Source: Flikr user Keiyac
Is your professor on Twitter? Five years ago, this question would have been outlandish. However a rapidly increasing portion of today’s academics are active participants on social media platforms today.
For professors at the George Washington University, having a Twitter is extremely commonplace. Most academics use their accounts as a promotional tool; sharing links to their recent pieces or recommending their employers work. The platform is simple to use, and makes it easy to find like-minded professors, or students interested in respective fields of study.
Especially for those teaching politics, Twitter has become a popular social media platform to interact with think tanks and journalists alike. The election of President Donald Trump catapulted Twitter into the mainstream, and continues to be a breeding ground for breaking news and lively discourse.
Despite Twitter’s popularity in the United States and other nations, it enjoys far less users in nations like the Czech Republic. According to Hootsuite, 46% of the Czech Republic is active on social media, however most of those users are on Facebook. Twitter has yet to gain the ubiquitousness and notoriety of the platform in the United States. Despite this, several Czech brands and companies are attempting the leverage the social media tool.
The Institute of International Relations Prague (IIR), where I currently intern, are stepping up their social media strategy. Primarily focused on Twitter, the international affairs think tank is encouraging their researchers to create accounts and interact with the wider online community. IIR Researchers like Mark Galeotti have gained a large following on the platform, and as a result have been featured on the BBC and other national programs.
Source: IIR Twitter Account
Despite the success of Mr. Galeotti, Twitter remains a largely stagnant platform when compared to Instagram or Snapchat. With a younger population frequenting Snapchat and Instagram, it makes sense to see exponential growth in the usage in nations further behind in the social media, like the Czech Republic. However, that growth will eventually become unsustainable.
For now, Twitter appears to be the perfect platform for academics to frequent. What used to feature cheeky comments about what users ate for breakfast, is now an internationally recognized platform filled with politicians, and yes even your professors.