Use of blogs, Twitter and Facebook by PhD Students for Scholarly Communication: A UK study
Yimei Zhu & Rob Procter
In: 2012 China New Media Communication Association Annual Conference, Macao International Conference ; 06 Dec 2012-08 Dec 2012; Macao . 2012.
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This study explores scholarly use of social media by PhD researchers through mix-methods of qualitative interviews, participant observation and content analysis of a case study #phdchat. We found that blogs, Twitter and Facebook are among the most popular social media tools being used by researchers. They can be used by PhD students and early career researchers to benefit their scholarly communication practice, promote their professional profiles, disseminate their work to a wider audience quickly, and gain feedbacks and support from peers across the globe. There are also difficulties and potential problems such as the lack of standards and incentives, the risks of idea being pinched and plagiarism, lack of knowledge of how to start and maintain using social media tool and the potential huge amount of time and effort needed to invest. We found that respondents link different social media tools together to maximise the impact of the content disseminated, as well as to create a personal learning network (PLN) connected with people across the globe. For privacy issue, the participants use different identities on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is usually set as private with access for friends only and Twitter is public and used for professional purposes. However, Facebook page and groups can be public which are used to build a community and disseminate information without revealing much content from individual member’s personal profile.