Using Social Media to Communicate Your Research


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Delivered by Nicola Osborne at Heriot-Watt Crucible V, 24 January 2013, Edinburgh

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  • Social media are go-to places for expertise and advice – that can benefit you both for your own information finding and for proving yourself as an expert in your community. Setting up your own presence allows others to differentiate between you and others with same/similar names or roles and establish yourself in the way you want to. Social media sites rank highly on Google Key figures – CEOs, Senior Managers, Research Councils, Leading Academics and Researchers, etc. are much more accessible via social media allowing you to build a great network. Social Media can lead to collaboration, employment, speaking, and other opportunities. Social media gives you a way to raise your profile for engaging, outreach etc.
  • Using Social Media to Communicate Your Research

    1. 1. Using Social Media toCommunicate Your ResearchNicola Osborne, Social Media Officer Crucible V, Thursday 24thJanuary 2013, Edinburgh
    2. 2. Introduction
    3. 3. What is Social Media?• Social Media are any websites that allow you to contribute, toengage, to connect with others and are “Web 2.0” tools(O’Reilly 2005).• Examples include:– Blogs (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.)– Twitter– YouTube and Vimeo– Facebook– Google+– Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.– LinkedIn,, etc.– Mendeley, Delicious, Diigo, etc.– FigShare
    4. 4. Why Use Social Media?Social media tools…• Are go-to spaces for expertise and advice.• Offer new ways to tell stories, to engage indialogue, to reach out to your audience(s).• Rank highly on Google, Bing, etc.• Can enable direct access to key figures fromPrincipal Investigators to Research Councils to pressand potential research participants.• May generate media interest in your work, newcollaborations and other unexpected opportunities.• Offer inexpensive ways to raise your own profile andthat of your research.
    5. 5. What tools should you use?• Blogs - make your work visible, enable semi-formal waysto share working methods and progress, and provide away to find and engage in dialogue with your audience.• Twitter - very effective way to share key researchupdates, build a network around your work, find peersupport and advice, track news.• Video or Audio - can bring clarity to complex conceptsquickly. Well-made short videos or animations canconvey complex concepts and research quickly,accessibly and in very engaging sharable ways.• Flickr, Pinterest, etc. – any images bring a project tolife – research is about people, ideas, events,collaboration, equipment... Images make your ideas,achievements and discoveries far more tangible.
    6. 6. What should you share?• What your research is about and what it aims toachieve.• Processes, updates, changes of approach – to theextent that such transparency is appropriate andacceptable.• Quirky, playful and accessible content around yourwork and research area.• Publications, presentations, press mentions andmaterials that reflect research outputs andexpertise.• CHECK ANY EXISTING PRIVACY, NON-DISCLOSUREOR SOCIAL MEDIA POLICIES AND ENSURE YOURSOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE OR ACTIVITY COMPLIES.
    7. 7. Some examples…
    8. 8. Blogs: What’s on my Blackboard?
    9. 9. Blogs: Mary Beard
    10. 10. Facebook: Mr Blobby the Blobfish
    11. 11. Good Examples: Inside Science
    12. 12. Twitter: Joe Hanson
    13. 13. Planning Social Media Use• Consider what goals you want to achieve, what youwant to share about your research. How can youtrack progress?• Think about your audience(s): where do they hangout online? What will engage them in your work?How can you make it relevant to them?• Be creative – what social media tools could help youto communicate in new ways?• Be pragmatic - what best fits your project’s style,expertise, and time availability?
    14. 14. Planning Social Media Content• Brand your presences and ensure you completeyour profile information. Always link back to yourdefinitive research profiles and project websites.• Regularly share interesting engaging content,use images, listen to and engage with the audiencesyou are reaching out to.• Ensure you keep profiles and presences up todate and relevant, review their effectiveness, andensure they represent your work as you want it tobe seen.
    15. 15. What should not be shared• Commercially sensitive data or other materialyour employer/PI would not want shared or thatmight breach guidelines.• Personal information about colleagues,participants, those at partner organisation that mightbreach Data Protection law or ethical guidance.• Material (images, discussion board posts, tweets,etc.) that might impact on your own professionalreputation or the credibility of your research.• Anything you would not want a funder, professionalpeer, project partner, or future employer to see orread.
    16. 16. Q&AQuestions?
    17. 17. Useful Resources• LSE. 2013. Impact of Social Sciences blog.• O’Reilly, T. 2005. What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Modelsfor the Next Generation of Software. In O’Reilly, 30th September 2005.Available from:• Patel, S. 2011. 10 ways researchers can use Twitter. In NetworkedResearcher, 3rd August 2011. Available from: Settings Links:• Facebook Privacy Settings:• LinkedIn Privacy Settings:• Guide to Google+ Privacy Settings:
    18. 18. Managing Your Identity OnlineUseful Search Engine• Google: and Google Blog Search:• Bing: and Bing Social Search:• Whos talkin:• Social Mention:• IceRocket:• Twitter Search:!/search-home• Topsy: Tools for Automatic Checking and Task Management• Google Alerts:• Tweetbeep:• IFTTT: