How is Twitter disrupting academia?

I think the more appropriate question is: Is Twitter really disrupting academia?

1. Twitter exists as a kind of parallel truth/falsehood mechanism, and it is encroaching on traditional academic processes, for better or worse.

2. Hypotheses blaming people or institutions for failures and misdeeds will be more popular on Twitter than in academia, but over time they are spreading in academia too, in part because of their popularity on Twitter.  Blame makes for a more popular tweet.

3. Often the number of Twitter followers resembles a Power law, and thus Twitter raises the influence of very well known contributors.  Twitter also raises the influence of the relatively busy, compared to say the 2009 world where blogs held more of that influence.  Writing blog posts required more time than does issuing tweets.

I also think we are ascribing it more importance than it actually deserves. Gaining Twitter users (via bots) and growing it “inorganically” (a clichéd management jargon) seems improper. However, Twitter’s algorithms tend to favour power law and feedback loops. However, I am still hard-pressed to imagine that the shining stars of academia find time to “tweet”. It has to be outsourced!

We end up justifying the “advantages” of Twitter (spoiler: there are none) because as a social medium, it is only to push out “links” and has deplorable rates of engagement. Unless, of course, it serves as a sounding board to share a “collective outrage” (but then, it isn’t a revolution, isn’t it?)


via How is Twitter disrupting academia? – Marginal REVOLUTION