The paper reports on a major international questionnaire survey that investigated the use of social media in the research workflow. The topic is the second to emerge from the Charleston Observatory. The study of more than 2000 researchers shows that social media impact on all points of the research lifecycle, from identifying research opportunities to disseminating findings at the end. The three most popular social media tools in a research setting were those for collaborative authoring, conferencing, and scheduling meetings. The most popular brands used tend to be mainstream anchor technologies or ‘household brands’, like Twitter and Skype. Age is a poor predictor of social media use in a research context and scientists avail themselves most of social media. Journals, conference proceedings and edited books remain the core traditional means of disseminating research, with institutional repositories highly valued as well, but social media has become an important complementary channel for disseminating and discovering research.