LoopMe is most likely the first social media platform designed, built and broadly used specifically for research purposes. LoopMe is therefore an illustrative example of a scientific social media platform. But what is “scientific social media”, or SSM?

An SSM platform is a social media platform optimized for social science purposes and used primarily for data collection and analysis. One way to describe SSM is to compare it to its neighbours, see Table 10.1 from a book chapter about LoopMe (download it here). Whereas the purpose of traditional social media platforms is to connect people (and to sell ads), the purpose of an SSM platform is to facilitate learning for practitioners and researchers.

In an SSM platform, practitioners learn from social learning situations triggered by the SSM platform, and researchers learn from analyzing the huge amounts of data that is produced through the platform. This gives completely new benefits for both practitioners and for researchers. We are just beginning to understand the many benefits that can come from an SSM approach to human action.

While the main area we are currently using LoopMe in is education, it could probably be used also in a broad variety of other areas such as health improvement, therapy, personal development, parenting, dieting, mentoring, leadership, entrepreneurship, sports, sales, personal finance and sustainability. Only future can tell.