The Wrong Way to Use Social Media for Research

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Here’s an example of the WRONG way to use social media for research purposes. “Please take a look at my About section and give me feedback. Is it easy to read and do you understand what I do?”

This post was in one of my professional groups. I see these requests a lot and THEY SCARE ME. Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely applaud anyone who seeks genuine feedback. But there are MUCH BETTER ways to do it.

Here’s why this makes me sad (because it won’t be very effective).

First, she’s not asking her target audience (cannabis oil users). Half the people who respond probably aren’t even vaguely in her market.

Second, there are no means to judge whether they actually understand. What’s the right answer here?

Third, “easy to read” is such a subjective question; people have very different interpretations of ease.

A better approach might be, “Hey cannabis oil users, I'm trying to see if my About section is communicating my message accurately. Could you please comment on what you think I’m saying?”

This defines who she wants feedback from and provides a method to evaluate whether they understand or not.


Got a question about research? I’ll be happy to answer it. Seriously, this stuff keeps me up at night. I wish I could tell her this.

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