Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Handbook of social media for researchers and supervisors

Social media - A guide for researchers Remember Social media: A guide for researchers (2011)? Well now there's another one, Handbook of social media for researchers and supervisors (2012).
"The goal of this handbook is to assist researchers and their supervisors to adopt and use social media tools in the service of their research, and, in particular, in engaging in the discourse of research. The handbook presents an innovative suite of resources for developing and maintaining a social media strategy for research dialogues. This handbook has been written for:
- Postgraduate researchers (PGRs) and early career researchers who want to learn about the role of social media in research dialogues
- Supervisors and managers who want to expand their understanding of what social media offers, and the risks and opportunities involved.
The handbook makes extensive use of the examples of social media use amongst researchers and supervisors. The handbook has been written in a way that each section stands on its own as much as possible and therefore, it is not necessary to read the handbook from cover to cover."

If you're not planning to read it from cover to cover, let me summarize for you:

"Email is the most important tool"
Not social then, within any accepted definition. Not open. Not owned - or is it?

"Researchers introduce each other to technologies"
It's all about peer networks (and potential competitive advantage), not training. Which means that Small Worlds was on the right track (but still failed).

"Sometimes supervisors block the adoption of technologies"
The fish rots from the head downwards.

"Researchers choose technologies and adapt as per their supervisors’ preferences"
Smart move in conservative academia.

"some researchers in the survey mentioned to us that since they started using Twitter, they are not using RSS aggregators as much as before"
True. Depressing.

"Preference for traditional mailing lists"
Skype and telephone also popular. Not social, sigh.

"Space for reflection"

This report is very good in the sense of being comprehensive and an accurate snapshot of our current state, but it doesn't offer any real solutions as to the place of social in the research process. That's a question we all need to answer.

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