Your voice here: social media for academics, objections edition.

“Twitter, huh?  That’s just a bunch of people talking about what they had for lunch, right?”  *headdesk*

Hands up if you’ve heard that one.  Or any of the other clichéd objections to the use of social media by academics:

  • “I could be writing papers instead of fooling around on Twitter!”
  • “I talk to too many people already.  Why would I go looking for more?”
  • “It’s all just noise.”
  • “I don’t want to have to deal with uninformed commenters.”
  • And many, many more.

If you’re reading this, then (1) you’re as likely as not to be an academic using social media, and (2) you’ve probably heard all of this before.  I know that I have;  in recent months, participating in events as the ‘social media guy’ on the panel at the networking event or the media briefing, I’ve heard all of these objections and more.  I’m comfortable addressing most of them myself, but in one particular area, I’ve run into trouble:  seniority.  I don’t have it, and at times, my counter-arguments and explanations have fallen flat when I’m arguing in public with senior faculty who can, simply put, pull rank. This motivated me to pitch a piece for The Conversation to my UNSW colleague and all-around-good-guy Rob Brooks, in which we would answer the worst of these objections from the perspective of both an early-career researcher (me) as well as someone more established (Rob).  Along the way, we picked up that beard-slinging1 new member of the tenure track, Mike Kasumovic, to add some weight to the middle ground between the two of us.

What does this mean for you?  Well, in a fashion similar to when I wrote my last talk on the subject (which resulted in this), we’d like to open it up to participation from all of you social-media-wielding academics out there.  What objections have you heard?  Do you have any snappy comebacks, detailed counter-arguments, or awesome zingers?  Drop a comment below or write one of those tweet-y things on the InterTweets (@BehavEcology), and we’ll include the best of what we get in our post.  Note that this piece will be going into a venue where word counts matter, so concision is a virtue if you want a shot at being included.  Otherwise, feel free to rant at length!

  1. He freely admits that this is his most valued award.