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For academic professionals or students, social media can provide a range of benefits that change and develop as social media platforms and associated technology continues to evolve. In this article we will explore the three core benefits: connection, communication and collaboration.
Social media is widely used by individuals and organisations across various sectors. In academia, social media usage is becoming increasingly common due to its potential to bring academic audiences together, be they educators, researchers, students, or others with an interest in academic discussion.
Each social media platform serves different purposes and often focuses on different types of content. While these purposes often overlap, some key uses are evident:
- Video sharing platforms – typically instructional or observational content
- Online discussions – can encourage dialogue including responding to policy change and sharing research as well as building community
- Blogs – an effective and accessible way to share information, including scholarship and research
- Synchronous access – includes live broadcasts such as video and podcasts
Thus, taking a multifaced view of social media enables academics to bring different strands together for different purposes across one or multiple platforms. Let’s explore three core benefits: connection, collaboration and communication.
Social media connects members of the academic community across the world through shared profiles, and shared research. If you haven’t yet created a profile, or if you’re only just joining the online academic community, social media is an effective way to connect with others who might share your research interests.
You may notice that on most professional body and academic institution websites that both existing and prospective members are encouraged to connect through social media in order to develop the community. If your own professional profile is visible on social media, others in related academic communities will come to know about your work and potentially broaden your professional network.
The opportunity to collaborate on research, assignments or other projects is another benefit of using social media. For some individuals, incorporating professional and academic use of social media into their work is very straightforward. For instance, sharing a document and commenting on it with others in a work or study team is possible in a few clicks or taps on a screen.
Academic research projects can not only be shared or publicised, but researchers can put out a call for fellow researchers or participants. Social media can also be used creatively to support building a student community through set tasks at a conference or workshop, or as part of a course of study.
Connection and collaboration are made possible through the communicative power of social media. Whomever you are hoping to connect or collaborate with, the wide range of social media tools and platforms enables you to communicate with peers, learn new things and share ideas.