise benefits was most pronounced; while many early adopters discovered the benefits “through personal curiosity, and trial and error” the fact these weren’t clear to others hindered their possible adoption (pg 192).

  • Mark 11:37 am on December 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , inger mewburn, , , Social Media, social media phd, , , Tyler shores   

    Social Media and Doing a PhD: what do you need to know? 

    I organised a Sociological Review workshop at the weekend with Jenny Thatcher, Pat Thomson and Inger Mewburn. I’m sufficiently snowed under at the moment that I don’t have the time/energy to reflect on it properly but here’s a sneak preview of the graphic produced by Julia Hayes (below), links to live blogging by Tyler Shores below and live tweeting by Zoe Walshe on the #socialmediaphd hashtag. I’ve also attached some photos of the charts participants produced which I want to come back to later and think about properly.

    Live-blogging: Academics as social media curators

    Live-blogging: Social Media and Doing a PhD — Problems and Opportunities

    Live-blogging: Thesis Whisperer, Academic blogging, and social media

    Live-blogging: Pat Thomson, Academic blogging, and social media

    Live-blogging: Mark Carrigan and Academic blogging and social media

    Live-blogging: Social Media and Doing a PhD, What Do you Need to Know


  • Mark 11:36 am on November 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bullying, , online speech, Social Media, ,   

    Who’s a Bully? Civility, Authoritarianism, and Power in the Contemporary Academy 

    This is the most enticing call for papers I’ve seen in ages. My promise to focus exclusively on my (still horribly unfinished) books for the foreseeable future is getting severely tested:

    Who’s a Bully? Civility, Authoritarianism, and Power in the Contemporary Academy

    For its next volume, scheduled for publication in fall 2019, the AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom seeks original, scholarly articles that consider how “bullying” is implicated in conflicts taking place around discourses of civility and academic freedom. How do admonitions of “civility” operate along lines of power? How do authoritarian cultural and political formations impact practices of academic freedom? We will consider any essay on the topic of academic freedom but are especially interested in the following:

    • Precarity, identity, and labor: How do discourses of civility operate in terms of social and labor hierarchies in the university? How do such conflicts travel along lines of race, class, gender, national origins, and sexuality? How does the increased precarity of academic labor effect issues of civility and power for students, administrators, faculty, and staff? How are these issues related to struggles over “sanctuary campuses”?
    • Campus discourse: What is the relationship between “civility” and academic freedom in the classroom, administration, and campus in general? Why are colleges and universities real and imagined sites for broader issues of civil comportment? How do conflicts around “civility” and power impact workplace democracy and faculty governance? How do these issues extend to K–12 education?
    • Globalization: What are the challenges for academic freedom in an era of globalization? How does the rise of popular and governmental authoritarianism affect academic freedom? Are conflicts around civility and power transnational? How might international solidarity movements respond to these challenges?
    • Social media and communications: How is social media an arena for conflicts around “civility” and power, and how does that impact academic freedom? How do these conflicts take shape in libraries and archives? How does the proliferation of university policies around the use of technology enact questions of civility and power?
    • Private consulting and university discourse: The rise of private educational consulting firms and their use by university and college administrations brings corporate discourse into key institutional decisions. This raises questions of power and civility from actors often not publicly represented in governance processes. How does corporate discourse impact questions of academic freedom?

    Electronic submissions of no more than 8,000 words should be sent to jaf@aaup.org by March 1, 2019, and must include an abstract of about 150 words. We welcome submissions by any and all faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars. If you have any questions, contact me at rbuff@uwm.edu.

    While this is an academic journal with submissions subject to peer review, we welcome innovative and journalistic prose styles. The journal uses the seventeenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, and authors should anticipate that, if an article is accepted for publication, it will need to be put into Chicago style. Read more about the Journal.

  • Mark 5:24 pm on November 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , frustration, , Paulo Freire, Social Media, tolerance   

    Social media and the (im)possibility of tolerance as an epistemic virtue 

    In the last public interview with Paulo Freire, he talks about tolerance as the means through which we realise the “the rich possibility of doing things and learning different things with different people”. Social media can provoke the curiosity Freire talks about, exposing us to a universe of difference but it also often generates irritation in the face of that difference, inclining us to dismiss rather than understand.

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