15 Professors With An Impressive Social Media Presence

Social media is one of the defining features of the 21st century. It is a tool which can be used for many different purposes including networking, campaigning, and even interacting with like-minded people. It should therefore come as no surprise that even professors take to social media and some enjoy a reasonable following too. Social media is an excellent platform for these well renowned individuals to share their knowledge and insights with their legions of followers. Here are some of the professors who boast huge fan following on social media.

Glen Gilmore

Twitter Handle: @GlenGilmore
University Affiliation: Rutgers University

Area of Expertise: Law and privacy in social media and digital marketing

Glen Gilmore is an influential professor and a digital marketing expert. One look at his Twitter feed will fill you with a wealth of information and insight into social media, ideas on strategy, as well as all the latest news. A practicing lawyer, Gilmore is sharp and analytical, and is also the head of the social media marketing company, the Gilmore Business Network.

He is an adjunct professor at Rutgers University where he lectures on law and privacy in social media as well as digital marketing.

Some of the recognition he has received includes being listed as seventh on Forbes' Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers list. The New York Times even called him a national hero following the 2001 "Amerithrax" attacks, and Time Magazine dubbed him a man of action.

Lucy P. Marcus

Twitter Handle: @lucymarcus
University Affiliation: IE Business School
Area of Expertise: Leadership and Governance

Lucy P. Marcus is a powerful voice in the business world. As a self-proclaimed 'thinker/doer', Marcus is not only a high-profile columnist, but also a contributing writer for numerous publications as well as the CEO and founder of a consulting company called Marcus Ventures. Since 2011 she has been the Professor of Leadership and Governance at the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain.

When it comes to social media, her areas of expertise include economic trends, private equity, and technology. She has received numerous accolades and has been recognized on numerous occasions for her immense contributions. Management Today named her as one of the 50 most powerful women in Britain, and Reuters & Klout included her on their list of 50 Most Influential Execs on the Web.

Jay Rosen

Twitter Handle: @jayrosen_nyu
University Affiliation: New York University
Area of Expertise: Journalism/Media Critic

If you’re a media buff, you may be familiar with Jay Rosen. After all, he happens to be one of the most iconic media critics in the industry.

Rosen is a professor of journalism at New York University for over 30 years. He also received his Ph.D. from the same university.

His writing is engaging and insightful, and he has been published in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Harper’s Magazine. He was also featured on TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds in 2012. Here’s what the magazine had to say about him:

“Rosen is the professor every college student in the country wishes they had. He understands that a digital revolution is striking all industries, not just journalism,”

Marion Nestle

Twitter Handle: @marionnestle
University Affiliation: New York University
Area of Expertise: Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health

Marion Nestle is a Paulette Goddard Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. She is incredibly knowledgeable in her field and has an uncanny ability to share complex information succinctly, in very effective ways. For this purpose, social media, especially Twitter, has been very useful for her. In fact, she was included on TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds list in 2011.

Here’s what TIME had to say about her: “When journalists need to understand how an agricultural policy or nutrition guideline will affect public health, they call Marion Nestle. So you may as well go straight to the source on her Twitter feed. Nestle has an unparalleled ability to parse USDA reports and cut through the hype to deliver sane, informed nutritional information you can use.” If you follow Nestle on Twitter, you can expect a feed full of engaging and informative news reports and information relating to food and nutrition.

Steve Blank

Twitter Handle: @sgblank
University Affiliation: Stanford University, Columbia University, The Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley and California Institute of Technology
Area of Expertise: Entrepreneurship

If you’re interested in becoming an entrepreneur, or building up your entrepreneurial skills, you may want to consider following Steve Blank. Blank is a startup guru with immense entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.

In 2007, Blank spoke at a Google Tech Talk in which he gave invaluable Silicon Valley insights and an in-depth insider perspective on the inner workings of Silicon Valley. He also spoke extensively about his unique customer development method, which helped him greatly in the initial phases of his startup.

As a prolific and successful entrepreneur, Blank has a lot of useful information and insight to share. When he isn’t sharing his pearls of wisdom over social media, or giving informational talks, Blank can be found at Stanford University, where he is a consulting professor of entrepreneurship. He also teaches at other universities.

Gary Schirr

Twitter Handle: @ProfessorGary
University Affiliation: Radford University
Area of Expertise: Marketing

Here’s a professor whose huge social media presence and influence may have to do with one thing in particular; the fact that he is a self-described ‘social media fanatic’. Professor Schirr is a marketing teacher at Virginia’s Radford University and is one of the best marketing professors in the world.

He has even been ranked third on Social Media Marketing Magazine’s 2013 list of the Top Marketing Professors On Twitter. Their criteria for choosing the people on this list was as follows:

These are the top 100 marketing professors around the world who:

  1. Provide useful content
  2. Consistently engage with their followers
  3. Truly ‘get it’ when it comes to the best ways to use Twitter.

Mark Schaefer

Twitter Handle: @MarkWSchaefer
University Affiliation: Rutgers University and other prestigious schools such as Oxford, Princeton and New York University
Area of Expertise: Marketing

It’s probably not too surprising why Mark Schaefer is so popular on Twitter – after all, he did self-publish a bestselling Twitter guide in 2010. The book, called The Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time is really a comprehensive guidebook to Twitter.

This professor, author, and social media guru was even listed as the TweetSmarter Twitter User of the Year in 2011. Then, in 2012, Forbes included him on its list of the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers.

When he’s not busy being hugely influential on social media, Schaefer is an adjunct marketing professor at Rutgers University. In addition, he also lectures at a number of prestigious schools including Oxford, New York University, and Princeton.

Richard Florida

Twitter Handle: @Richard_Florida
University Affiliation: Rotman School of Management - University of Toronto
Area of Expertise: Business and Creativity

According to the National Post, Florida is possibly “the world’s most influential living urban theorist”. This high praise is definitely befitting of this professor of business and creativity at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. He takes a unique and creative approach to learning socioeconomic concepts. He has developed a system to rank cities which includes unique criteria such as ‘gay’ and ‘diversity’ indexes. His theories are, however, not without their critics.

Nevertheless, his hugely influential Twitter page was included in TIME’s The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011 list.

Paul Krugman

Twitter Handle: @NYTimeskrugman
University Affiliation: Princeton University, as well as the London School of Economics
Area of Expertise: Economics

Renowned professor and U.S. economist Paul Krugman is a force to be reckoned with. He’s hugely popular on social media, has a Nobel Prize, and is a columnist for the New York Times. He is a professor of economics at Princeton University and a Centenary Professor at the prestigious London School of Economics.

He is frequently hailed as one of the most important academics in America and has over one million followers on Twitter. There, you can expect regular links to all of his various online works. Therefore, don’t expect any personal tweets or personalized messages; this professor means business.

Dr. Jennifer Aaker

Twitter Handle: @aaker
University Affiliation: Stanford GSB
Area of Expertise: Marketing

Dr. Jennifer Aaker is a social psychologist who is a General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. In addition to conducting extensive research on the psychology of money, time, and happiness, Aaker is continuously pushing the boundaries in the field of psychology of happiness and how it is affected by digital and social media. For all of her work and efforts, she has been recognized with the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for Consumer Psychology and the Stanford Distinguished Teaching Award.

She is also one of the co-authors of an award winning book, The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change.

If you head over to her Twitter page, you’ll see informative tweets on marketing, business, twitter, and psychology.

Brian Cox

Twitter Handle: @ProfBrianCox
University Affiliation: University of Manchester
Area of Expertise: Physics

Brian Cox is a well-known English physicist who is hugely popular on social media. This probably has something to do with the fact that he looks like the coolest professor in academia that you’ve ever seen. He sports a distinctive and cool indie rock band look (he even played in a 90s pop band!) and appears on numerous shows. He frequently hosts BBC shows in which he tackles complex subjects such as physics and astronomy. Yet, when he speaks about them, he makes the subject matter more readily digestible. Whoever thought physics could be hip and cool!

In addition to his TV appearances, Cox is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and a PPARC Advanced Fellow at the University of Manchester. This is the university from which he got his bachelor’s degree, MPhil, as well as a doctorate in physics. He’s also a member of the particle physics team at the University of Manchester. This team is involved with CERN’s large Hadron Collider experiment.

If you want to follow this really cool physics professor, head on over to his Twitter page where he has over 1.2 million followers.

Cornel West

Twitter Handle: @CornelWest
University Affiliation: Princeton University
Area of Expertise: Philosophy

Cornel West is one of the most well known academics in the US.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in 1973 and then in 1980, he became the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Princeton University. A self-described ‘champion for racial justice’, West is an outspoken public intellectual with a huge Twitter following. His tweets cover a vast array of topics including social equality, philosophy, racial justice, and he even shares his passion for jazz and blues with his followers.

In the 90’s, West was a professor at Harvard for African American Studies. That ended when he publically fell out with the then president of Harvard, Lawrence Summers. He then took up a teaching position at Princeton University in 2002. After retiring from Princeton in 2011, he became Professor of Religious Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.

For those of you who think West looks familiar, it’s probably because he appeared in Matrix. How cool is that.

Lawrence Lessig

Twitter Handle: @Lessig
University Affiliation: Harvard University
Area of Expertise: Law and Ethics

As a director for the Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and Roy L. Furman Professor of Law, Professor Lawrence Lessig is a high profile political activist with words of wisdom for everyone.

Lessig is deeply passionate about what he tweets about, and his enthusiasm is contagious. Among the many topics that he tweets about include copyright concerns, ‘free culture’, as well as free software.

His Twitter profile is followed by hordes of people and is such an influential profile that it was included in TIME’s The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013 list.  This is what they had to say about him: “When Internet culture and the legal system collide, you’re bound to find Harvard professor and political activist Lawrence Lessig near the action.”

James Hirsen

Twitter Handle: @thejimjams
University Affiliation: Biola University
Area of Expertise: Journalism, Law and Ethics

Professor James Hirsen has had an interesting career. Before pursuing his academic interests, he was a musician who played the keyboards in a 60s pop group known as the Temptations.  He then followed this up by pursuing a career as a bestselling author, law professor, news analyst, and columnist.

Today, Hirsen is an adjunct professor of journalism at Biola University in Southern California. He also lectures on law and ethics.

Those interested in following Hirsen can expect a barrage of tweets about everything from current affairs and entertainment stories, to all the latest news. He is witty, lighthearted, and full of knowledge for his followers to benefit from.

Michio Kaku

Twitter Handle: @michiokaku
University Affiliation: City College of New York 
Area of Expertise: Theoretical Physics

Michio Kaku, a self-described ‘famed futurist’, is a vivacious and charismatic theoretical physicist, television personality, and author. Among the list of books he has published is the New York Times bestselling Physics of the Future, and Physics of the Impossible. He has also worked extensively on many different TV shows for the Science Channel, the Discovery Channel, as well as the BBC.

Kaku received his PhD in physics in 1972. Since then, he has gone on to teach at Princeton University and currently, he teaches at the City University of New York as the Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics.

He uses Twitter and social media extensively to keep his followers in the loop about what he is up to. This includes updates about his lectures and media appearances so that people can coordinate where to see him, whether in person or on TV.

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