On 9 June 2011, we sent this tweet out into the world:
That same day, we set up Research Whisperer on Facebook and started the WordPress blog. Like everyone else starting social media accounts and blogs, we had zero followers. We were amazed how quickly that changed. People seemed to like what we did, then they started helping us do things, too. It was lovely.
Each time we published a blog post, we would push it out to Twitter (at least 3 times) and pin it to our Facebook page. As we found other interesting things, we would post them to our social channels as well. When we looked at the stats for our blog posts, about half the traffic seemed to be coming from Twitter and about half from Facebook. It felt like things were working on that front. Sometimes, people would happily follow us on Twitter but not be regular readers of the blog. That’s totally fine, but we’ve always thought it was kind of funny.
We loved Twitter. For us, it was both friendly and snarky, funny and depressing, supportive and distracting. We found our home there. We engaged in conversations and collaborations. We built friendships and wonderful collegial relationships.
Facebook…not so much. Neither of us were big users of Facebook so we didn’t spend much time there. We were there because we felt it was the proper thing to do in terms of reaching our researcher community.
We tried other things, too, over the years. We set up a Paper.li account that automatically aggregated our Tweets and those of people we followed. We used Storify to thread together tweets that we liked. We set up an account on Buffer. I think we even had a del.icio.us account back in the day.
Why we’ve decided to move
Over the last decade, we’ve grown and those social media spaces have changed. We now find ourselves with over 53,000 followers on Twitter, a platform we no longer want to associate with. We have over 10,000 followers on Facebook and our posts are seen by maybe a handful of them. It’s a platform that doesn’t help us reach our community the way we think it used to.
It’s time for a change. We are going to clean house.
This blog is staying right where it is for now. But how we communicate with you will be changing.
On the 15 March 2023 (the Ides of March), we’ll be cancelling our Twitter and Facebook accounts. We will even close down that old Paper.li account that’s still floating around. It feels like starting again but also not. Perhaps we’ll only be bringing a few hundred rather than thousands along with us as we swap spaces and find our feet in them. That’s OK. We’ll still be doing what we do and are happy to be ‘re/discovered’ as time goes on.
Where we’re going
We aren’t leaving social media completely. For all its problems, we still love it. It allows us to connect with people who are interested in the same things that we are. It helps us spread the word about clever ideas, supportive groups, and quality resources. We play with our friends online. We can try to make our sector a better place. In a small way, we get to be the change we want to see.
Upshot of all this: We are moving to Mastodon and LinkedIn.
Mastodon feels a bit like Twitter before Twitter started messing with the timeline. It takes a bit of getting used to, as any new platform does, and we look forward to chatting with you there.
LinkedIn has grown from a place where you uploaded your CV (even though you weren’t sure why) to being a social media platform where people like us can have a page and engage with others. To be truthful, we feel like LinkedIn can be a self-congratulatory cesspit at worst and a bit stuffy at best. As more of our fun and sarcastic community invest time there and share counter-corporate material, we are hoping to make it a bit better. It definitely needs more memes and we’re down for that.
How to find us
You’ll find us at:
- Mastodon: @ResearchWhisperer@aus.social.
- LinkedIn: Research Whisperer on LinkedIn.
- Blog: Research Whisperer on WordPress (no change there).
We are already there. Come and join us, and say hello?
On personal notes:
Jonathan has deleted his Twitter account already, and will probably delete his Facebook in a month. He is on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on LinkedIn, too, as LinkedIn is one of the three accounts that all academics need.
Tseen has moved to Mastodon but keeps a Twitter account (@tseenster) alive for teaching and archival purposes. On Mastodon, she’s @email@example.com. And she’s been on LinkedIn for ages, mostly railing at it on the side but finding it more valuable recently.
100% agree with your take on LinkedIn — maybe I’ll have to start looking there a bit more if that’s where you’ll be posting. A good decision all round
Thanks, Clare. I’ve been really surprised by the amount of joy I’m getting from playing around on LinkedIn. It has a very sharing-friendly culture right now (although with a lot of ‘look at me’, too).
Well done! I’m on LinkedIn at the moment, making sure I follow you/connect with you. I too deleted Twitter when it changed but don’t want to delete my Facebook account as yet – I believe it can be used for good rather than evil and customise my newsfeed to reflect that.
Thanks, Michelle. I like the idea of using Facebook as a tool for good. 🙂
I have been keeping an eye on Spoutible, which went live today and I have joined. I think there is a good chance it will be an excellent Twitter replacement.
Thanks, Helen. I hadn’t seen Spoutible. I think Tseen is checking it out.