Sogiologicalimagination.org have some advice for academics using Twitter. Maybe some of these points apply more generally to Twitter use. I have to admit that I’ve never started up a Twitter account. I’ve observed what’s been going on on there for my research, but I’ve never found any motivation to start up a feed. I know that it would help this blog, by increasing its visibility across media and by guiding people to new posts etc (in fact visibility seems to be the aim of these new media forms). But I’ve always got this concern about the inescapability of being overly connected and of the time consuming nature of the ‘free labour’, as Tiziana Terranova calls it, that is required by social media. The advantage of my blog is that I can post things when it suits me, it’s more easily archived and maintained, and it can be more sporadic. The thing with Twitter is that it seems to be more of a continual commitment and that content is more ephemeral. So, I’ve avoided Twitter so far but I can see that it might actually be helpful for the visibility of my work. I can see that when a post on here gets tweeted by a reader it often gets a higher level of attention. This suggests that there is some advantage in using it. I’m going to continue to resist for the time being at least. My caution was probably a result of some of the early research I did on social media as it was beginning to take off in 2006-2007.
I might post some reflections on these early articles on here at some point. It might be time to reflect back on some of the points I raised and to look at how these things have changed in the 6-7 years since. I’ve just looked on the Sociological Research Online site and my co-authored piece on the sociology of Web 2.0 has been viewed 3955 times in the last 8 weeks (the most viewed pages there are constantly updated to show views in the previous 8 weeks). That’s a bit of a surprise as it was published 5 years ago and the descriptions are probably quite out of date. I’m wondering if it might be being used as a kind of historical document to show how things have changed in social media. Maybe some of the issues we raised still stand. If I get chance I might write a post reflecting back on the points in that article.