As part of a survey by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, I was asked how I made use of Twitter. Here are the response I gave
1. Which social media services do you currently use for professional networking or discussing your research?
Twitter (a lot), Google Plus, Linked In (a little bit)
2. What do you see as the benefits of engaging with social media for you as a researcher?
I am not strictly a researcher, but am involved in a lot of projects realted to digital humanities, digital libraries and information science. Twitter is great as it allows one to to build networks, learn what is going on elsewhere. The latter is really important – I have a much better idea of work being done around the globe in the field of digital humanities; and get garner that basic information much more quickly than other sources (eg. Conferences, papers). Twitter is not a replacement for that latter type of scholarly comms though; it is a supplement.
3. Have you encountered any problems or barriers to using social media in relation to your research work?
You need to be aware of the limits. Twitter is good for starting or maintaining some social connections, but a lot more is needed if you want to have in depth conversations. Also I find that I share viewpoints with people I am in contact with on Twitter; so less direct argument and critique happens (although in my twitter stream there is plenty of critique of third parties that are not part of that group)
4. Do you find it easy to find and connect with other researchers in the arts and humanities fields?
Yes, very easy to connect with people in information science, digital humanities, libraries. But I think this group is well disposed to Twitter in the first place. I am also interested in connecting with art historians but there are very few on Twitter. A community needs a critical mass of numbers to be worthwhile
5. How do you usually find out about other current research projects in your field?
Nearly always via Twitter; but conferences and word of mouth can help provide much more illumination.