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Department of Sociology News

Kent State Sociology Professor Ranks Influential on Twitter

Posted Apr. 2, 2012

David Purcell, assistant professor of sociology, is influencing his colleagues in the field of sociology and his followers – one tweet at a time. 

WorldWideLearn.com, a directory of online, campus and training courses and degree programs, recently recognized Purcell as one of the Top 50 Influential Sociology Professors on Twitter.

Purcell says he is surprised by the recognition and he is pleased that his influence is being recognized. Purcell uses Twitter as a tool to spread scholarly information to the public. 

“It’s important to communicate outside of the academic arena and for the public to know more about our research, so I try to reach out to everyone,” Purcell says. “I am fortunate that my career allows me to engage people in the field. Twitter has also enabled me to communicate with academics at other universities and in other disciplines that I might not have met otherwise.”

He says he mainly posts ideas and links to articles regarding his specialized area of sociology, including inequality in social class, gender, race, neighborhoods and culture. Purcell posts information about his personal interests, such as sports and music, too.

Department of Sociology Chair Richard Serpe explains that Twitter is an effective form of communication, and he thinks Purcell is successfully using the social media tool.

“In education, we are always trying to legitimate the relevance of our analysis. Like many, and a growing number of young faculty within higher education, Dave Purcell has found that using social media is one effective modality,” Serpe says. “Obviously, given the number of people who follow him on Twitter, his ability to communicate sophisticated ideas in this form is exceptional, just like his classroom teaching.”

Purcell ranks among professors from prestigious universities, such as Duke University, Harvard University, Columbia University and Northwestern University.

WorldWideLearn.com chose the top sociology professors based on the following criteria:

  • The quality of their tweets;
  • The college or university they work for;
  • Their number of followers; and
  • How actively involved they are

The professors are not ranked chronologically from 1 to 50; it is just a comprehensive listing.

Serpe says Purcell is included with major sociologists who are at major universities and who are considered among the best in the field, making this a proud moment for the Department of Sociology  and the university. “Kent State University is lucky to have such a dedicated faculty member who thinks teaching is not only honorable, but something that goes far beyond the walls of the university," he says.

With this designation, Purcell has gained 50 additional followers giving him more than 1,130 followers.

For more information about Purcell and the Department of Sociology, visit www.kent.edu/sociology or visit his Twitter page @davepurcell