For what reasons do academics follow one another on Twitter? Robert Jäschke, Stephanie B. Linek and Christian P. Hoffmann analysed the Twitter activity of computer scientists and found that while the quality of information provided by a Twitter account is a key motive for following academic colleagues, there is also evidence of a career planning motive. As well as there being reciprocal following between users of the same academic status (except, remarkably, between PhD researchers), a form of strategic politeness can be observed whereby users follow those of higher academic status without necessarily being followed back. The emerging academic public sphere facilitated by Twitter is largely shaped by dynamics and hierarchies all too familiar to researchers struggling to plot their careers in academia.
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