Reaction to post on academia and social media

Source:  Reaction to post on academia and social media    Tag:  hyperaldosteronism
"Should social media accomplishments be recognized by academia?" a post of mine from October 4th, generated some lively discussion on Twitter.

Here are a few of the more interesting responses:

@ashishkjha Important question from @Skepticscalpel Should academia value impact on social media? Yes. And it's coming. Slowly.

@MartinSGaynor Science comes 1st, 2nd, 3rd.. MT @ashishkjha Important Q: @Skepticscalpel Shld academia value impact on social media?

@ashishkjha agree how to measure impact a key question. Eye balls can't be enough. But too important a question to ignore.

‏@DoctorTennyson Yes-I think social media has a role for #publichealth, #education, and fosters collaboration. More than obscure journals

@NirajGusani still you add value to your dept -how do/should they measure it?

‏@gorskon Heck, at @ScienceBasedMed, we get 1M page views a month, but I get no credit.

@gorskon I agree though. For the most part, social media harms, not helps, academic career.

@gorskon Cranks complaining to my chair & cancer center director don't help.

@gorskon If I ever want to change jobs, Google searches will likely harm, not help, prospects

@Nadia_EMPharmD We actually asked this very question in a study we published this past year:

‏@JBMatthews Academic tracks have been modernized in many places including ours; beyond # of publcns.

@JBMatthews As a journal editor and department chair, I believe it's starting to "count"

‏@nataliestavas We should study what has more meaningful impact, # of twitter followers or an article in the @NEJM

Most agreed that social media activity should count for something, but quantifying that something may be difficult. A certain number of followers or page views would not necessarily signify value.

Via email, Dr. Jeffrey B. Matthews, Dallas B. Phemister Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago, said his school of medicine created a new track for faculty that does not require traditional scholarship for academic promotion. It is non-tenure (tenure still requires traditional discovery and traditional measures of impact and importance), but there is otherwise no distinction of title.

To advance to professor requires evidence that the faculty member is outstanding. The chair and faculty committee must define what "outstanding" means, whether it is distinction in clinical practice like a high-volume, high-complexity specialty or a national draw of patients, in educational leadership such as a program director with leadership roles at APDS, ABS, RRC, or "other."

He added, "I would have ZERO trouble convincing our promotions committee that a high visibility blog with high traffic views that had evidence of thought leadership in the public domain would qualify as high impact and outstanding. And that is at the University of Chicago."

What do you think of the University of Chicago's progressive stance?

Have any other schools taken such steps?