The power of social media


Image from


A posting on fb by Ebba Ossiannilsson this morning prompted me to think about how I find information, get ideas and write. I always tell my PhD students that it is important for them to develop a clear strategy for doing their literature review. This includes brainstorming appropriate keywords to search on google and on relevant research databases, following references cited in papers, but also reading key blogs – in our field people like George Siemens, Martin Weller, Terry Anderson and others comes to mind – are your ears burning guys? But social media also provide a wealth of opportunity to find useful stuff. Twitter in particular is a great source of information, and despite the trivia posted on fb (pictures of cats and food come to mind, as do trivial quizzes…) there are often useful links, including the one from Ebba this morning. Of course social media is two-way – you can’t just take, take, take; it’s important to also respond to other people’s requests for help. And I love the serendipitous nature of social media, just coming across things accidently, that make you think or augment something you are already doing. So I often start the day curled on the sofa, with a cup of tea, surfing around fb and Twitter, replying to other people’s posts or retweeting. I feel privileged to be part of such a great global community.