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Using Social Media to Develop Your Academic Profile and Engage Others in Your Research


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Presented by Nicola Osborne at the Social Media session for Informatics Researchers, 18 June 2013.

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Using Social Media to Develop Your Academic Profile and Engage Others in Your Research

  1. 1. Using Social Media to DevelopYour Academic Profile andEngage Others in Your ResearchNicola Osborne, Social Media Officer Media session for Informatics Researchers, 18thJune 2013
  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 in dialogue, to reachout to your audience(s).• Rank highly on Google, Bing, etc.• Can enable direct access to key figures from PrincipalInvestigators to Research Councils to press and potentialresearch participants.• May generate media interest in your work, new collaborationsand other unexpected opportunities.• Offer inexpensive ways to raise your own profile and that ofyour research.
  5. 5. What tools should you use?• Blogs - make your work visible, enable semi-formal ways toshare working methods and progress, and provide a way tofind and engage in dialogue with your audience.• Twitter - very effective way to share key research updates,build a network around your work, find peer support andadvice, track news.• Video or Audio - can bring clarity to complex conceptsquickly. Well-made short videos or animations can conveycomplex concepts and research quickly, accessibly and in veryengaging sharable ways.• Flickr, Pinterest, Instagram etc. – any images bring aproject to life – research is about people, ideas, events,collaboration, equipment... Images make your ideas,achievements and discoveries far more tangible.
  6. 6. This Time It’s Personal…• Social media are about people,personality and quirkiness.• They allow use of links, images,video, audio, and othermultimedia to bring a topic tolife.• They are designed to nurturecommunities, networks, peersupport, sharing, participationand collaboration.• Often used on mobile phones –crossing personal andprofessional spaces, places andtimes.
  7. 7. What should you share?• What your research is about and what it aims to achieve.• Processes, updates, changes of approach – to the extent thatsuch transparency is appropriate and acceptable.• Quirky, playful and accessible content around your work andresearch area.• Publications, presentations, press mentions and materials thatreflect research outputs and expertise.• CHECK ANY EXISTING PRIVACY, NON-DISCLOSURE ORSOCIAL MEDIA POLICIES AND ENSURE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIAPRESENCE OR ACTIVITY COMPLIES.
  8. 8. Some examples…
  9. 9. Blogs: Trading Consequences
  10. 10. Blogs: What’s on my Blackboard?
  11. 11. Blogs: Mary Beard
  12. 12. Blogs: LSE Impact of Social Sciences
  13. 13. Blogs: Steven Gray’s Big Data Toolkit
  14. 14. Facebook: I F***ing Love Science
  15. 15. Twitter: Joe Hanson
  16. 16. Twitter: Nora McGregor
  17. 17. Pinterest: Creating Artificial Intelligence
  18. 18. Planning Social Media Use• Consider what goals you want to achieve, what you want toshare 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 itrelevant to them?• Be creative – what social media tools could help you tocommunicate in new ways?• Be pragmatic - what best fits your project’s style, expertise,and time availability?
  19. 19. Planning Social Media Content• Brand your presences and ensure you complete your profileinformation. Always link back to your definitive researchprofiles and project websites.• Regularly share interesting engaging content, useimages, listen to and engage with the audiences you arereaching out to.• Ensure you keep profiles and presences up to date andrelevant, review their effectiveness, and ensure they representyour work as you want it to be seen.
  20. 20. What should not be shared• Commercially sensitive data or other material youremployer/PI would not want shared or that might breachguidelines.• Personal information about colleagues, participants, those atpartner organisation that might breach Data Protection law orethical guidance.• Similarly do not share location information that mightcompromise your own safety or that of your colleagues.• Material (images, discussion board posts, tweets, etc.) thatmight impact on your own professional reputation or thecredibility of your research.• Anything you would not want a funder, professional peer, projectpartner, or future employer to see or read.
  21. 21. Possible Next Steps (1)• Think about the audience(s) you want to engagewith your research or your professional presence.– Who should you be writing or creating content for?– Is there anything special/particular they will want or needfrom that presence?• What do your professional peers or influentialpeople in your field do with social media?– What works well (or poorly) for them?– Are they using social media sites/tools you feel you shouldalso be present in?– Are there any ideas you want to apply to your own presence?
  22. 22. Possible Next Steps (2)• Think about planning suitable content.– What content do you have available and want to highlight inyour own professional/research presence?– What existing web and social media presences do you have?Could they be better connected to each other?– Can your publications, research methods or data be shared?– What would a successful presence look like?• How will you maintain any presence you set up?– What time do you have available to keep a presence up todate?– How will you keep the quality and frequency of updates up.– What are your goals for the presence and how will youmeasure success.
  23. 23. Q&AQuestions?
  24. 24. Useful Resources• LSE. 2013. Impact of Social Sciences blog.• O’Reilly, T. 2005. What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the NextGeneration of Software. In O’Reilly, 30th September 2005. Available from:• Osborne, N. 2013. Social Media [resource sheet]. Available from:• Patel, S. 2011. 10 ways researchers can use Twitter. In Networked Researcher, 3rdAugust 2011. Available from: Settings Links• Facebook Privacy Settings:• LinkedIn Privacy Settings:• Guide to Google+ Privacy Settings:
  25. 25. Managing Your Identity OnlineUseful Search Engines for Social Media• 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: