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Using Social Media to Communicate Your Work


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Presentation and discussion session for a group of agricultural consultants and researchers at Scotland’s Rural College, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh, 27 August 2015.

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Using Social Media to Communicate Your Work

  1. 1. Using Social Media to Communicate Your work Nicola Osborne, MediaHub Service Manager / Digital Education Manager
  2. 2. Introduction
  3. 3. Why focus on Social Media? Social media tools… • Are go-to spaces for expertise and advice. • Offer new ways to tell stories, to engage in dialogue, to reach out to your audience(s). • Rank highly on Google, Bing, etc. • Can enable direct access to key figures from Principal Investigators to Research Councils to press and potential research participants. • May generate media interest in your work, new collaborations and other unexpected opportunities. • Offer inexpensive ways to raise your own profile and that of your research.
  4. 4. Planning Social Media Use • Consider what goals you want to achieve, what you want to share about your research. How can you track progress? • Think about your audience(s): where do they hang out online? What will engage them in your work? How can you make it relevant to them? • Be creative – what social media tools could help you to communicate in new ways? • Be pragmatic - what best fits your project’s style, expertise, and time availability?
  5. 5. Planning Social Media Content • Brand your presences and ensure you complete your profile information. Always link back to your definitive research profiles and project websites. • Regularly share interesting engaging content, use images, listen to and engage with the audiences you are reaching out to. • Ensure you keep profiles and presences up to date and relevant, review their effectiveness, and ensure they represent your work as you want it to be seen.
  6. 6. What tools should you use? • Blogs - make your work visible, enable semi-formal ways to share working methods and progress, and provide a way to find and engage in dialogue with your audience. Audiences for blogs vary but, largest blog provider, blogs receives over 400 visitors reading over 61 million posts every month (WordPress 2015). • Twitter - very effective way to share key research updates, build a network around your work, find peer support and advice, track news. 288 million global active users (Twitter 2015), up from 200 million in 2013 (Twitter 2013). 15% of online adults in the US use Twitter (Smith and Brenner 2012). 10 million active users in the UK 60% of whom contribute content/tweets (McGrail 2012 and Arthur 2012). 80% of UK users access Twitter via mobile phone (McGrail 2012 and Arthur 2012)
  7. 7. What tools should you use? • Video, Animation, or Audio - can bring clarity to complex concepts quickly. Well-made short videos or animations can convey complex concepts and research quickly, accessibly and in very engaging sharable ways. Over 1 billion unique users each month (YouTube 2015), up from 800m in 2013 (YouTube 2013). Vine use is growing. Periscope (and Meerkat) increasingly used. • Flickr, Pinterest, Snapchat etc. – any images bring a project to life – research is about people, ideas, events, collaboration, equipment... Images make your ideas, achievements and discoveries far more tangible. Flickr has approx 92 million users globally, sharing 1 million images per day (Etherington 2014). In the US: (at least) 46% of all adult internet users post original photos or videos online. 26% of online adults use Instagram (Duggan et al 2014). 28% of online adults use Pinterest (Duggan et al 2014).
  8. 8. What tools should you use? • Facebook, Google+, linkedIn, SNS – useful for building up community and engagement. Over 35 million Facebook users in the UK (McCarthy 2015). Up from 32 million in 2013 (socialbakers 2013). In the US: 71% of online adults report using Facebook (Duggan et al 2014) up from 66% in 2012 (Rainie, Brenner and Purcell 2012). Google+ has 2.2 billion users who have a profile, only 9% or 4-6 million of these seem to be active users (Barrie 2015). Over 15 million LinkedIn users in the UK (Withnall 2014), up from 11 million in 2013 (LinkedIn 2013). In the US: 28% of online adults use LinkedIn (Duggan et al 2014) up from 20% in 2012 (Rainie, Brenner and Purcell 2012).
  9. 9. Some barriers/considerations Social media tools rely on internet access • Not all tools are equally accessible in public libraries/low bandwidth connections. • Rural access and use of broadband varies, particularly low in some areas (see RSE Spreading the Benefits of Digital Participation Report 2014). • Older people, low income and some other vulnerable groups less likely to use internet in general, including social media. • Blog posts, videos, images can all be accessible without sign in etc. But tools like Facebook can be hugely beneficial in activism, engaging existing active community groups, etc.
  10. 10. What should you share? • What your research/work is about and what it aims to achieve – and how your audience can engage. • Processes, updates, changes of approach – to the extent that such transparency is appropriate and acceptable. • Quirky, playful and accessible content around your work and research area. • Publications, presentations, press mentions and materials that reflect research outputs and expertise. • CHECK ANY EXISTING PRIVACY, NON-DISCLOSURE OR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICIES AND ENSURE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE OR ACTIVITY COMPLIES.
  11. 11. What should not be shared • Commercially sensitive data or other material your employer/PI would not want shared or that might breach guidelines. • Personal information about colleagues, participants, those at partner organisation that might breach Data Protection law or ethical guidance. • Material (images, discussion board posts, tweets, etc.) that might impact on your own professional reputation or the credibility of your research. • Anything you would not want a funder, professional peer, project partner, or future employer to see or read.
  12. 12. Q&A Questions?