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Introduction to Social Media for Researchers


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Slides from the Introduction to Social Media for Researchers course produced by Dr Helen Dixon for Postgraduate Research Students at Queen's University Belfast.

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Introduction to Social Media for Researchers

  1. 1. Introduction to Social Media for Researchers Dr Helen Dixon Information Services @SocialMediaQUB
  2. 2. Aims To show how social media tools can be integrated into research and researcher development strategies To critically evaluate the role of social media in the research process and the ethical issues that may arise To illustrate how social networking can facilitate career development and collaboration To reflect on the importance of establishing and managing an online profile @SocialMediaQUB
  3. 3. How can you use social media as a researcher? @SocialMediaQUB
  4. 4. The name of the game is to present oneself, via one’s tweets, posts, likes, comments, and shares, in the light in which one aspires to be viewed. http://philosophyforchange.wordpress .com/2012/07/26/foucault-and-social- media-the-call-of-the-crowd/ @SocialMediaQUB
  5. 5. Reasons for using social media To communicate more effectively and efficiently To facilitate knowledge transfer and exchange To work collaboratively To increase inter-disciplinary exchange To foster creativity To explore new methodologies To promote your research and its impact @SocialMediaQUB
  6. 6. Social media has the potential to reach those the research was intended to help create debate and influence academic peers spark public interest and raise the profile of research increase the chances of securing research funding or sponsorship for new projects build long term relationships with leading industry players open the door to potential commercial partnerships and consultancy work.  Northern Lights PR @SocialMediaQUB
  7. 7. Disadvantages Time management difficulties/distraction Information overload/white noise Intellectual property, privacy and security issues Loss of control Misinformation and premature publication Blurring of personal/professional boundaries Risk of bullying/abuse Lack of recognition for online efforts @SocialMediaQUB
  8. 8. Social media tools Interact/ Communicate • Facebook • Google+ • Wiki • Blog • Twitter • Storify • Audacity Share resources • • Instagram • SlideShare • YouTube • Pinterest • Delicious • Prezi Network • LinkedIn • Twitter • Yammer • Academia • ResearchGate • Cloudworks • Mendeley @SocialMediaQUB
  9. 9. WIIFM? As an academic you have information and expertise to share @SocialMediaQUB
  10. 10. What do you want social media to do for you? Online profile Expert status Personal brand Network Community Collaboration Research Data collection Publication Professional development Personal learning network Career opportunities
  11. 11. Introducing the Researcher 3.0 Profiles on website, blog, social media Up-to-date online presence Explores new methodologies Innovative technology user Promotes open access and sharing Collaborates & creates @SocialMediaQUB
  12. 12. Social media as an aid to research @SocialMediaQUB
  13. 13. Social media and the academic research process Collaboration Identification of knowledge Creation of knowledge Quality assurance of knowledge Dissemination of knowledge Social Media: A guide for Researchers | Research Information Network @SocialMediaQUB
  14. 14. Social media and research Identification of knowledge • Keep informed of research developments • Explore new methodologies • Social bookmarking • Networking • Conferences Creation of knowledge • Collaboration • Solicit expertise • Participate in discussions • Social research • Crowd-sourcing • Big data Quality assurance • Idea development and reflection • Peer review and feedback Dissemination of knowledge • Communicate expertise • Publish research findings • Promote publications
  15. 15. Social media as a research tool Real-time data • Analyse events as they happen Insights into attitudes • Evidence of beliefs Crowdsourcing • Help to gather/analyse data @SocialMediaQUB
  16. 16. “With 225 million users issuing half a billion tweets per day, Twitter represents the richest dataset to hit academia….well, maybe ever—a virtual Petri dish of real- time data, attractive to scholars of all disciplines, for studies of all sorts.” Erika Fry @SocialMediaQUB
  17. 17. “Social media data is not quantitative data, rather qualitative data on a quantitative scale.” Francesco D'Orazio The Future of Social Media in: Social Research: Blogs on Blurring the Boundaries by SAGE @SocialMediaQUB
  18. 18. Social media data • Comments, blogs, profiles, wikis • Mentions, hashtagsText • Sounds • Podcasts, interviewsAudio • Photographs, cartoons, memes, screenshots • Charts, maps, mind maps, diagramsVisual • Videos, webinars, hangouts • Animations, gamesVideo • Follows, likes, shares, retweets • Link/image clicks, downloadsAction @SocialMediaQUB
  19. 19. Dimensions of social data • What do they share?Content • Who are they?Demographics • How do they act?Behaviours • Who do they interact with?Networks • What other interests do they have?Interests @SocialMediaQUB
  20. 20. Analysing social media data • Connections, links, hashtags, mentions Network analysis • Structure of communications Discourse analysis • Categorising content Content analysis • Positive, negative, neutral Sentiment analysis • Word frequencies, social media metrics Summary statistics @SocialMediaQUB
  21. 21. Social media research – ethical issues Informed consent Researcher identity Research relationship Anonymity & confidentiality Data security Risk to participants @SocialMediaQUB
  22. 22. psychological-experiment-users @SocialMediaQUB
  23. 23. Social media research – quality issues Sampling & recruitment Inaccurate profiles Impulsive comments Exaggerated views Polar opinions Analysis techniques @SocialMediaQUB
  24. 24. Do you like curly fries? ial_media_likes_say_more_than_you_might_think/transcript @SocialMediaQUB
  25. 25. Consider how you will: Collect data Analyse data Validate findings @SocialMediaQUB
  26. 26. Things to consider Need to understand how people use different platforms differently Summarise T&Cs for participants before research begins For longitudinal studies, important to document how interfaces like Facebook change @SocialMediaQUB
  27. 27. Social networking @SocialMediaQUB
  28. 28. Putting yourself online Create a professional image Develop a personal brand Establish yourself as an expert @SocialMediaQUB
  29. 29. Social media and networking Communicate and collaborate with people outside your personal circle Manage connections efficiently Tools will recommend connections Networks easily identified Can become complex Information overload Harder to avoid people Spam/sales people Blurring of professional and personal activities @SocialMediaQUB
  30. 30. Tips for social networking Create and maintain a professional and consistent online profile Include qualifications, skills, research interests Don’t forget an appropriate image! Don’t spread yourself too thin! Update regularly but don’t overload Always remain courteous and professional Exchange online profiles at conferences or events Don’t rule out connections outside your research area @SocialMediaQUB
  31. 31. Blogging as a researcher Breakdown ideas into smaller, more accessible blocks Develop ideas and solicit feedback from other academics Publish research findings – check with supervisor! Share your expertise with a new audience Develop your writing style Practice for writing-up @SocialMediaQUB yourself-before-starting-a-blog/
  32. 32. Blogging tips! Have a clear purpose Plan in advance Be careful about your tone How will others react? @SocialMediaQUB
  33. 33. Use Twitter to Network with other researchers/academics Disseminate research findings/promote articles Drive traffic to a blog/website Host or take part in online chats E.g. #phdchat Gain insights into opinions and behaviour Interact or provide feedback at a conference Promote conferences, events, etc. @SocialMediaQUB
  34. 34. What Twitter can reveal University of Rochester in New York used Twitter to follow the spread of flu virus in New York City and predict when users would fall ill Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta tracked the evolution of words – where they originated and how they spread geographically A sentiment analysis run by Northeastern University in Boston measured public tweets using a psychological word-rating system to identify happy or sad tweets.  Happiness peaks each Sunday morning, then dives to an all-week low on Thursday evening  revealed-by-twitter-data.html#.Uoo2YtLwlBl  @SocialMediaQUB
  35. 35. Use Facebook/Google+ to Get to know other students/researchers Interact with industry professionals or research bodies Find out about events/conferences Obtain feedback from peers Collaborate with other researchers  Google Hangouts?
  36. 36. Google Hangouts Have a video conversation via webcam with up to 10 people over the Internet Need a Google+ profile and some friends/contacts A Hangout on Air is broadcast live to your YouTube channel Up to 10 people can contribute on video Millions more can participate by text or just listen in Afterwards, you can edit the video and it available online  @SocialMediaQUB
  37. 37. Use Second Life to Network with other researchers and obtain feedback Recruit research participants and conduct pilot interviews Conduct focus groups or interviews with remote participants  _Life_Education @SocialMediaQUB
  38. 38. @SocialMediaQUB
  39. 39. Use LinkedIn to Develop a professional profile online Network with other researchers Maintain relationships with past colleagues Join groups to discuss specific topics Publicise research activities and gain feedback Get information about funding or employment opportunities Identify potential research partners or participants @SocialMediaQUB
  40. 40. Developing a social media strategy Clarify your objectives Identify your audience Develop content strategy Track your progress Adjust your strategy @SocialMediaQUB
  41. 41. Which tool would you use? To collaborate on a research project To interact with other research students To maintain contact with research subjects in a different country To promote your own research @SocialMediaQUB
  42. 42. Impact of your activities What you have gained Social media metrics  Number of updates  Number of followers/friends gained  Number of comments/replies  Number of retweets/shares  Number of articles downloaded or click- throughs  Number of new connections you have identified  Number of useful resources you have found  Number of funding opportunities identified  Number of invitations received  Number of research participants identified @SocialMediaQUB
  43. 43. Altmetrics“…the creation and study of new metrics based on the Social Web for analyzing, and informing scholarship.” Publications Products of research @SocialMediaQUB Altmetrics
  44. 44. Impact or attention? Things to consider • What metrics are available for your articles? • What about your other ‘products of research’? How to get started • Find out about use of metrics in your area • Set up a profile and lurk for a while Check out @SocialMediaQUB
  45. 45. Managing your online profile @SocialMediaQUB
  46. 46. What does your online profile say about you? In the future your “digital footprint” will carry far more weight than anything you may put on a resume. Chris Betcher @SocialMediaQUB
  47. 47. Try it out! Go to and search for “Queen’s University Belfast” Try your own name too! Now go to and search for phdchat Try QUBImpact or another hashtag you are interested in @SocialMediaQUB
  48. 48. Digital professionalism • about the impact on you, the University, funding bodies and othersTHINK • sharing, make sure that the information is correct and that you have permissionBEFORE • are responsible for anything you publish onlineYOU • content that will add value and enhance your reputationPOST @SocialMediaQUB
  49. 49. How to lose followers and alienate people Too much Controversy Formality Self- promotion Not enough Useful content Original content Interaction @SocialMediaQUB
  50. 50. Getting started Start simple – create a personal Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account Follow academics, research groups, institutions, etc. relevant to your field Lurk for a while and take note of how other academics are using social media Search for and comment on educational content @SocialMediaQUB
  51. 51. When you are ready… Use Twitter to provide feedback at a conference or event Ask questions and initiate discussions relevant to the use of social media or your field of interest Join a group on LinkedIn to network with other academics in your research area Participate in a webinar or live chat Create a Facebook/Google+ page for a project you are involved with Create and share a video of an interesting aspect of your research Start a blog about your area of expertise @SocialMediaQUB
  52. 52. Discuss your ideas with your supervisor Read the University’s Social Media Policy Respect copyright and link to or cite sources Moderate all comments Respond to comments and Tweets Remain professional at all times! Doing it right! @SocialMediaQUB
  53. 53. The rules of the game are simple: [1] share only what you love or what resonates with you; [2] pay attention to the feedback you receive from the crowd and modify your posts accordingly; [3] don’t stray too far from the truth. Be creative but don’t be phoney. http://philosophyforchange.wordpre social-media-the-call-of-the-crowd/ @SocialMediaQUB
  54. 54. Questions @SocialMediaQUB Stay in touch!
  55. 55. Further reading  5 questions to ask yourself before starting a blog  How to disseminate your research via social media  LinkedIn or left out? Networking in education  Researchers – it’s time to start talking about social media and altmetrics  Social media for researchers  Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities