Scholars’ Changing Social Media use: Implications for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

George Veletsianos
Royal Roads University, Canada

Nicole Johnson
Open University of Catalonia, Spain

Olga Belikov
Brigham Young University, United States of America


Understanding academics’ experiences with technology over time is critical in making sense of the use of technology in education and teaching. In this research study we explore whether, how, and why scholars’ social media use changes over time. We conducted semi-structured interviews with twelve scholars who were asked to download and reflect upon their Facebook or Twitter archive prior to the interview. Using thematic analysis of interview transcripts, we found that the factors impacting scholars’ social media use over time include: personal experiences, professional experiences, issues related to online privacy and self-protection online, evolution of technology, a desire to develop and nurture relationships, awareness of the needs of others, and political environment. Results suggest that the factors leading scholars to evaluate, reconsider, and change their social media practices are complex, layered, and multidimensional. An important implication of these findings is that encouraging social media adoption among scholars, without considering how scholars use them for other purposes, may create future problems for them.

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