Profs Twitter: College Faculty Tweet More But Overloaded, Says Faculty Focus

twittermortarboard.jpgFaculty Focus announced results of its
second annual survey on Twitter usage and trends in higher education.
They surveyed faculty Twitter quitters and frequent Tweeters.

Twitter in Higher
Education 2010: Usage Habits and Trends of Today's College Faculty
findings include:

  • 29.7 percent of respondents say they are "very familiar" or "extremely
    familiar" with Twitter, a 7.8 percent increase from 2009.
  • Faculty are most likely to use Twitter as a real-time news source or
    to share information with peers; with approximately half saying they
    do so "frequently."
  • Of those who've never used Twitter, 68.8 percent question its
    educational relevance.
  • 76.1 percent of Twitter quitters stopped using the technology because
    they didn't find it valuable.
  • 56.8 percent of current Twitter users say they expect to increase
    their use during the coming academic year.

The survey of nearly 1,400 college faculty members found that more than
a third (35.2 percent) of the 1,372 respondents use Twitter in
capacity. That's an increase from 30.7 percent in 2009.Meanwhile,
just under half (47.9 percent) of those who completed the
survey say they've never used Twitter, down from 56.4 percent in
The remaining 16.9 percent say they tried Twitter, but stopped
using it
- a four percent increase from 2009.

The second annual survey sought answers to some of the fundamental
questions regarding faculty members' familiarity, perception, and
experience with the popular micro-blogging technology. Depending on how
they answered the question "Do you use Twitter?" respondents were asked
a unique set of follow-up questions. The 22-page downloadable report
provides a breakdown of the survey results by question, including
comments provided by survey respondents. The comments further explain
how they are using Twitter, why they stopped, or why they have no
interest in using it at all.

"Interestingly, one of the new trends to emerge this year was this
feeling of technology overload," said Mary Bart, editor of Faculty
. "We had a number of people comment that they already have
enough ways to communicate with students and they simply don't want
another application that needs to be monitored and maintained. As one
professor put it, 'There's already too much electronic clutter in my
teaching life. I don't need to add another source.'"

Non-users expressed concerns that Twitter creates poor writing skills
and could be yet another classroom distraction. Many also noted that
very few of their students use Twitter.

Some quotes from professors surveyed:

"I've found Twitter useful for increasing students' time thinking
about course related content through tweeting supplemental content links
and for some very limited student interaction. I'm hoping to encourage
more student input.

When I asked my students if they would like me to start using
Twitter, they almost universally said 'no'. Instead, they felt it would
be more useful to use Facebook."