Academics and Social Networking Sites: Benefits, Problems and Tensions in Professional Engagement with Online Networking

Jordan, Katy and Weller, Martin (2018). Academics and Social Networking Sites: Benefits, Problems and Tensions in Professional Engagement with Online Networking. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2018(1), article no. 1.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/jime.448

Abstract

The web has had a profound effect on the ways people interact, with online social networks arguably playing an important role in changing or augmenting how we connect with others. However, uptake of online social networking by the academic community varies, and needs to be understood. This paper presents an independent, novel analysis of a large-scale dataset published by Nature Publishing Group detailing the results of a survey about academics use of online social networking services. An open coding approach was used to analyse 480 previously unused text responses. The analysis revealed a wide range of benefits and also problems associated with engaging with online networking, and tensions within this. The analysis provides further insight into the nuances of uptake, by exploring clusters of co-reported benefits and problems within the qualitative analysis. The findings will help move forward current debates surrounding social media use by academics from being viewed in solely beneficial terms, towards an understanding of the problems and tensions that arise through academic work online.

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