Two Twitters, Two Personalities for Academics

With social media and networking sites being extremely popular among users and some of the most visited sites on the Internet, it’s no surprise that even our parents, teachers, and professionals are using social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Many college professors and working professionals are now involved in the social media world, and some say it has become difficult for them to distance their personal updates from their professional ones. To combat this problem of account clashing, some professionals in academia have turned to creating to separate accounts, according to an article posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education. When Rosemary Feal, the director of the Modern Language Association, realized that she was posting personal updates about her feelings on watching a documentary on her work Twitter account, she decided it was time to make a personal Twitter as well.

Even though none of the dozen updates Feal posted that night were inappropriate or bad in any way, she knew her updates had little to do with the 30,000 professionals and professors that were following her professionally and looking for information on the association’s annual meeting. Feal promptly created a new Twitter account for her personal postings, but also still sometimes posts her updates to both accounts. It seems that many professors and higher education leaders are struggling with the same issues as they try to find a balance between personal and professional lives in the social media world.

Yet, while some professors and professionals choose to have two separate Twitter accounts to separate their postings, others have a Facebook page as their social media outlet for family and friends and use Twitter for professional purposes or vice versa. The trend seems to be picking up rather quickly, as even colleges themselves have joined in creating multiple accounts across Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Some colleges and universities even have different pages and accounts for different departments across the school. For example, the University of Virginia’s library has 14 different accounts which all focuses on different subjects and sections in the library. Colleges are also taking advantage of networking opportunities on social media sites, creating various accounts for a number of reasons on Youtube and Flickr.

As with most things, there is an etiquette which should be practiced when using social media sites, especially for professionals and professors that are widely known throughout their schools. Social media users should always post appropriately and in consideration of the audience at all times. It’s also important for Twitter users in academia to uphold their own policies and limits on friending students and other professors, as it is essential to always remain professional.

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