Thank you to everyone who took part in my research on establishing a mentoring relationship on Twitter and answered the questions I posed on this blog. As promised, here is a summary of my results.
Summary of Twitter Mentoring Research – Abigail Willemse.
Mentoring is a valuable concept for professional development in many professions, including library and information science. Mentoring is typically thought of as a hierarchical relationship between an experienced person and a novice, but there are many evolving definitions of mentoring. This research focused on the use of Twitter in this context. Librarians use Twitter to form supportive relationships with other information professionals that contain elements of mentoring relationships.
A variety of qualitative methodologies were used to help ensure validity and to triangulate the results. A literature search sets into context the data gleaned from an environmental scan of the online (particularly blogs). Fourteen librarians from Australia and New Zealand answered the questions either in blog post comments, separate blog posts, or private e-mails.
This research identified a number of themes arising from the data around informal mentoring and the related concept of a Personal Learning Network. It found that relationships formed on Twitter have elements in common with mentoring relationships, although other terms may be used and the participants may have varying understandings of the mentoring concept. A redefinition of mentoring in the context of social media could be needed, and future research is necessary to continue the comparison of this concept with the established definition of a Personal Learning Network and peer-mentoring model.
This is a high level overview of the research results; full results will be presented in a ten minute lightning presentation at the Pub-SIG workshop at LIANZA Conference 2013. Please do come along to hear more about the particular themes and results I uncovered.
Thank you once again for being willing to answer my questions and participate in my research; I really appreciate your full answers and reflections on this topic.