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Social Media For Researchers


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Social Media for researchers - slides updated with local resources for UC Davis.

Social Media for researchers - slides updated with local resources for UC Davis.

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  • 1. Social Media for Researchers #UCDSocMed @hollybik Eisen Lab, UC Davis Genome Center April 10, 2014
  • 2. “Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.”
  • 3. Social media tools & their uses Professional Profiles (Public info about your job & achievements) •  Professional Website – What you should maintain AT MINIMUM. Necessary to curate your own Google Search results! Register your own domain and install the Wordpress platform using your web hosting service – easy to use with many flexible layout options. –  My example: •  Google Scholar – Keep track of your publications and citations. Also allows you to get literature recomendations based on your research interests. –  My example: •  LinkedIn – Potentially important for job applications where HR departments pre-screen candidates. Update occasionally (major milestones or new jobs), but for scientists I’ve found no need for regular engagement. –  My example: •  Communities for Scientists –, ResearchGate, Mendeley; you may decide to use these too. But beware of having too many profiles to maintain!
  • 4. Social Media tools & their uses Short-form (more ephemeral, minimal time investment) •  Twitter – messages <140 characters, can post thoughts, soundbytes, links, pictures, videos. •  Facebook – personal profiles (pictures, status updates, etc.), groups and “pages”. But people can be wary about privacy settings (not accepting friend requests professional colleagues, or eschewing Facebook altogether). •  Microblogging – Tumblr (photos, quotes), Pinterest (visual ‘pinboard’ of images)
  • 5. Social media tools & their uses Long-form (more longevity, but more time investment) •  Blogs – independent (e.g. a free Blogger/Wordpress account) or linked to an established blog network (Scientific American, Nature Network) •  Video content – Youtube. Catchy visuals can be more effective than long written pieces. Difficult and time consuming to achieve high production quality. •  Podcasting – iTunes. Another different media form. Also can be just as time consuming to produce as video content.
  • 6. How do I start? •  Define your goals –  What do you want to achieve? •  Define your audience –  Who do you envision talking to? Other scientists (inside/outside your discipline)? Journalists? Educators? The general public? •  Choose specific platforms which help you achieve your goals –  How much time do you want to invest? –  What medium is best for conferring your message?
  • 7. Research –  Professional Networking – Build your “brand” and reputation by connecting with colleagues –  Content curation/creation – Blogging about research, linking to and amalgamating media sources, e.g. news articles, videos, Storifys –  Community building - Particularly relevant for niche topics or interdisciplinary research Outreach –  Increasing the visibility of scientists (and branding them as ‘experts’) –  Cutting out the middleman - scientists can communicate directly with interested members of the public. Conversations are also archived for future reference (dependent on platform)
  • 8. a Tweet, dissected Hashtag Save Share Later Twitter Handle Share Now, Rebroadcast Respond
  • 9. Let’s Tweet! #UCDSocMed
  • 10. Primary ways I use Social Media •  Blogging about my own publications – provides a reference for journalists, disseminates my research •  At Conferences/Meetings/Workshops - taking notes and socializing •  As a personalized information filter – staying informed of grants, research opportunities, new papers •  As an excuse/motivation to expand my knowledge and develop writing skills – blogging about marine genomics research at
  • 11. Conference Tweeting •  Tweeting soundbytes from talks – taking notes, disseminating conference content •  Discussing talks with other audience members (and remote participants) during conference sessions •  Networking - interactions on twitter can introduce you to new people, and also serve as icebreakers before you meet other conference participants in real life
  • 12. Storify
  • 13. Tips and Guidance •  Scientific benefits can result –  new collaborations –  manuscripts –  research funding –  interactions across the boundaries of your discipline, –  increased efficiency (e.g. obtaining PDFs, getting quick answers to questions) –  obtaining samples or leveraging others’ fieldwork •  Online interactions will BROADEN your real life professional networks
  • 14. Tips and Guidance •  Social Media requires an initial time investment –  Setting up accounts, exploring features, connecting with others –  OK to initially observe and "lurk” –  Explore different tools and decide what works best. Consistent use of fewer tools is better than spreading yourself too thin. •  Don't be afraid to ask for help –  There are many established and friendly communities online where people are always willing to help •  Social Media will save you time in the long run –  Provides filters and customization for information –  Many existing tools for aggregation and cross-platform synching (see last slide)
  • 15. Perils – external perceptions •  Perception and reputation in research – “When do you have time to do science?” •  Aimless interactions or misdirected goals – Lots of information on the internet and its easy to get overloaded with different tools and lightspeed conversations – Distraction potential – wasting time
  • 16. The Importance of Metrics •  Online tools give us metrics to track the impact and dissemination of online content –  Data is critical for quantifying impact and refining the use of online tools for researchers –  Data will also be necessary for promoting acceptance in academic circles; metrics dispel the perception that online activities are a “waste of time”, e.g. in job searches, tenure review, tracking project outputs –  ImpactStory - –  Website statistics – StatCounter, Google Analytics
  • 17. Bik HM, Goldstein MC (2013) An Introduction to Social Media for Scientists. PLoS Biology, 11(4):e1001535.
  • 18. Pre-workshop Questions •  Privacy Issues –  My rule: never post sensitive information online (home address, phone number, etc.) –  Even email is not private! E.g. a notorious and contentious point for Gmail… •  Legal and Copyright issues – posting your journal articles online? –  Applies to slides you post too; I use SlideShare to post my talk slides, and have to be careful with pictures (attribution of all sources, making sure pictures are Creative-Commons licensed). Flickr has a good search tool for CC-licenced pictures.
  • 19. Pre-workshop Questions •  Accepted ways for scholars to promote themselves – university vs. personal websites –  Maintain both; even senior PIs usually have their own external lab webpages. Link to external site on Univ. page •  When is it OK to share? How to avoid being scooped? –  Argument that some online activities make it less likely to be scooped (e.g. manuscript preprints). Transparency = attribution? –  I think it’s a personal decision about how much/when to share data. –  Remember, conference talks are “public” – people taking notes (or pictures) of your research at meetings •  How to advertise your social media accounts? –  I usually put Twitter handles on talk slides, posters, nametags, and across online professional profiles
  • 20. …and now Twitter handles on your papers too!
  • 21. Pre-workshop Questions •  How to avoid being “stuffy” in your online persona without being too “goofy”? –  Give it some thought: What are you personally comfortable with, and also unwilling to do? –  Experiment! Try different tools and approaches until you find a combination that works. It’s a long-term process. •  Advice for Shortcuts and Time Management? –  Automate social media as much as possible – plugins that push blog content to Twitter, Facebook; Tweet schedulers like Buffer help with time management –  Limit your social media use so it doesn’t cut into research time – e.g. 10 minutes in the morning, lunch, and evening. I write blog posts in 30-min increments of #madwriting
  • 22. Pre-workshop Questions •  How do I get more followers? –  Be patient: it takes time –  I’ve found that tweeting at conferences is one of the best ways to get build followers –  Make a commitment to post regular content and engage with online conversations •  Why should researchers use social media? –  You may be missing out – many important conversations happen online (e.g. genomics, where most cutting-edge research is unpublished, or available as blog posts, manuscript preprints) –  A way to distinguish yourself – I think a track record in social media will have long-term benefits for grant applications (e.g. broader impacts), and job prospects
  • 23. Pre-workshop Questions General Advice/Guidelines for Blog posts and Tweets –  Evan Bailyn, author of “Outsmarting Social Media”: #1 commandment for building an online presence (a brand, your professional reputation, or an online community)? Create excellent and unique content, frequently: ideally every day. –  Shorter blog posts are often better (400-500 words) – easier to produce on a regular basis, & some arguments that they get more readers. People have limited attention span on the internet (that’s why BuzzFeed is so popular..). –  At Deep-sea News we aim for mixed content – from quick video/picture posts to long, in-depth posts (>1000 words). Pictures are always eye-catching and break up written text. –  Group blogs can save time – less pressure, but blog activitiy also gives you motivation. I blog at too many places, but actually blog most at Deep-sea News (group blog – I always think I’m letting down the group if I don’t contribute for a while). Other people can fill in during hectic times (travel, career transitions). –  Tweeting – usually to advertise an event I’ll tweet far in advance (at 1 month, 2 weeks, 1 week before), and then more frequently just beforehand (1 day, 6 hours, 1 hour, when event starts, & just after event finishes). Tweets get buried quickly, so promoting at different times means different people will see/share it.
  • 24. Advanced Tools •  Twitter Management Tools – TweetDeck, Hootsuite •  Feed Aggregators – Feedly for Blogs and RSS feeds (e.g. new journal articles) •  Mobile Apps – Twitter, Facebook, etc. Most companies offer dedicated apps across iPhone/iPad/Android devices
  • 25. Local Resources •  #UCDavis – hashtag for campus & local events •  @CapSciComm – Sacramento Area group for science communication and social media; lots of in person networking events • – Notable/ useful Davis Twitter accounts