Social Network Site Guidelines

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Social Network Site Guidelines

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Social Network Site Guidelines

  1. 1. Guidelines on how to use this site.............................................................................. 1 Introduction........................................................................................................... 1 Social Media ......................................................................................................... 1 Key aspects of being online ................................................................................... 2 Identification ..................................................................................................... 2 Netiquette.......................................................................................................... 2 Ethics ................................................................................................................ 3 Use of images and other types of digital content .................................................... 4 Using Blogs........................................................................................................... 4 Customisation.................................................................................................... 4 Blog comments.................................................................................................. 5 Tags & Categories ............................................................................................. 5 Participating in Discussion Fora & writing on people’s wires (personal pages) ...... 6 Documents ............................................................................................................ 6 Formatting......................................................................................................... 6 Guidelines on how to use this site Introduction As part of the virtual Doctoral School we have developed a set of guidelines for all the members of this network. These guidelines provide advice and practical hints on how to use social media in an academic context. Below you will find the current version of those guidelines. The guidelines will be revised and updated as necessary to keep up with the developments of the participatory web. Social Media Social Media refers to interactive web-technologies which enable individuals to create and disseminate information widely and in an interactive way. It consists of a set of tools and approaches to produce and share content, collaborate, and also record this process as part of a shared “journey”. Social Media allows the individual to take part in a wider context, where they can make their work more available and open to discussion. It can also facilitate opportunities to create new forms of professional networking and participation in distributed learning communities, which will ultimately help raise one’s professional profile. The decision to use social media should always be based on the goals set out by the individual and/or their team. Decisions regarding the use of social media should never be driven by the wish of ‘playing’ with any currently fashionable application, but rather by the need to complement or provide alternatives to face to face networking and collaboration across time and space. Hence, it’s crucial to clearly define goals and purposes for its use, as well as identifying its potential and added value even before starting using these technologies. For those facilitating group activity within the Virtual Doctoral School, we strongly advise you plan for a medium-term member activity strategy and keep updating it based on the group’s response. Finally, we recommend facilitators ease the 1
  2. 2. introduction of their peers onto this space by providing guidance and promoting engaging dialogues. Key aspects of being online Anything we publish online becomes part of our digital footprint, which inevitably has an impact on our Digital Identity (reputation). That is not to say that having an online presence is negative. These days we could argue just the opposite. Nevertheless, we do need to consider the pros and the cons of being online. Below we list some of the key aspects to bear in mind when venturing into the social media world. Identification Use your name. Do not create several online ‘personas’ as part of your professional profile. Be consistent. It will help people recognise you across networks and communities. It also helps with the google search! Make sure the profile name being publicly displayed in the network is your real name, even if your username is a set of numbers and/or letters (eg. Sal74). After all, you are not a robot! Fill out your personal profile page with relevant information. Sharing your research interests helps others identify a connection with you. Add a face to your name. Pictures are nice! Do not publish any personal information you don’t wish others to have access to. Not everyone needs to know your mobile phone or home address! Netiquette Make relevant and respectful contributions to the network using the different communication tools available: blogs, discussion fora, member’s wires (personal pages), etc. Try to add value to those environments, by sharing meaningful information and insights. Communicate with care. In this space your writing will portray you and your work. So, develop a voice that represents you as an approachable individual. Do not use this space to ‘push information’ on to other members, but rather to engage in conversations and create collaborative links. Disseminating information online effectively requires the development of such synergies. Just think about it: even broadcast TV is interactive these days! Adopt an accessible writing style. It should be less formal than academic writing, but also not as colloquial as street talk. Find a balance that reflects your personality. 2
  3. 3. Do not tolerate any kind of abusive or aggressive language/behaviour in this space, nor react to it by using the same register. Yet do not ignore it either; rather report it. Remember: we are all humans. Online interaction is not that different from face to face contact. Yet the computer screen may convey a sense of a shield. It should not be an excuse to post inconsiderate remarks or comments about other people or their ideas. Provide and allow critical feedback from your peers. This is probably the greatest added value of connecting to like-minded people. However there’s a fine line between constructive and patronising feedback. Always reflect about what you are about to publish. Ask yourself: Would I reply in the same way in a face to face context? How would I feel if I got the same kind of feedback? Be aware of possible cultural differences and linguistic styles amongst members. Distinguish between ‘flaming’ and lack of linguistic sensibility. Do you understand what I’m saying? (I’m not calling you stupid! This is just an expression commonly used in my native language to check you are still with me ;-)) Avoid writing entire phrases in upper case. It means YOU ARE SHOUTING! To highlight any given chunks of content use bold or *asterisks*. Use it with moderation though. Do not underline words. People will think it is a link. Use italics instead. Keep your comments in blogs and discussion fora focused. Try not to go off-topic. It doesn’t help the discussion and discourages other people from participating. Furthermore, it doesn’t increase your credibility amongst your community either. You do have a (digital) professional reputation to keep! Share your expertise. Everyone in this network will have something to contribute to others’ learning. Everyone will have different experiences, ideas and opinions to share. Don’t hold it back. The more you share, the more you’ll receive, and the more you will learn. Communication is a two-way road. As for the full script of your PhD dissertation, do share it too, but only after you have passed the Viva please! Ethics Be aware of the ethics. If your research deals with sensitive information, make sure everything you make publicly available does not infringe any ethical agreement or jeopardise your research. This site offers spaces for private/closed communication for such cases. If you are unsure about the ethics of publishing any given content, contact your supervisor before you hit the ‘publish’ button. For more information on Research Governance & Ethics at the University of Salford browse here. 3
  4. 4. Use of images and other types of digital content Use images which are copyright free, or which you have been granted permission to (re)use. The same applies to other forms of (digital) content you may decide to use in this space. Further information about this can be found here. Always credit authors for their work. Reference citations (The full reference usually comes at the bottom of your blogpost). Do not copy information created by other people as if it were yours, even if it was just published on a random forum/blog online. In such cases, make sure to always provide a link to the original source. You also like others to credit you for your work, don’t you? So, remember to credit their work too! Using Blogs Customisation Give your blog a title and a URL (web address suffix in this case) that relates to you or expresses your research interests. eg.: johnsmith or urban_regeneration. Keep the URL short. Don’t try to invent strange URLs. What may be seen as funny now, in a couple of months down the line might not. And URLs can stay there forever... and that is a long time! Personalise your blog. Choose a blog theme that resembles your area of research. White and dark backgrounds make reading on the screen easier. Always consider your readership! Create an ‘About’ page so people can learn more about you as a researcher. Use it to publish your biography and summary of your research. Create a ‘Contact’ page to allow people to get in touch with you privately, if they wish so. Remember, by default your blog is accessible outside the network site. This means non network members can also read and comment on your blog. Don’t worry; the chances of you getting hundreds of emails a day are slim! If you do, that’s probably spam! Add square brackets [ ] around the @ to avoid spam. eg: username[@]mail.com Add an “Articles’ page where you can list all your academic publications. Transform your blog into a ‘blogfolio’ (an interactive e-portfolio) Link your blog to your other professional network profiles. eg: LinkedIn, academia.edu. It helps people find you in there. Write a disclaimer, and add it to your blog. This basically protects you and your institution from being persecuted. You can opt to add a new page with a full description. However, for personal blogs, a full sentence or paragraph summarising 4
  5. 5. the intents of your blog might be easier for readers to engage with. Add your single line/single paragraph disclaimer to your blog template (through the widget>>text options in your dashboard). See examples of blog disclaimers here. Post frequently. At least once a week. It keeps your audience interested. Write short rather than long blogposts (one screen size posts). But don’t write in post- it format. You need to engage your audience. Write from a personal point of view. There is nothing more boring than reading blogposts which just collect information from other sources. What people will look for in your blog is your personal, passionate and reflected opinion about a current event, or any given topic in your research area. Blog comments You can choose to hold comments in moderation (default option). It means that you will receive an email notifying you of it, and asking you to approve it on your dashboard. This allows you to read comments before they are published for others to read and decide if it is appropriate for publishing. Blog comments are used to trigger discussions. Visit other blogs and add your thoughts to it, if you think you have something meaningful to add. Leave a link to your own blog (in the respondent’s details box), so others know where to ‘find’ you. Subscribe to comments to keep up with the discussion. NB: Saying things like: I like your blog. Nice post! etc is not as productive as starting a conversation on that topic. As the owner of a blog, reply to people’s comments, whenever you have something else relevant to add. Do not delete or leave comments unpublished if they express an opinion contrary to yours. See them as an opportunity to explore new ideas and drive new discussions. Preventing the publication of such comments on your blogposts just annoys people. If they don’t get it published there, they might publish it on their own blog or somewhere else, which is far worse! Some comments are harder to answer than others. It is OK to leave comments awaiting moderation for a couple of days until you have found the right tone to answer them. Just don’t forget them! Tags & Categories Tags, also called labels, are a kind of micro meta-data often associated with online user generated content. Tags are keywords created by online users to describe the contents they create. 5
  6. 6. Use as many tags as you possible can to classify and describe in detail the content of individual blogposts. It helps your blog to be indexed higher by search engines. Develop a set of categories for your blog (max.10). These should give your readers a general idea about the topics featured in your blog. Categories are useful to organise the contents of your blog. When users click on one of the categories, your blog with list all posts which have been categorised with that specific category. It’s a great feature for blogs’ internal organisation and search of content. Managing your blogging expectations Blogs are home for individuals’ public thoughts and ideas. Do not start a blog to become popular. See a blog as a shared space for reflection and construction of dialogues. Eventually, it will get known in your area. Until it does, there are some aspects to bear in mind. Link here for some practice tips and guidance regarding this issue. Participating in Discussion Fora & writing on people’s wires (personal pages) Make use of the netiquette & Ethics guidelines described above. Documents Any document you upload to this Social Network Site should be yours or comply with copyleft regulations. No copyrighted materials should be uploaded on to this website without the expressed permission of its author, in which case they should explicitly be credited for. Always brand your document. It does not have to be anything fancy, but it helps people recognise the source. How many time have you come across documents in your hard drive which you no longer remember where they are from or who they belong to? Formatting Whenever possible pdf your documents before uploading them on to the Network Site. It is easier to upload. It works practically on every system. Add a title to your document. Add a note at the end of the document with your name, and affiliation, etc. Always number the pages of your document. Copyright your document with an appropriate license. 6
  7. 7. Last updated: 02 June 2010 Cristina Costa C.MendesdaCosta@salford.ac.uk Research and Graduate College University of Salford This work has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non- Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence. More on CC licenses here 7

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