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Cover page of the Journal of Health Sciences

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-6

Influence of social media in research: Boon or bane

1 Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, KLE VKIDS, Belagavi, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Physiology, J. N. Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission01-Jan-2023
Date of Acceptance06-Jan-2023
Date of Web Publication21-Jan-2023

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Harpreet Kour
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, KLE VKIDS, Belagavi, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kleuhsj.kleuhsj_82_23

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How to cite this article:
Angadi PV, Kour H. Influence of social media in research: Boon or bane. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res 2023;16:4-6

How to cite this URL:
Angadi PV, Kour H. Influence of social media in research: Boon or bane. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Mar 27];16:4-6. Available from: https://www.ijournalhs.org/text.asp?2023/16/1/4/368342

”Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.”—David Alston

  Social Media and Social Media Platforms Top

”Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.”[1]

Social media is an omnipresent part of everyday life and has revolutionized the way we communicate with people without even meeting the person. It provides a wider platform to present new content to the target audience and the ability to socialize in a virtual world.

The commonly used general social media platforms for connecting with the public and other researchers of the scientific community include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, while there are some social media platforms that are specific for academicians and researchers such as Google Scholar, ORCID, ResearchGate Academia.edu, Altmetric, and Mendeley.[2],[3]

  Impact and Reach of Social Media Top

As per Social Media statistics of 2019, there are around 3 billion users actively using social media among the 7 billion population of the world, and each day, there are around 1 million users engaging in some form of social media activity almost every day. Thus, social media is a new trend that is here to stay and will go on trending.[3]

  Why Use Social Media in Research? Top

In the present digital era, proficiency in using social media is a necessary skill and tool that can be used in academics for engaging students, for enhancing awareness of your research, to get recognition to your department and university.

  Uses of Social Media in Research Top

Engage and connect with people

A researcher customarily would need to present the scientific community regarding his research work by attending conferences, giving guest lectures, or participating in panel discussions. However, social media provides the endless resource to do the same without leaving your desk. It provides a swift means to engage with the scientific community with common interests and provides a much larger and global audience. Further, these platforms enable communication with researchers from different parts of the world and get updates regarding their latest work. LinkedIn is considered the main social media tool for networking and keeping in touch with professionals from all over the world. Others are using ORCID, ResearchGate, Twitter, Facebook, or Mendeley.[2],[4]

Making your research more visible

Every researcher after publishing a manuscript intends to share the novel findings of their research with their colleagues. Usually, E-mailing the manuscript to various institutions is the first step generally done. However now, social media has made it much easier and has provided a wider platform to reached out to the research community. ResearchGate is one of the popular academic social media outlets that provides scientists with a forum to share and discuss their research as well as find collaborators. Now, in India, the Vidhwaan portal has been initiated to exchange research ideas and findings. Twitter also has the ability to create a large audience and if the tweet related to your research goes viral. Then, it may lead to the research being picked up by leading companies or sponsors for translational purposes.[2],[4],[5]

Source of information and as a research tool

Information available on social media is quick and easy to obtain. There may be discussion forums that can provide solutions to the problems that a researcher is experiencing. Social media platforms allow access to latest information and collaborate on different concepts. However, the researcher should take responsibility for the authenticity of the information available on social media and its reuse as per ethical standards. Social media may also be a research tool as sampling of subjects for clinical trials can be facilitated by social media via advertisements and there have been instances where Facebook has been used as a source for snowball sampling. Thus, it can serve as a research tool.[2],[4]

Advantages of using social media in research:[4]

  • It helps to reach a wider community and share ideas unreservedly as compared to traditional media
  • Get research-related information up-to-date and usually free of charge, which can be followed up quickly, thus increasing the efficiency
  • All of these can be done in the confines of your own desk
  • Social media can be used to track funding opportunities related to your research area.
  • You can increase your citation by making your research more visible.

Disadvantages of using social media in research:[4],[5],[6]

  • There is a lot of junk information mixed with valuable information, this may lead to waste of productive time while browsing updates related to your research in Facebook or Twitter by unnecessary information creeping in that are unrelated to your work leading to distraction
  • The trustworthiness of information provided by social media is mostly uncertain. Hence, finding the right social media channel is pivotal for the inclusion in your research
  • Social media might not be the best option for everyone and may have considerable risks for some than others.

  Underutilization of Social Media for Research Top

The implementation of social media in research settings is already prevalent, especially in western countries. The research community is increasingly recognizing its impact; however, its utilization in India is still in its infancy, especially in the health science field and is not being used to its full potential. The reasons for the underutilization of social media:

  • Building an effective social media network requires time and work, i.e., reading, writing, making short videos, uploading photos, etc. Making a good connection and maintaining them is an ongoing commitment. If you do not post or tweet, you will lose your followers and reflect poorly on your research[5]
  • Identifying the right platform that suits your time availability is an important consideration. The use of targeted profiles in LinkedIn ORCID, ResearchGate, and Mendeley is easier to maintain, as you can update it occasionally and add your recent publications to generate the interest. While maintaining an account on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is more time-consuming mandating to regularly create content (posts, videos, slides, etc.) to keep your audience captivated[4],[5]
  • Lack of recognition and value for these activities in the academic setup. Many still perceive social media as a mode of entertainment rather than as a powerful tool for networking and collaboration in research. Better awareness of their impact, support, and reward for these practices may boost their use in research.[4],[6],[7]

  Conclusion Top

The application of social media in research can have its own advantages and disadvantages. We believe, however, that this trend is here to stay and the researchers need to keep in pace with these technological advancements to gain an edge over their global contemporaries. You may have a small following at the beginning, but becoming a smart user of social media can help to enhance the impact of your research and develop connections with researchers in your field.

  References Top

Social Media Overview. Available from: https://communications.tufts.edu/marketing-and-branding/social-media-overview/. [Last accessed on 2023 Jan 02].  Back to cited text no. 1
Jaring P, Bäck A. How researchers use social media to promote their research and network with industry. Technol Inf Manage Rev 2017;7:32-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rogers J. The use of social media and its impact for research. Bio Res 2019;14:5022-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Smith K. 123 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts. Brandwatch; 2019. Available form: https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts/. [Last accessed on 2022 Dec 26].  Back to cited text no. 4
Kichanova V. The Role of Social Media in Research and Development. Bachelor's Thesis, Degree Program for Multilingual Management Assistants. Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences; 2012. Available from: https://core.ac.uk/reader/38070820. [Last accessed on 2022 Dec 26].  Back to cited text no. 5
Duque L. How Academics and Researchers Can Get More out of Social Media. Harvrad Business Review, Digital Article; 2016. Available from: https://hbr.org/2016/06/how-academics-and-researchers-can-get-more-out-of-social-media. [Last accessed on 2023 Jan 02].  Back to cited text no. 6
Using Social Media to Effectively Promote Your Research, Digital Article; 2019. Available from: https://www.enago.com/academy/using-social-media-to-effectively-promote-your-research/. [Last accessed on 2023 Jan 02].  Back to cited text no. 7


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