Social Media

Stanford University (@Stanford)
4/8/12 11:32 PM
“I’ve been asking myself […] how to use social media intelligently, humanely, and above all, mindfully,” –

Rheingold calls for new literacy in social media


Author and technology commentator Howard Rheingold discussed five new ‘literacies’ necessary for life with social media: attention, participation, collaboration, critical consumption and network know-how. (ALISA ROYER/The Stanford Daily)

“You have to understand that everything you do [on the Internet] now is going to be there forever, is going to be searchable, is going to be reproducible and is going to be broadcast around the world,” said Howard Rheingold during a discussion about his latest book, “Net Smart: How to Thrive Online” at Braun Auditorium Thursday evening.


A database of 196 social media policies

ResearchImpact (@researchimpact)
4/3/12 12:29 PM
RT @ernestopriego: A database of 196 social media policies…(@atomickitty)


Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
2/4/12 5:35 AM
The pros and cons of social media in education –


How colleges and universities have embraced social media

Infographic Thumbnail: College adoption of social media

by Loreal Lynch | August 29, 2011

Universities are often at the forefront of intellectual thought, but they have been known to lag behind the rest of society when it comes to learning and adopting new technologies. Such has certainly been the case with social media technologies. In fact, so reluctant were universities to adopt social media on campus that in 2007, only about half of colleges reported social media usage.

According to a recent report from the University of Massachusetts, however, colleges have finally caught on; in 2011, 100% of universities are using at least one form of social media–and they are reporting that it’s now an important and successful piece of their outreach efforts. Check out the below infographic to learn more about how colleges have been slowly going social.

[RELATED: 8 things colleges have been slow to adopt (SLIDESHOW)]

Infographic: University adoption of social media

Behance (@Behance)
03/07/2011 02:12
Is your chatting interface a little dull? The “FunChat” design from @J3Concepts adds color, characters, personality:


Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
23/06/2011 15:33
How the World Uses Social Networks [INFOGRAPHIC] –

Social Media Infographics

Social Media Infographics

Internet and social media in 36 markets

Internet and social media in 36 markets


ResearchImpact (@researchimpact)
31/05/2011 13:30
Gaffield #Congress11: Digital triangle: = digital technologies, content & literacies with people at the centre


ResearchImpact (@researchimpact)
07/06/2011 22:39
Commented on @dupuisj: New post: Around the Web: Scholarship in the Public Eye: The Case for Social Media: (@timeshighered)

20/06/2011 10:11
Trying to convince an academic to tweet? @deevybee has the perfect guide:

A gentle introduction to Twitter for the apprehensive academic

If I tell people I’m on Twitter, I tend to get one of three reactions:

a) Isn’t it all about what Lady Gaga had for breakfast?
b) How do you find the time?
c) You?!!! (Implication: Twitter is for hip juveniles rather than fossilised academics)
This is unfortunate, because Twitter is a valuable resource for academics. If you’re allowing  inaccurate stereotypes to deter you, you’re missing out.
First of all, you have to understand what Twitter is. It’s totally different from email, and more like a news broadcast. People all over the world are continually emitting tweets (very short messages) any of which can be viewed by anyone. You select what you want to attend to. There are two ways of doing this. The default method is to ‘follow’ particular people or organisations who tweet. Their tweets then appear in your timeline, which appears as a scrolling list when you open your Twitter page. The other method is to search for tweets that include a particular word: for instance, if you type ‘neuroscience’ into the search box at the top of the page, you’ll see all the tweets in the twitterverse that include that word, starting with the most recent.
If you want news about Lady Gaga, there’s plenty out there. But if you want information of a different kind, you can follow organisations such as the Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust, Guardian Science, the New York Times, Nature, etc. etc. Most scientific organisations, newspapers, and science journals are on Twitter, and by following them you have an up-to-date news stream about their activities.
It’s OK to be a purely passive user of Twitter, just following people who interest you. In the circles I move in, a high proportion of tweets are messages pointing to a weblink, which may be a newspaper or journal article or a blog. This is where Twitter is such a useful resource for the academic: if you follow those who share your academic interests, they will point you to interesting stuff. When I first joined up I was impressed to find that within the first few days, I’d been directed to two new papers in my field that were very relevant to my work and that I hadn’t known about.

Many people remain as passive users, but you’ll get much more out of Twitter if you use it actively and emit your own tweets. Written an interesting paper? Starting up a blog? Twitter is a great way of informing people, but there’s a catch: you need to have followers, a topic I discuss more below.

How do I get started?
You can Google to find plenty of good guides to the mechanics of tweeting. See, for instance:
However, most of these are directed towards people who do have a keen interest in Lady Gaga’s breakfast, or who wish to use Twitter for business purposes. The suggestions here are to complement the ‘how to do it’ guides with advice geared towards academic users.
Signing up is dead easy: just follow the instructions at
You need a username. Keep it fairly short and avoid numbers or underlines: you want others to be able to remember it and type it easily. You can be anonymous if you wish, but I’d not recommend it: you are more likely to have interesting interactions with others if they know who you are. A brief description of what you do and what your interests are will help kindred spirits discover you. You get the chance to select your avatar, a little picture that appears alongside your tweets. It’s a good idea to have something other than the default picture of an egg – if you don’t want a photo of yourself, you can pick something symbolic, but aim for something to give yourself a distinctive presence. If you want, though, you can start with the egg and change it later.
How do I decide who to follow?
I started out by following my old friend and colleague Sophie Scott, or @sophiescott as she is known on Twitter. We have similar interests and a similar sense of humour, and so the first thing I did was to see who she was following. You can check out someone’s followers by clicking on their username at the top of a tweet. You’ll see their profile on the right hand side, with an indication of how many followers they have, and who is following them. Further clicking lets you see who these people are, and read their recent tweets. So it’s easy to get an idea of whether you’d like to see their tweets on a regular basis: if yes, a single click allows you to follow them.
The people I follow divide mostly into (a) organisations/public media, such as those mentioned above; (b) academics who work in areas that interest me; (c) journalists and bloggers. Although I have friendly relationships with many of those I follow, I don’t use Twitter as a means of keeping up with friends – it’s too public and the short message format is not useful for that.
I suggest you start out by just identifying a few people that look interesting to follow, and see whether you enjoy the Twitter experience. My recommendation would be to keep the number of people you follow restricted to no more than around 100. Many people follow far more than this, but I like my twitterstream to move at a reasonably sedate pace.

Getting fed up with tweets from someone you’re following? You can just unfollow them. They don’t get a message about this, so you can do it without embarrassment.

Active tweeting and attracting followers
You can have most fun with Twitter if you tweet yourself. For the beginner, there is a major problem: if you emit a tweet, the only people who will see it are your followers, and at the outset you have no followers. You may have something very amusing to say, or a really interesting paper just published, but it’s like standing at the top of a cliff and shouting into the wind. To get started, it helps to either be well-known, or to have tweeting friends. You can look for friends and colleagues by clicking on the ‘who to follow’ button, and if you find they have a Twitter presence, send them an email with your usrname to let them know you are there. With luck they’ll follow you, and tell others about your presence. It’s only worth doing this, though, if they are active Twitter users with followers: lots of people sign up but never use Twitter.
You may also drum up followers by following others. This is where it is important not to be too secretive: if I get a new follower, I’ll see their name and the brief bio that comes along with it, and if they look interesting, I may check out what they’ve been tweeting to see if I want to follow them. Twitter etiquette does not require that you follow someone just because they follow you, but following someone is a way of indicating your presence to them.
Another way to draw your tweeting to people’s attention is to use hashtags in your tweets. These act as keywords and are just words with the hash sign attached at the front, such as #neuroscience or #psychology. People who are searching on these topics will find your tweets and may decide to follow you.
If you are sending interesting tweets, the message will spread around the twittersphere and you will gradually get a following. You may wonder how on earth you are supposed to generate those interesting tweets that will persuade people to follow you. You don’t always have to. You can act as a transmitter for other people’s interesting tweets, by using the Retweet button below the tweet. This will just resend the tweet to your followers, preceded by RT and your username.  
You should not despair if at first you don’t have many followers. Although it’s true that a famous name will attract followers in droves, there are plenty of people who aren’t famous, but who have hundreds or even thousands of followers just because they give good value. And at the end of the day, you should not get too hung up on follower numbers. The charm of Twitter is that it lets you reach out to communicate with people all over the globe whom you might otherwise never encounter: a handful of like-minded people who appreciate your tweets is more important than a horde of followers who seldom read your messages.
What about spam?
Many newbies are worried that they will get followed by odd people. That certainly will happen. But the nice thing is that it has no impact on you. I attracted lots of provocatively dressed pouting followers when I started out. But they can follow me as much as they like; they won’t affect my stream of incoming tweets unless I follow them back. Various unsavoury characters will appear as followers for a day or two and then drop away. They hope that by following you you’ll take notice of them and buy whatever product they are purveying, but you just ignore them and they go away. Twitter discourages users who simply see it as a marketing opportunity, and is set up so you can readily report people for spam if it looks like they are doing that, but mostly the only bad thing that happens is that you have a fleeting moment of excitement at gaining a new follower, only to be disappointed to find they are someone who sees you as a potential client.
The one place where you may get more intrusive spam is if you press the @Mentions button at the top of the screen. Now, instead of your usual stream of tweets by followers, you will see just those tweets that mention you by username, and these will not necessarily be by your followers. In general, if you get people mentioning you in tweets, this creates a warm glow that others are interested in your tweets, but there are people who will try to exploit this, and so you may find tweets that mention your name in a tweet to lure you in to clicking a link to their website. In my experience, these are very rare, and when they occur they are usually easy to spot: if you click on their username, you’ll see they’ve sent the same message to many others. You should just report them for spam.
What should I tweet?
Quite simply, tweet to others things you think will interest them. Looking at tweets by others should give you an idea of what makes for a good tweet. Some very famous people are hopeless tweeters, because they just describe the mundane details of their life. What I actually want are either amusing observations, or useful information. Some people use Twitter to record their stream of consciousness. Unless you’re James Joyce, this is very dull for everyone else, and just makes you look egotistical. Come to think of it, James Joyce would have been a disaster on Twitter.
When you start tweeting, the 140 character limit seems impossible, but you learn by experience.  If you want to include a link to a website in a tweet, you will almost certainly need to shorten it. There are various programs for doing this, e.g.
As mentioned above, if I read a tweet by someone that I think will interest my followers, I’ll retweet it. That’s a single click operation, one of the options given below each tweet. Retweeting is what makes Twitter such an effective communication medium: if an interesting message is retweeted by several people with many followers, who in turn retweet to their followers, it can rapidly spread all over the world.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll start to appreciate that tweets are a kind of currency; your status on Twitter is tied up with the extent to which you emit popular tweets. It is therefore as important to acknowledge the source of a good tweet as it is to reference an idea in a scientific article. If you use the retweet function, this happens automatically: the retweeted tweet will be marked RT and will show both your name and that of the originator. What’s a definite no-no is to copy someone else’s tweet and resend it without acknowledging the source. Etiquette is less clear on the extent to which one should send a tweet to thank others who promote one’s tweets. This may seem polite, but if over-used, it can descend into a rather irritating form of self-promotion –  in effect you are publicly drawing attention to the fact that others liked your tweet. A lot depends on how it’s done, but there’s a narrow line between being seen as courteous, and coming across as a self-congratulatory dick.
How much should you tweet? I’m more likely to unfollow someone who tweets too much rather than too little. Anyone who keeps repeating the same self-promotional message is quickly dropped from my list. If you have a blog or article you want to promote, it’s reasonable to plug it a few times on different days and at different times of day, to make sure the message gets out, but you’ll turn people off if you overdo it. If it’s interesting enough, your followers will do the work of promotion for you, by retweeting. On the other hand, there’s not much point in following someone who tweets less than once a week, unless their tweets are really something special.
Remember, Twitter is totally public. I can search for someone’s name and then look at all their tweets. I would therefore strongly advise against tweeting anything at all that you would not want your friends and colleagues to see, or that could be deemed defamatory. There is a Delete option you can use on tweets that you come to regret, but by the time you select it, your tweet could have been sent all around the world.

How do I find the time?

It’s a big mistake to think you have to read every tweet that appears in your stream. I just turn to Twitter when I need distraction or entertainment. So you really don’t need to spend very long on Twitter unless you want to. The difficulty is that what’s happening on Twitter is often more interesting that what’s happening in other areas of life, and it can become quite addictive for that reason. I usually resolve not to look at Twitter during the working day, especially if I have a paper to write or an analysis to run. But sometimes the resolve faulters.
Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
23/06/2011 10:05
5 business-friendly ways to get the most out Twitter –
Seeking to take Twitterbeyond a social phenomenon, its founders have lately set their sights on making it business-friendly as well. For marketers, this means new opportunities are opening up all the time.Twitter never seems to rule anything out. The company is philosophically opposed to banner ads, but has nevertheless dabbled with them in Japan. Likewise, it recently experimented with text ads in the U.S., but, according to Adam Bain, president of global revenue for Twitter, that doesn’t indicate much. “I wouldn’t read too much into it,” he says.The experiment has yielded some winning ad formats, Bain says. Chief among them are Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts. All comprise very new forms of advertising that leverage Twitter’s strengths. However, many marketers don’t seem to know what to make of the formats, or Twitter itself, for that matter. Taking that into account, here are some Twitter marketing guidelines for those who are making a move.Of course, you can easily create an account to tweet on behalf of your company, but read on for further advice to get the most out of the microblogging platform.


Portrait of the Scholar as Blogger

By Anamaria Dutceac Segesten October 14, 2010 11:00 pm EDT

I return to one of my favorite subjects, blogging in the academia, but this time with a focus not on the students, as in my previous post, but on the scholar herself. I believe that blogging may be a useful tool for those of us involved in the process of creating (and communicating) new knowledge.

How so? Because of the nature of blogging itself.

Blogging = Reading + Writing + Linking + Commenting

This concentrated definition (which I borrowed from Kosmopolito) summarizes very well the way blogs work. And this fits very well with the way scholars work as well, doesn’t it? We read or see or listen to other people’s work, be it in the news or at the movies or in academic journals. We react to these inputs usually by making a note (at least a mental one, to self) and then connect through references to others’ writing, which we implicitly comment on (think of the mandatory literature overviews of every book or article). Blogging functions not so differently from the way an academic article does. So if the two are so close, why bother?

Blogging has some unique qualities. I will enumerate them briefly:

  1. Blogs allow for timely reaction to events. They are a comment on things almost as they happen.
  2. Blogs are more creative as they have no “submission guidelines” to follow.
  3. Blogs allow for easy and fast cross-referencing and checking of sources through linking.
  4. Through links, bloggers can create and develop networks of writers with similar interests.
  5. Quick feedback is possible through the “comment” function.
  6. Comments foster open dialogue and the direct interaction between the author and readers.
  7. Communication beyond the narrow circle of academia is possible on the Internet.

Taking into account these great opportunities available for the 21st century academic, I wonder how many of us actually use them? Well, at least some. In her recently published PhD dissertation at Lund University, Sara Kjellberg discusses the functions of the academic blog. Included in her research were interviews with scholars from two fields of knowledge: physics and history. For both hard and soft sciences, she concludes that blogging is a useful way to communicate research results and to engage in conversations with other people who share one’s interest.

Among the blogs written by scholars, there are a couple that I very much enjoy reading. My choices reflect my areas of interest, and are included here just as proof of the existence of scholar bloggers and examples of how one can go about doing it in practice. As I am comfortable with several languages, they may appear somewhat strange to you at first, but not after you have tried Google Translate! In Swedish I like to check out Peter Englund’s blog. Englund is the Secretary of the Swedish Academy of Sciences that awards every year the Nobel Prize, and a respected historian and writer in his own right. In Romanian I read the blog of Vladimir Tismaneanu, professor at the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland. In English I often check the posts by Timothy Garton Ash on the “Comment is Free” section of the British daily The Guardian. Garton Ash is professor of history at University of Oxford, also active at Stanford University and as a consultant for various European bodies. Also in English, another blogger with spot-on writing (and a great dose of humor) is Sean Hanley, lecturer at University College, London.

Perhaps you realized that throughout this post I was avoiding the inevitable question: do I blog? Hmmm, I guess you know the answer. Not YET, but I will. Just give me some time to finish grading those exams, giving these lectures, going to the 3rd meeting of the day…

Some resources for those who might want to get going with their blog immediately:
Blogging: A short introduction for academics by Kosmopolito
I am a blogging researcher: Motivations for blogging in a scholarly context – Sara Kjellberg
On how to use hyperlinks (and the implications thereof) – Julien Frisch
A directory of academic blogs by discipline – The Academic Blog Portal

Anamaria writes from Lund, Sweden. She is one of the founding members of the editorial collective at University of Venus.

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