Social media are go-to places for expertise and advice – that can benefit you both for your own information finding and for proving yourself as an expert in your community. Setting up your own presence allows others to differentiate between you and others with same/similar names or roles and establish yourself in the way you want to. Social media sites rank highly on Google Key figures – CEOs, Senior Managers, Research Councils, Leading Academics and Researchers, etc. are much more accessible via social media allowing you to build a great network. Social Media can lead to collaboration, employment, speaking, and other opportunities. Social media gives you a way to raise your profile for engaging, outreach etc.
Using social media to communicate your research
Using Social Media to
Communicate Your Research
Nicola Osborne, Social Media Officer
Heriot-Watt Crucible VI, 14th
March 2014, Edinburgh
What is Social Media?
• Social Media are any websites that allow you to contribute, to
engage, to connect with others and are “Web 2.0” tools
• Examples include:
– Blogs (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.)
– YouTube and Vimeo, Vine
– Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
– LinkedIn, Academia.edu, etc.
– Mendeley, Delicious, Diigo, Reddit, etc.
– Stack Overflow, Jelly
Why Use Social Media?
Social media tools…
• Are go-to spaces for expertise and advice.
• Offer new ways to tell stories, to engage in
dialogue, to reach out to your audience(s).
• Rank highly on Google, Bing, etc.
• Can enable direct access to key figures from
Principal Investigators to Research Councils to press
and potential research participants.
• May generate media interest in your work, new
collaborations and other unexpected opportunities.
• Offer inexpensive ways to raise your own profile and
that of your research.
What tools should you use?
• Blogs - make your work visible, enable semi-formal ways
to share working methods and progress, and provide a
way to find and engage in dialogue with your audience.
• Twitter - very effective way to share key research
updates, build a network around your work, find peer
support and advice, track news.
• Video or Audio - can bring clarity to complex concepts
quickly. Well-made short videos or animations can
convey complex concepts and research quickly,
accessibly and in very engaging sharable ways.
• Flickr, Pinterest, etc. – any images bring a project to
life – research is about people, ideas, events,
collaboration, equipment... Images make your ideas,
achievements and discoveries far more tangible.
What should you share?
• What your research is about and what it aims to
• Processes, updates, changes of approach – to the
extent that such transparency is appropriate and
• Quirky, playful and accessible content around your
work and research area.
• Publications, presentations, press mentions and
materials that reflect research outputs and expertise.
• CHECK ANY EXISTING PRIVACY, NON-DISCLOSURE
OR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICIES AND ENSURE YOUR
SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE OR ACTIVITY COMPLIES.
Blogs: What’s on my Blackboard?
Blogs: The Conversation
Blogs: Mary Beard
Facebook: I Fucking Love Science
Good Examples: NPR’s Seed to Shirt
Twitter: Joe Hanson
Planning Social Media Use
• Consider what goals you want to achieve, what you
want to share about your research. How can you
• Think about your audience(s): where do they hang
out online? What will engage them in your work?
How can you make it relevant to them?
• Be creative – what social media tools could help you
to communicate in new ways?
• Be pragmatic - what best fits your project’s style,
expertise, and time availability?
Planning Social Media Content
• Brand your presences and ensure you complete
your profile information. Always link back to your
definitive research profiles and project websites.
• Regularly share interesting engaging content,
use images, listen to and engage with the audiences
you are reaching out to.
• Ensure you keep profiles and presences up to
date and relevant, review their effectiveness, and
ensure they represent your work as you want it to
What should not be shared
• Commercially sensitive data or other material
your employer/PI would not want shared or that
might breach guidelines.
• Personal information about colleagues,
participants, those at partner organisation that might
breach Data Protection law or ethical guidance.
• Material (images, discussion board posts, tweets,
etc.) that might impact on your own professional
reputation or the credibility of your research.
• Anything you would not want a funder, professional
peer, project partner, or future employer to see or
• LSE. 2013. Impact of Social Sciences blog.
• Minocha, Shailey and Petre, Marian. 2012. UK: Vitae Innovate and Open University.
• O’Reilly, T. 2005. What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next
Generation of Software. In O’Reilly, 30th September 2005. Available from:
• Patel, S. 2011. 10 ways researchers can use Twitter. In Networked Researcher, 3rd
August 2011. Available from:
Privacy Settings Links:
• Facebook Privacy Settings:
• LinkedIn Privacy Settings:
• Guide to Google+ Privacy Settings:
Managing Your Identity Online
Useful Search Engine
• Google: http://www.google.com and Google Blog Search:
• Bing: http://www.bing.com/ and Bing Social Search:
• Whos talkin: http://whostalkin.com/
• Social Mention: http://www.socialmention.com/
• IceRocket: http://www.icerocket.com/
• Twitter Search: https://twitter.com/#!/search-home
• Topsy: http://topsy.com/
Useful Tools for Automatic Checking and Task Management
• Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts
• Tweetbeep: http://tweetbeep.com/
• IFTTT: https://ifttt.com/