Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs are being used by researchers to recruit survey participants, gather data, disseminate findings, and/or network with other researchers. New social media platforms and tools are regularly impacting how researchers communicate and collaborate.
We’ve collected several resources for researchers, both academic and community-based, that provide some guidance to this evolving area. As with all resources, you’ll need to approach them from the lens of your work and make your own assessment as to whether they will be useful for you. As social media platforms and trends constantly evolve, it’s always helpful to search for the most up-to-date information on using social media for research.
Check out PAN’s Social Media Guidelines.
GENERAL SOCIAL MEDIA RESOURCES
Ever wonder who actually uses social media? This survey by the Pew Research Center provides an overview of who is using social media, including a breakdown by social media service. They release an updated report every year.
SOCIAL MEDIA USE in RESEARCH GUIDES
Social media guide for authors (2021) – Oxford University Press describes the essentials of using different social media platforms and tools to disseminate your ideas or connect with fellow researchers. They outline how the most popular platforms work and explain how to use popular tools like hashtags.
Best Practices for Using Social Media to Optimize and Disseminate Research (2021) – A video and transcript from Johns Hopkins University’s Foundations of Health Equity Research Coursera course. This covers the benefits, tools, and best practices of using social media to disseminate your research.
General Research Ethics Board (GREB) Social Media Guidelines (2022) – Queen’s university’s guide to using social media for recruiting, communicating, or gathering data for your research. This can help you navigate privacy concerns when you communicate with peer researchers over Facebook, look at hashtags as part of your research, recruit on social media platforms, or more.
COMMENTARIES OR BLOG POSTS
#AcademicTwitter (May 2020) – With the increasing benefits and challenges of using Twitter in the age of COVID-19, this blog post from the American Psychological Association explains the basics. It covers how you can start an account, post what you care about, find academic community, and avoid common pitfalls.
The A to Z of social media for academia (March 10, 2017) – This article from Times Higher Education gives a quick guide of social media platforms, online tools, and blogging websites that can be useful to academics. With tools and websites changing all of the time, this can provide a quick explanation or reminder of how a tool works.
Going solo or joining someone else’s show: Multi-author blogs as a way to maximise your time and exposure (Feb 18, 2013) – With the practice of academic blogging becoming increasingly mainstream, it is important to emphasise the diversity of blog formats out there, from personal blogs to multi-author blogs run by institutions or around certain themes. In this post on the London School of Economic’s award winning knowledge translation blog, Alex Marsh discusses the differences and finds that the commitment of time and energy associated with an individual blog can be enough to deter some people and that a good way to ease into a new blogging routine is by making occasional contributions to a multi-author blog.
The terror of tweeting: social medium or academic message? (February 5, 2013) – In this article on The Guardian’s Higher Education Network blog, Claire Warwick explores how the mismatch between some academics and social media is not so much fear of technology, but concerns over losing control. She suggests sparing them the beginner’s guide because over simplified advice on how to communicate their research may simply insult them.