Over the past year, the use of social media and blogging for academic purposes has continued to grow rapidlyHere, Danielle Moran and Amy Mollett list a selection of their favourite guest posts from the blog, covering why academics might want to embrace social media, and how to measure this as impact.

In 2011, we saw a growth in the use of social media as a tool for research and dissemination by academics and reseachers. Our most popular guest posts of 2011 investigate the possibilities that social media presents, yet academics’ use of such services such as 140 character microblog service Twitter, continue to spur a sharply divided debate.

Here are a small selection of our most read social media blog posts from the last year.

As scholars undertake a great migration to online publishing, altmetrics stands to provide a measurement of twitter and other online activity.

Jason Priem wrote that while academia was the last profession to embrace social media his research showed a continued growth in the number of academics utilising Twitter to discuss literature, for teaching and to enrich conferences. Read Jason’s post in full here.


Running a successful academic blog can make you feel like a rockstar: authenticity and narrative are essential for forging your own identity.

Many PhD students are turning to blogs and social media for tips on writing a thesis. Running one such blog, Inger Mewburn of The Thesis Whisperer writes that determining your online identity, the authenticity of your voice and setting the correct narrative tone are all key to striking a chord with your audience and engaging in a very valuable research community. Read Inger’s post in full here.


Social media is inherently a system of peer evaluation and is changing the way scholars disseminate their research, raising questions about the way we evaluate academic authority.

Alfred Hermida argued that social media is, at its core, a system of peer evaluation where participation and engagement are recognised and rewarded through dynamic social interactions. He writes that social media can be seen as a constantly shifting system of peer evaluation, where our standing is based on the value we bring to the network. Read Alfred’s post in full here.  


Continual publishing across journals, blogs and social media maximises impact by increasing the size of the ‘academic footprint’.

In the concluding post of their ‘Cite or Site’ series, Pat Lockley and Mark Carrigan write that the tools used in continual publishing across blogs and social media provide accessible quantitative metrics which can be easily legitimised to measure impact. They write that it offers, analogously to the open-source movement, a collaborative and non-hierarchical alternative to existing models of intellectual production which may, potentially, lead to better outputs and a more rewarding working life. Read Pat and Mark’s post in full here.


Becoming a Networked Reseacher – using social media for research, and researcher development

Sarah-Louise Quinnell’s experience in being the first in her department to engage with social media and digital research methods to conduct her PhD research convinced her of the merits of social media which she sees as not the future of research, but the present. Read Sarah’s post in full here.


A guide to using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities.

How can Twitter, which limits users to 140 characters per tweet, have any relevance to universities and academia, where journal articles are 3,000 to 8,000 words long, and where books contain 80,000 words? Can anything of academic value ever be said in just 140 characters?

The Impact of Social Sciences team tried to answer these questions with an academic’s guide to using Twitter, and our lists of tweeting academics.

Read our guide in full here.

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