Yesterday, I went to Warwick University to give a talk about using social media for research and impact. It was an event organized by Luke Robert Mason, focused on young scholars mostly. The question that I am often asked at such meetings is how much time I spend doing social media. The answer is usually that it is hard to quantify, but that it's not just time spent communicating.
My time spent using social media is time spent doing the kinds of things that we need to do as academics, to stay ahead of the curve. A lot of it is about discovery - finding out about new projects, initiatives, headlines, research, networks - which feeds into wider processes of research that I undertake. Usin social media means I also use email much less than I used to. Instant messaging through WhatsApp or Facebook are now critical ways for me to contact students and colleagues.
However, the main reasons I use social media a lot have to do with the underlying principles of its ethos - it is user centred, so you can decide what you want to say, rather than rely on the media to interpret it for you, it is the place where people are discovering learning opportunities - and it allows us to grow our communities more effectively.
All of these things are crucial to doing research and so using social media is a no brainer for me.
here are the slides