Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more


In this video, Dr Lee Fallin introduces Facebook as a scholarly communication tool.
Facebook is usually associated with connecting with friends. You may share your latest holiday   snaps, pictures of your children or maybe what you’ve just eaten. However, it can be a really   good place for you to promote your research.  I could for example share my latest outputs,   my latest thinking or just talk about what I’m doing. Now if I just do this on my
profile I’m probably going to bore my friends but if I’ve connected with loads of other researchers, it might be a useful place for me to do this.  The main benefit is connecting through groups   You can find relevant groups whatever research you’re conducting and share your thoughts there.   Here’s a great example of a group - the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education.   It might not be something that interests you but it certainly interests me, it’s my professional body   and so this is a great place for me to keep up to date with the latest things happening in my field.

What is Facebook?

Facebook is an American online social media and social networking service. After registering, users can create a profile revealing information about themselves. They can post text, photos and multimedia which are shared with any other users who have agreed to be their “friend” or, with different privacy settings, publicly. Users can also communicate directly with each other with Facebook Messenger, join common-interest groups, and receive notifications on the activities of their Facebook friends and the pages they follow.

Key stats

According to Facebook, the 2 billion user mark was crossed in June 2017.

How can it be used for scholarly communication?

Facebook is a very active global platform with millions of users. This can make it a great way to engage in the public in research. As profiles are generally private and limited to “friends” connected via the platform, research promotion is usually better pushed via groups and pages where you can share posts with members.

How can it be used for research?

Facebook data can be a great source for social research but can be very difficult from an ethics perspective as accounts are generally private as opposed to public networks like Twitter. Facebook has introduced a new academic research application programming interface (API) designed to aggregate the platform’s real-time data. This is only open to academic researchers.

Getting started

You can create a Facebook account for free and then take a look at Using Social Media to promote your research: Facebook Groups and Pages.

There are a number of related links beneath this article under the see also heading.

This article is from the free online

Being a Digital Researcher: Digital Skills for Effective Research

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education