Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology at Royal Roads University

What do scholars do on Twitter?

Posted on October 24th, by George Veletsianos in my research, NPS, online learning, open, papers, scholarship. 7 comments

I have just had an article published with the Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, entitled Higher education scholars’ participation and practices on Twitter. The paper focuses on a qualitative analysis of 45 scholars’ (anonymized and edited) tweets to acquire a deep meaning of practice, and is part of my research into Networked Participatory Scholarship. Those of you interested in how faculty members use social media, the relationship between social media and identity, digital scholarship, scholarly use of online networks, and the rise of the digital scholar, may find this worthwhile.

Citation and link to pdf: Veletsianos, G. (2012). Higher Education Scholars’ Participation and Practices on Twitter. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 28(4), 336-349.

Twitter bird logo icon illustrationIf you have been participating on Twitter for a while, some of the findings won’t be surprising, but the paper can serve as a starting point for deeper conversations on the why and how social media is used by scholars, academics, and faculty members. Nonetheless, interesting implications to point out include the following:

“Even though social networking technologies in general were developed for purposes unrelated to education, they have been co-opted and repurposed by scholars, in part, to satisfy educational and scholarly pursuits.”

“Is Twitter fostering more social opportunities and community-oriented approaches to education and scholarly participation? Or, do the individuals who espouse these kinds of beliefs happen to make use of Twitter for scholarly pursuits?”

“Are scholars altruistically sharing information for the benefit of the community in which they belong? Or, is information sharing a self-serving activity? Are scholars sharing information in order to assist the profession grow intellectually, or are they attempting to develop a ‘brand’ around themselves?”

“Twitter is often dismissed as a platform of meaningless soliloquies and dull updates…Rather than representing meaningless chatter, [Twitter] updates may introduce opportunities to explore shared interests, experiences, goals, mindsets, and life dispositions/aspirations.”

The themes relating to participation and practices highlighted in the paper are the following: Scholars participating on Twitter (1) shared information, resources, and media relating to their professional practice; (2) shared information about their classroom and their students; (3) requested assistance from and offered suggestions to others; (4) engaged in social commentary; (5) engaged in digital identity and impression management; (6) sought to network and make connections with others; and (7) highlighted their participation in online networks other than Twitter.

Enjoy, and if you have any input, I would love to hear it!

7 thoughts on “What do scholars do on Twitter?

  1. Hi George,

    congratulations for your two just published articles and good luck for your presentation at OpenEd 2011!
    I have already got the paper you co-authored with Kimmons for Computers and Education, but I can’t download this one. It appears this message: Nothing found here: An error occured (404)

    Many thanks for your help. I will give you some feedback as soon as possible.


  2. Congratulations George,

    I’m incorporating some of your work into an assignment I’m writing today, due next week, it’s always good to have the most up-to-date references you can find!

    One of the advantages to the new openness found on Twitter, with academics that engage in the way that you do, is that what would normally take months and even years to go through the publication cycle is published almost as soon as it is complete.

    The other thing is the conversation that surrounds whatever you are doing informs scholarly practice. What I’m learning is that the deeper you critically reflect and hunt for the assumptions that shape your thinking, the more closely you can bring your practice into constructive alignment.

    I had no trouble with the link, I also appreciate the fact that the PDF contained full metadata, making my task of citing it much easier!

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