Research

Most Faculty Don't Use Twitter, Study Reveals

But about 5.1 percent use the microblogging service as part of instruction

Despite the seemingly relentless barrage of hype surrounding Twitter, most faculty in higher education institutions are not using the microblogging service at all. In fact, according to a new study from Faculty Focus, most have never even tried it.

In a survey of 1,958 higher education professionals conducted by Faculty Focus in July and August, 69.3 percent of respondents said they do not use Twitter in any capacity, and 56.4 percent haven't tried it at all. The survey, Twitter in Higher Education: Usage Habits and Trends of Today's College Faculty, found that some of the reasons faculty members do not use Twitter were that they don't see the relevance to education, that they think microblogging might contribute to poor writing skills, that they don't understand how to use it, or that they don't have time for it.

Of those who do not use Twitter:

  • 12.9 percent reported that they had tried it but stopped using it (for the same reasons cited above); and
  • 20.6 percent reported that there's an even chance they'll incorporate Twitter into instruction within the next two years.

Meanwhile, 30.7 percent of respondents reported that they do, in fact, use Twitter in one way or another--a percentage that's fairly high compared with the percentage of the general adult American population that uses Twitter (which is projected to be in the neighborhood of 10 percent to 11 percent by 2010).

"One of the more interesting findings from the survey is the high percentage of faculty who use Twitter, even if they're still experimenting with the best ways to incorporate it into their courses," says Mary Bart, content manager for Faculty Focus, in a statement released to coincide with the report this week. "What also became quite apparent was how strongly Twitterers and non-Twitterers feel about the technology."

Of those education professionals who use Twitter, 21 percent reported that they use it frequently, and 15.6 percent said they use it occasionally. Nearly 22 percent reported that they are "familiar" or "very familiar" with the service.

Further, of those who currently use the service:

  • 7.2 percent use it as a part of instruction frequently;
  • 9.4 percent use it in instruction occasionally;
  • 21 percent use it frequently to collaborate with colleagues;
  • 15.6 percent use it occasionally to collaborate with colleagues; and
  • 71.8 percent reported that they expect to use it more this school year.

Respondents to the study included faculty (60.2 percent, including 4.3 percent identifying themselves as online instructors); department chairs, deans, and other leaders (23.6 percent); and others involved in roles like "faculty development, academic advisement, instructional design, marketing, admissions, assessment, and library services," according to Faculty Focus.

A full copy of the report is available free in PDF form on Faculty Focus' Web site here.

About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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