If you have asked yourself if you need social media for your journal, this article is for you. It’s a bit of a complicated answer, albeit a brief one. Social media is very important for journals, but usage and awareness of the ways in which they operate vary significantly. Do you need social media for your journal? Yes, you do. Knowing the answer to this question, however, doesn’t provide guidance in a meaningful way though. Unlike making sure that your journals are indexed, there are countless different options that exist in the
Here, we’ll look at some examples of social media, and how you can use them.
What is social media?
Simply put, these are apps or websites that allow many individuals for come together to share content or socialize. There are many other things that you can do with them, but as a simple definition, this will do. There are many examples of social media, and they can vary from largely text-based formats (LinkedIn, for example) to platforms that cater more to video (TikTok or YouTube).
These apps and sites aim to draw users based on the content produced, and as such can be a valuable tool for your journal. In particular, if you’re just starting up your journal, establishing a follower base can be critical to greater success down the road. However, not all social media options are going to be right for you, and some of them might be difficult to initially navigate. Let’s take a look at some of the more commonly known social media options, and how they might work for you.
Facebook is Meta’s original social media site, and one of the largest and most established options. It boasts billions of daily users, and has been a consistently effective place to spread information. This has been both good and bad, and the spread of disinformation on the site is well known. Still, because social media sites tend to cluster into smaller communities, it can potentially be a good place to share information about your journal through paid ads.
One of the problems that might exist though, is that Facebook has fairly strict guidelines about how it handles the promotion of content. It’s important to know which words are flagged. Facebook might not be well-positioned to be of use to a virology journal if it flags and bans words like “coronavirus” or “disease”. Research your options to see if Facebook is a viable candidate for you. It’s your money, spend it wisely.
Microsoft-owned, LinkedIn is sometimes referred to as a “business Facebook”. They share many similarities, from the format to the aesthetics. Even though they are both “social media”, they have many differences that are important to keep in mind. First of all, the primary focus of LinkedIn is for career development and professional networking and communications. Users can post their CVs, look for work, and more. Because of this more professional purpose, LinkedIn is a strong candidate for sharing academic content. A following for your journal on LinkedIn can be valuable. There can be many opportunities to network directly with potential editorial board members or authors. Like Facebook, LinkedIn can also make use of paid advertisement to boost your content. If you’re looking for a good option, this might be one to consider.
Make sure to review how advertising on LinkedIn works. The same rules are true for LinkedIn as are for Facebook. Know how your money is being spent.
Bluesky is a relatively new microblogging tool. At the time of writing, it is still in beta and users can join by invite only. This means that the communities that are forming on this site are smaller and tightly-knit. Despite this, this social media option shows promise as a good place to share information about your journal. Because it is a microblogging tool, and posts are limited to 300 characters, producing content doesn’t take that much time. Because Bluesky is a newer social media option (though not new format), its future remains unknown. It might be very successful as Twitter was before it, or it might remain quite small.
Not just for dance videos, TikTok is a social media option that caters to younger demographics. While it is most known for its viral dance videos, there are many companies that are using TikTok effectively to engage with their clients. There is a growing number of users that are producing content that is adjacent to science (or even science education), so TikTok is a social media option that you might want to keep in mind. Remember that younger academics, who might be inclined to publish in your journal, might be on this social media site.
Pros and cons of social media
Because of the way that social media works and can be engaged with, it can be a cost-effective advertising tool. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all good news. In recent years, it has been under increasing scrutiny because of fake accounts and disinformation.
Part of the way to mitigate this, is to be extremely careful about the content that your accounts share and amplify. “Keep it professional” might be a good rule of thumb when it comes to your content, and not engaging with content that could cause headaches for you later is a generally good idea.
Another weakness revolving around social media is that it can be extremely time-consuming. Running a journal is already a stressful and time-consuming endeavour, and adding another major time-sink to your to-do list can be very stressful. If you’re going to run your social media accounts yourself, it’s important to make sure you have a proper schedule. Don’t sign up for all the options and then post constantly, as this is a good way to burn out on social media. Consistency is important, both for social media and for you.
A clear schedule, such as engaging with your accounts for 30 minutes at the beginning of the day, is a healthy way to start growing your followers without burning out.