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This short deck is from a panel talk at USC on leveraging social media for research and scholarship on 2/14/14.
- Although there are myriad ways in which one might want to use social networking to enhance one’s scholarly profile, one of the best ways, in my opinion, is academia dot edu. These are the characteristics I find compelling and which I’ll address in pairs.
- Current academic disciplines coalesced during the ascendency of print literacy. In the digital era, they need rethinking. Until that time however, we must be scrappy about how we gather and share research. The fact that A/E is international in scope helps us break down barriers to knowledge even as it allows us to find fresh scholarship more easily. The work that I do in new media requires me to stay abreast of things such as fair use judgments, and technical innovations. A/E lets me do this by establishing research interests. I added a recent article that was published last October, and within 48 hours it was read in 17 countries. I’d say that is unprecedented.
Tagging as a central logic is increasingly important to consider in these days of search engines. If one is interdisciplinary, it is nearly impossible to keep abreast of the many communities or journals in every field your work touches. Moreover, we can all benefit from exposure to other field’s approach to concepts and methods. Since tagging is the central logic, you can actually find topics across disciplines. This also acts as an analytic tool which one can use for tenure and promotion since one’s work is tracked.
These last two points are somewhat smaller but perhaps important. Increasingly we face profile fatigue—that is the need to make current multiple profiles on sites such as LinkdIn, Facebook, Acdemia.edu, Google Plus, Twitter, Media Commons—can be daunting and terribly repetitive. While I do like to keep some federation in my profiles, AE includes widgets for Twitter, Google and Facebook which can help to mitigate some of this fatigue as updating one can update the others.
Moreover, the provenance of the site is not corporate but grounded in academe and this, for me, argues for its usefulness as well as its ideological grounding.
In closing, let me just recall the fact the in 1945, Vannevar Bush decried the harmful effects of information overload and poor data management noting that Mendel’s groundbreaking work on genetics was lost to the world for a generation because it was not accessible to those who might expand upon it. Almost 70 years later this situation has increased exponentially. Bush was arguing for the MEMEX which many credit with being the blueprint for the computer—using social media to harness the power of computing is a worthwhile endeavor.
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