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8 Reasons why academics should be on social media

Did you start a blog or Twitter account and post a couple of things before deciding you didn’t want to keep up with it anymore? Or, maybe you are still on the fence whether you should take the time to create a blog or Twitter account? Either way, more and more academics are getting involved on social media and seeing the rewards. There are more reasons listed below, but these are what we’ve determined are most important. So here you go, 8 reasons why academics should be on social media (in no particular order):

  1. Enhance your research
    Openly blogging and tweeting about your research allows for others to ask questions, challenge your findings, offer suggestions, and point out possible issues.
  2. Collaboration
    It’s not always easy to meet new people or grow your professional network, especially outside of your department. Thanks to Twitter and blogging, meeting others and networking becomes so much easier. The conversation starts via these platforms but can grow to emails, phone calls, and even in-person meetings. You may even find your next coauthor via Twitter.
  3. Share your expertise
    Part of being an academic is sharing your expertise with others. Social media allows you to spread that knowledge to a wider audience. You may even inspire someone to become interested in your field. Another bonus: people will start recognizing you as an expert in your field and may turn to you for advice or ask you to be a coauthor on their article.
  4. Increase your impact
    One study found that articles that were highly tweeted were 11 times more likely to be cited than their less-tweeted counterparts. Melissa Terras, a Professor of Digital Humanities at the University College London, found that by blogging and tweeting about her articles they went from being downloaded once or twice to seventy times within 24 hours of doing so.
  5. Support
    How often have you been in the depths of researching and writing only to wish you could share your experience and find others that empathize? Social media is a great outlet for sharing those experiences and having a support system to keep you on track, not to mention sane.
  6. Stay informed
    Twitter is a great way to stay informed with happenings/publications in your field that you may have otherwise not known about. That is to say, articles that have been published in lesser known journals, news releases, etc., that you would otherwise not see or not see as quickly.
  7. Build your personal brand
    What does your online reputation say about you? Are you creating impact that an employer would notice—for good or bad? In today’s digital era building your personal brand is a must. For academics, this means standing out amongst the crowd; which could lead to more and greater opportunities.
  8. Improve your writing
    Whether it’s getting into a writing routine or just refining your writing, blogging can help you. Make sure to allow for comments (even if you moderate them before hand) on your blog so that you can receive feedback that will help improve your writing. If your writing contains too much jargon, your audience will tell you. If you’re trying to find your voice, blogging can help you form one.

Here are some helpful links for getting started setting up a blog and/or a Twitter account:

How to Create a Blog to Promote Your Academic Work (TAA Members Only—Join TAA)
Tutorial – Twitter 101: Learn how to create an account, customize your profile, and start tweeting