The role of Blogging and Twitter in Academic Research and the Broader Scientific Community

In his article, Tim Hitchcock discusses the importance of twitter and blogging in today’s academic research setting.  Hitchcock claims these platforms act to facilitate academic collaboration, teaching and public engagement. Furthermore, the content or “output” that is generated on these platforms can be a very powerful tool with the right audience.

Hitchcock hits on an important point early in the article, concerning the value of the “broader social discourse”. The idea of universal discussion resonates greatly with me, as I have always held a strong belief in the importance of citizen science. As educators and as professionals, it is our responsibility to ensure our area of expertise can be easily understood by the layperson. What is the point of our research if only a few key experts can understand the broader implications?

Hitchcock believes there is a lack of academic collaboration and communication on the universal scale, and academic professionals are “loosing our place in the broader social dialog”. Hitchcock offers such social media platforms as twitter and blogging as a potential solution to this problem. He explains publishing your research in a universally accessible setting can reach a much larger community of like-minded individuals. This larger audience can propagate the sharing of ideas, and build on our global knowledge base.

Indeed, the translation of complex ideas into bite-size social media excerpts has the potential to be problematic. However, I believe the benefits of facilitating public conversation in the scientific arena means we must persevere to adapt to these novel technological platforms.


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