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Building your online network


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Presentation for early career researchers in the Humanities as part of the Researcher Online Series of workshops

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Building your online network

  1. 1. The Researcher Online: Building an Online Network Dr Helen Webster Digital Humanities Network University of Cambridge
  2. 2. Before we start...• We’ll be using Twitter to demonstrate some of the principles of online networking in this session.• Take a few moments to set up with wifi and log in to your Twitter account.• Hashtag for this session: #RONetwork
  3. 3. Before we start... I’d like to model the digital behaviour I’m advocating!• Feel free to livetweet #RONetwork• Slides are online: Slideshare http://• We’re recording the talk to create a digital artefact. We’ll be focussing on the presentation rather than discussions.
  4. 4. Aims
  5. 5. AimsNot to teach tools, but...
  6. 6. Aims Not to teach tools, but...• an awareness of the ways in which social and digital media platforms can enhance and be embedded in your work as a researcher
  7. 7. Aims Not to teach tools, but...• an awareness of the ways in which social and digital media platforms can enhance and be embedded in your work as a researcher• an understanding of the issues raised by social and digital media tools, potential pitfalls, good practice and future impacts on the profession
  8. 8. Aims Not to teach tools, but...• an awareness of the ways in which social and digital media platforms can enhance and be embedded in your work as a researcher• an understanding of the issues raised by social and digital media tools, potential pitfalls, good practice and future impacts on the profession• an awareness of and ability to evaluate the various types of digital tool and make informed decisions about your own engagement with them in your practice
  9. 9. Before we get online....
  10. 10. ...what do you want toget out of networking?
  11. 11. ...what do you want toget out of networking?
  12. 12. Analysing your current network• Family and friends Note which are:• Senior academics •Same specialism •Same discipline• Peers •Same institution •Same profession/sector •Same stage of career• Other academic staff •Same contacts - link the ones who know each other• Non-academic staff in HE Which are the best connected?• Members of professional Which are best able to bodies help you with your• Outside HE aims?
  13. 13. Characteristics of a good network• Mutual - you know them and they know you - you can approach them, they think of you• Skilled - contacts need to have means and motivation to help you• Diverse and dispersed (bigger isn’t always better)• Both close and distant, strong and weak contacts• Horizontal relationships of reciprocity, not vertical relationship of authority• People who don’t know each other
  14. 14. Networking as a Cambridge Early Career Researcher• Short-term projects • Friends/Peers/ Colleagues?• Narrow focus• Groups, not networks• Fragmentation of communication channels, few ‘bridges’• Hierarchical relationships Image: ‘Bubble’ by DJMcCrady
  15. 15. How do you currently network? ?
  16. 16. Online networking• Access - not reliant on a person or event• Transcends geographical, institutional, disciplinary, hierarchical and professional boundaries• Reciprocal• Lighter touch - ongoing relationships, different levels• Asynchronous but can be in real time• Interactions and contact details can be preserved• Any of these can be negative as well as positive
  17. 17. Networking tools: the obvious ones• Twitter• Facebook (and similar)• LinkedIn•• See also Lanyrd, Graduate Junction, Methodspace, Researchgate
  18. 18. SWOT Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities ThreatsReview each tool also in terms of your specific networking aims
  19. 19. Networking tools: not so obvious onesAny platform which enables a profile, someform of content, and some way to interact.• JISCmail or ucam email lists crassh-early-career-• Mendeley• Blogs• Digital file-sharing platforms (Slideshare, Issuu, Scribd, Soundcloud,Youtube)
  20. 20. Rheingold’s 8 stages for cultivating your Personal Learning Network • Explore • Feed • Search • Engage • Follow • Inquire • Tune • RespondHoward Rheingold (2012). Netsmart: How to thrive online
  21. 21. Building your online network: Explore• Different platforms - Functionality• Where types of contact congregate• Real life contacts online• ‘Black holes’ - people not online• What conversations are had, keywords and conventions used Who’s on Twitter? See what ‘follow’ suggestions it has.
  22. 22. Networking at Conferences• #Twittergate - the ethics of livetweeting at conferences• Use online networking to enhance conference attendance• Use online networking to network at conferences you’re not actually present at Tool: Lanyrd Twitter: search for #RONetwork
  23. 23. Building your online network: Search• Search engines: Google, Social Media search engines, built-in search boxes in platforms • Listorious • Socialmention • Technorati• Keywords, people’s names• OR snowball- see who well-connected people and institutions are connected to Twitter: Search for a person and/or a keyword/type of person.
  24. 24. Building your online network: Follow• Follow/connect/like/favourite/subscribe/friend...• Is this automatically reciprocal? Do you need it to be?• When they check you out, make sure there’s something to catch their attention (and check them out when they follow you!)• What level of interaction do you need from them? What might they need or value from you? Twitter: follow some of the other participants
  25. 25. Building your online network: Tune• Review your network periodically so that it doesn’t become too unwieldy or cluttered• Is reciprocity necessary?• Can you adjust frequency settings?• Are there tools to help you manage or review?• Can you easily (and invisibly) disconnect?• Review gaps in your network and potential new contacts periodically Twitter - do this after the session!
  26. 26. Maintaining your online network: Feed• You can offer value directly to an individual or to your network as a whole - on one platform or more, if they are interlinked.• What might they value? You should now know.• Don’t just offer self-promotion! Reframe it.• Pass on links and contacts as well as your own information Twitter: #ff Suggest someone else to follow
  27. 27. Maintaining your online network: Engage• Stop lurking!• Comment/favourite/like - add a personal comment if possible• Retweet/reblog/share/link if you think it would be valued by your network• Let people know their content is useful and why Twitter: retweet or reply to another of the session’s tweets
  28. 28. Maintaining your online network: Inquire• Ask your network: for information, advice, opportunities, contacts, or moral support...• Make general enquiries which can be passed on• Direct questions to individuals• Remember to thank and follow up!• Collate and pass on responses for others? Twitter: pose a question for the other participants - generally or individually
  29. 29. Maintaining your online network: Respond• Respond to general calls for help and information as well as ones directed at you• A response might be as simple as passing on a request or contact Twitter: reply to or retweet a question posed
  30. 30. Building and Maintaining your online network• Repeat the process periodically, beginning with re-exploring new platforms or changes to existing ones, and reassessing the online community
  31. 31. Bubbles, Echo chambers and Black holes• Strategies to break out of bubbles• Strategies to recognise echo chambers• Strategies to reach black holes Image: ‘Bubble’ by DJMcCrady
  32. 32. Back to the real world• Integrate your online network identity with your real life • Add your twitter handle to your conference name badge • Catch up with Skype or Google Hangouts • Talk to people about what you’ve discovered online
  33. 33. Creating group networksWe’ve mainly dealt with your personalnetwork, but you can create larger networkstoo.What issue most affects early career researchernetworking for Humanities in Cambridge?Create a regular twitter chat around this, set upa Facebook group, an email list...
  34. 34. To explore further, see DH23Things Module One
  35. 35. ResourcesOn Good Practice for Researchers • Vitae’s Handbook of Social Media for Researchers and Supervisors • RIN’s Social Media: A Guide for Researchers