In Social Media in Academia: Networked Scholars, George Veletsianos aims to nuance the conversation around academics’ participation on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Contrary to the common focus, Veletsianos urges his readers to consider the role of social media for academics as individuals. By contrast, social media is usually discussed in relation to increasing citation count or status as a public intellectual (106, 107). “To understand scholars lives,” he writes, “we need to examine more than just their scholarly practices. We need to explore their activities, participation, and experiences with social media and networks in an expansive way that includes both their professional and non-professional ways of being” (103). In this way, we’ll be able to consider the scholar online rather than focus exclusively on the benefits and drawbacks of digital scholarship.
Conversations often revolve around the possibilities that technology holds for scholarship. But Veletsianos contests that we should think of academic uptake of social media as a symptom of those involved with higher education; that is, academics want to connect and share aspects of themselves more broadly, so they turn to social media–social media does not cause them to connect and share more. Throughout the book, Veletsianos aims to help readers “understand scholars’ participation in online spaces and, in doing so, provide a lens through which [the reader] can problematize the presence of social media and online networks, or lack thereof, in the life of the contemporary scholar” (1). The emergence of networked scholarship requires a rethinking of the traditional scholarly identity, as such. For Veletsianos, paradigmatic shifts in the thinking around higher education practices are necessary to enhance these developing forms of scholarship, and to truly understand the behaviour of those who undertake it.
Veletsianos, George. 2016. Social Media in Academia: Networked Scholars. New York and London: Routledge.