Findings from a Michigan State University professor suggest that academia hasn’t yet embraced social media and won’t, without university policies that provide some sort of incentive. Credit: Jason Howie on Flickr (Creative Commons License).
If you’ve embraced social media, and regularly check Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, congratulations! You’re part of the 72 percent of all Internet users who are active in online social networks. (And if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has his way, that number will soon grow.)
And if you’ve shunned it? Well, you’re still not alone—even if your friends and colleagues might suggest otherwise.
A new paper by a Michigan State University (MSU) researcher suggests that university scholars have all-but-ignored social networks in distributing scientific findings and connecting with their tweet-happy, tech-savvy students.
What’s a widely used channel for distributing content and making connections online in the business world just hasn’t taken hold in academia—a concern, according to Christine Greenhow, assistant professor at MSU’s College of Education, because of a growing push to increase access to publicly funded research.
“Only a minority of university researchers are using free and widely available social media to get their results and published insights out and into the hands of the public, even though the mission of public universities is to create knowledge that makes a difference in people’s lives,” Greenhow says in an MSUToday report. “Simply put, there’s not much tweeting from the ivory tower.”
According to Greenhow, faculty are just beginning to dip their toes in the social media waters in order to share their findings. She further suggests that higher ed won’t see widespread adoption unless “universities adopt policies for promotion and tenure that reward these practices.”
Her survey of 1,600 researchers found that only 15 percent use Twitter, 28 percent use YouTube, and 39 percent use Facebook to connect with collaborators and distribute their work—not to engage or educate their students.
“Academia is not serving as a model of social media use or preparing future faculty to do this,” says Greenhow, who believes the issue “is at the heart of largest discussions regarding accessibility, equal rights to education, transparency, and accountability.”
The paper, appearing online in the British Journal of Educational Technology and co-authored by MSU doctoral student Benjamin Gleason, is “Social scholarship: Reconsidering scholarly practices in the age of social media,” (DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12150).
How about you?
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Need a little extra push? Check out this blog post on the top five social media platforms for research development or this post from AAAS on sharing your science on social media. A good first step (think the floaties that keep your head above water when you’re just learning to swim) is to create a LinkedIn profile and follow ACerS or participate in our LinkedIn group discussions. Share your work, connect with colleagues, and tap in to the top Ceramic Tech Today news of the day.
Still not convinced? That’s okay, too. You can receive email updates from us by subscribing to Ceramic Tech Today or, at the very least, have a good laugh at the comic below.
Feature Image Credit: Jason Howie on Flickr (Creative Commons License).