Enjoy Social Media? I Asked Academic Twitter Here’s What You Said

Enjoying your social media life is so important

Whether you’re using it professionally, personally, or both, enjoying your social media life makes a big difference. Earlier this month, I hosted a Twitter chat on @AcademicChatter to talk about just that.

If you don’t enjoy your time on social media, you won’t want to use it or engage in conversations. I didn’t realize until the day of, it was also my 1 year Twitterversary! I had so much fun. And I promised you a follow-up. Here it is.

I’m Jennifer, a social media strategist and communications consultant. I work with faculty and researchers to share their work online. I joined Twitter just over a year ago, and now I teach people how to use it effectively. I blog about social media and online identity here, on The Social Academic.

And I interview faculty and grad students about their social media lives, like postdoc researcher Daisy Shu.

In this blog post, I talk about how much academics enjoy social media, and their favorite platforms.

Then, get my top 3 tips for enjoying your social media life.

  • Introduce yourself on social media
  • Always practice self-care
  • Know your privacy settings on the platforms you use

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Academics on social media tend to enjoy it

People who use social media effectively tend to enjoy their time on social media. But what does that look like?

How people use social media varies widely. Some people like to lurk, or just retweet content they find interesting.

Others like to reply to conversations but not necessarily post themselves.

Some people use social media to build community, or share their #AcademicLife.

Not all academics use social media professionally. Those that do, tend to find it rewarding.

I asked #AcademicTwitter how much they enjoy social media (n 258). I mean Twitter is not the place for a real study, but let’s look at the numbers.

54% of respondents said they enjoy social media most or all of the time.

Academics and grad students enjoy social media for a lot of reasons. These are just a few that were part of this thread.

  • networking
  • personal interests
  • connect with community
  • conversations
  • news

In addition, social media is a great way for academics to

  • share your publications
  • let people know about speaking engagements
  • meet collaborators
  • build your scholarly network
  • share teaching tips
  • get advice

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Academics think they spend too much time on social media

I asked people how they feel about the time they spend on Twitter.

I thought about asking with hour ranges. But how much time you spend on social media isn’t as important as how you spend your time. Or, how you feel about the time you spend.

I asked how much time would you say you spend on social media because I wanted to know how people feel about their own practices.

67% of respondents (n 129) said “I think I’m on too much.”

And an additional 16% say they’re “always on social media.”

I’ve been training people on social media for a while now, and this is the #1 concern people have.

How much time do you spend on social media?

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Academics love Twitter 1st, and Instagram 2nd

Back in January, I asked you how much you enjoy social media (n 1,128).

The poll was skewed because only that number of respondents could be found on Twitter. No surprise, people on Twitter love Twitter (79%).

This time around, I wanted to see what people love other than Twitter (n 132).

Instagram is my favorite platform, so I was happy to see it had 59% of the vote.

How can academics enjoy social media more?

Here are my top 3 easy tips to help you enjoy your social media and #AcademicLife more.

#1 Introduce yourself

Introducing yourself on social media is my #1 tip.

Why? New people encounter you on social media every day.

There are so many benefits to introducing yourself on social media.

It’s a friendly way to say “hi” to your audience.

It let’s people know a little bit about you. It can be a way to provide more detail than your bio, or talk to a specific audience.

Like Matthew and Hector, you can add hashtags to your introduction if you’re goal is to network.

When’s the last time you introduced yourself on social media? If the answer is never – today is a great day. Write a little intro post now.

Pro tip: include a photo of your face for higher engagement

#2 Practice social media self-care

Self-care is so important for social media.

Managing your notifications makes a huge difference when it comes to enjoying your social media life.

Alerts can make people anxious. For some, waiting for likes is like waiting for validation. For others, notification bubbles feel like tasks to be completed.

The apps are designed to entice you to spend more time on them.

Managing your phone notifications by selecting what type of notifications you’d like to receive, and how you want to receive them.

When you need it, or even just feel like it, it’s OK to take a break from social media. It’s OK for that break to be as long as you want.

Don’t feel guilty about social media detox.

Do let people know if you’re going away for an extended period of time.

Do take steps to help yourself stay off social media like deleting the app from your phone.

Don’t delete your account (unless you’re pretty sure you’re not going to come back).

Do let people know other ways people can get in touch with you (if you want).

#3 Know your privacy

Your privacy is important on social media. Check your privacy settings every 6 months or so, to make sure they’re still how you want them.

Please know that having your account set to private is never fully protective of your posts or information. Things are often shared and discussed (especially in person).

Do block people you don’t want to be able to see your posts or engage with you.

Mute people you don’t want to see.

Don’t feel guilty about wanting to enjoy your home feed. You can always find conversations. They don’t need to be the 1st thing that pops up on your screen.

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Taking a break from social media can make a big difference

Not all social media breaks look the same. Learn more about how to take a break from social media.

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Jennifer van Alstyne View All →

Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and communications consultant. She founded The Academic Designer LLC to help professors build a strong online presence for their research, teaching, and leadership. Jennifer’s goal is to help people feel confident sharing their work with the world.

Jennifer’s personal website

The Academic Designer LLC