When buying a tool, the first thing I do is to check the price and think about the possible uses I would make of it. If I can’t find more than (let’s say) three uses it generally means that it is not worth buying it. Now let’s imagine that I am a researcher trying to turn my “best idea ever” into a renowned research project. Would I buy the Social Media Toolkit? I might use it…
…as an information source during the literature review process! When surfing the internet is easy to get info on relatively simple themes, but if you are looking for more specific information (from a more scientific perspective, for example) it is sometimes hard. The combination of a good search engine with social media would give me an even better search engine. That is, I could find some information and then, see who wrote it, who liked it, who used it before me. In short, I could find people who share my own interests in the same “depth”. These people would lead me directly to more interesting information, and that information to more people… Definitely I would be as a little ant climbing a tree. Once I found the trunk, all the leaves would be within my reach.
…as a way of finding collaboration! During my vertiginous ascent through the information’s tree, I could find people who help me in carrying out my research. People who are working in the same research field, or even better, people from a different background willing to help me in managing those aspects of my project that could make me feel really confused (a lawyer, a web programmer, a philosopher, a whale specialist…who knows?).
…as a way of promoting my project! The more people use a platform, the more people you can access by this way, and therefore the easier to advertise your project using it. So if I wanted to make my project known (and get lots of people involved in it if necessary), by now the best way would be using the social media. Millions of people + All over the world + Free = Sounds good!
…as a way of finding public or private funding (or even better, let the funding find me!). A strong online presence in the social media would be almost similar to adorn my project with neon lights. Both would make more and more people have their sight on it, including people with money, people interested in a successful end for my project.
Wait a minute! I found more than three uses! Ok, I would buy the Social Media Tool…but on a mandatory condition: Never forget that it is just that, a tool. And that tool should be always at my imaginary research project service (the main character in this story), never the other way round!