The four types of social media user in the academic and research community

April 29, 2014

Within the framework of the Leibniz Association's Science 2.0 research group, the Goportis – Leibniz Library Network for Research Information recently participated in a nationwide study involving academics and researchers from universities and Leibniz Association research institutions.

The purpose of the "Science 2.0 Survey" was to examine the use of social media tools in science and research. By participating in this collaborative study, the Leibniz Library Network hoped to discover how publication and research processes are changing in order to optimally tailor its own services to reflect these changes.

One of the key goals was to learn more about the usage patterns and behaviours of target groups, and the study has provided some important pointers to assist in this task.

The preliminary part of the study identified four types of social media user who display significantly different patterns of behaviour in their use of and attitudes toward social Web applications. These four user types were each named after one of their defining characteristics to clearly distinguish their different traits in the study.

Type 1 is "Ms Maker", a research assistant or professor who uses Web 2.0 services anywhere from once to several times a week and who is very conscious of privacy concerns in regard to the Internet. She makes careful use of selected tools, primarily for pragmatic reasons in situations where they make her work easier.

Type 2, "Mr Tech", is a research assistant or professor who uses Web 2.0 services to much the same degree as Ms Maker. Where he differs from Ms Maker, however, is in his enthusiasm for new media and technical devices. When it comes to using applications, the "fun factor" plays a key role for Mr Tech.

The third type of user, "Mr Classic", takes a very different attitude toward the subject. Typically older and for the most part male, this type of user is a professor or research assistant who uses Web 2.0 services only occasionally and who tends to be less enthusiastic about new media and less self-confident when it comes to using the associated tools. He makes use of individual applications – frequently learning platforms – primarily because this is expected of him in his teaching role.

His opposite number is type 4, "Mr. Nerd". A research assistant or professor, Mr. Nerd is an intensive user of Web 2.0 services who has relatively few concerns about privacy issues. In addition this user type does not hesitate to use Web 2.0 applications and is very enthusiastic about using new media. Wikipedia is the tool that is used most by all four types of user.

Explore further: A study analyzes the legal problems of social networks

More information:

Related Stories

A study analyzes the legal problems of social networks

May 9, 2011

Research in which the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid is participating analyzes the legal challenges and problems faced by the users and communications media that utilize 2.0 social networking tools in Spain.

Journalists 'can't work without social media,' study shows

September 20, 2012

(—More than a quarter of UK journalists are unable to work without social media despite an increasing number of concerns about productivity, privacy and the future of journalism, according to the 2012 social journalist ...

Facebook refusal: Hipster trend or activist movement?

April 12, 2013

Laura Portwood-Stacer, visiting assistant professor of media, culture, and communication at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, recently published a study of people who quit Facebook and how ...

Recommended for you

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.