Spam and Educators’ Twitter Use: Methodological Challenges and Considerations

Jeffrey P. Carpenter, K. Bret Staudt Willet, Matthew J. Koehler, Spencer P. Greenhalgh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Twitter and other social media have assumed important places in many educators’ professional lives by hosting spaces where new kinds of collegial interactions can occur. However, such spaces can also attract unwelcome Twitter traffic that complicates researchers’ attempts to explore and understand educators’ professional social media experiences. In this article, we define various kinds of spam that we have identified in our research on educators’ uses of Twitter. After providing an overview of the concept of spam, we evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to addressing the presence of spam in educator-focused Twitter spaces. Then we suggest practical, holistic metrics that can be employed to help identify spam. Through secondary analyses of our past research, we describe the use of such metrics to identify and deal with spam in three specific cases. Finally, we discuss implications of spam and these suggested methods for teacher educators, instructional designers and educational technology researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-469
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Association for Educational Communications & Technology.


  • Hashtags
  • Professional community
  • Professional learning
  • Research methods
  • Social media
  • Spam
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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