Communication, collaboration and identity: factor analysis of academics’ perceptions of online networking

Katy Jordan, Martin Weller


Since the advent of online social networking sites, much has been written about their potential for transforming academia, as communication and collaboration underpin many scholarly activities. However, the extent to which these benefits are being realised in practice is unclear. As the uptake of tools by academics continues to grow, there is a question as to whether differences exist in their use and if any patterns or underlying factors are at play. This article presents the results of an online survey addressing this gap. A disciplinary divide was evident in terms of preferred academic social networking platforms, while perceptions about how academics use online networking for different purposes are linked to job position. Exploratory factor analysis identified four components representing different strategies used by academics in their approaches to online networking, including maintaining a personal learning network, promoting the professional self, seeking and promoting publications, and advancing careers.

Published: 10 April 2018

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2018, 26: 2013 -


social media; academic networking; social networking sites; digital scholarship

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