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Tell your story: promoting yourself and your research online


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With more and more employers using Google to screen job candidates, establishing a strong online presence is now one of the most powerful ways to gain a competitive advantage in the job market. This presentation explores common concerns that prevent academics from promoting their research online, and outlines how to develop a communications strategy that will allow you to tell your story to a global audience, build a community around your research, and become an influencer in your discipline area.

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Tell your story: promoting yourself and your research online

  1. 1. Tell your story:Promoting yourself& your research.Jo
  2. 2. What we’ll be talking about…•  What’s your story?•  How should you best tell your story? –  What do you want to achieve? –  Who do you want to talk to? –  How do you want to tell it?•  Barriers and misconceptions –  People will steal my ideas –  People will criticise my ideas –  How do I defend myself against Trolls?
  3. 3. Why is an onlinepresence essentialfor academics?
  4. 4. Give yourself a competitive advantage1.  Optimise your search engine rankings.2.  Bring your research to life.3.  Global networking.4.  Create a platform to promote your work.5.  Refine ideas, collect intelligence & collaborate6.  Improve writing skills.7.  Explore life as a public intellectual.8.  Erode the power that academic publishers have over your reputation. 9.  Increase the number of times your journal articles are cited.
  5. 5. Do blogs lead to increaseddissemination of research papers? Source: David McKenzie, Berk Özler, The Impact of Economics Blogs, Policy Research Working Paper, The World Bank Development Research Group, August 2011
  6. 6. Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? “You will see that 7 out of 10 of the most downloaded papers from my Department in the last calendar year have me in the author list. 27 out of the top 50 downloads in our department in the last calendar year feature me. My stuff isnt better than my colleagues work. Theyre all doing wonderful things! But Im just the only one actively promoting access to my research papers.”Source: Melissa Terras Blog: Adventures in Digital Humanities and digital culturalheritage, Is blogging and tweeting about research papers worth it? The Verdict, Tuesday, 3April 2012, <>.
  7. 7. Source: Heather Piwowar, Altmetrics shows that citations can’t stand up to the full31 flavours of research impact, Impact of Social Sciences blog, 4 April 2012,<>.
  8. 8. How to establishan online presence.
  9. 9. Two steps1.  Create a content platform2.  Drive traffic to that content platform
  10. 10. What is Google looking for?
  11. 11. What is Google looking for?•  Popularity: –  How much traffic is the site getting?•  Authority: –  How many other sites link to this site?•  Frequency: –  How often is this site updated with new content?•  Key words: –  How well does this content match search queries?
  12. 12. First. You need astrategy.
  13. 13. What are your objectives?•  Prove and improve your knowledge?•  Network or collaborate with other researchers?•  Establish yourself as a thought-leader and innovator in a particular space?•  Get speaking engagements or writing gigs?•  Get a publishing deal?•  Become a public authority on a specific topic?•  Or perhaps explore an issue that is often ignored by mainstream media?
  14. 14. Who is your audience?•  Academic•  Non-academic –  Public –  Practitioners –  Government –  Not for profit/ advocacy groups•  What are their needs, interests and concerns?•  How can you reach them?•  The better you know your audience, the more effectively you can generate compelling content that will get them excited.
  15. 15. What’s your story?•  What drives you? What are you passionate about?•  What type of information would your audience find interesting or useful?•  Who is already writing about it? Is there a gap you can fill?•  Decide what your blog is about and stick to it. A tight focus is the most effective way to build an audience.
  16. 16. Single minded proposition Your audience Your story Your objectives
  17. 17. How will you measure success?•  Website traffic•  The size of your social network•  Higher search engine ranking•  How influential or engaged your community is –  Number of comments on blog posts –  Number of re-tweets –  First time vs. returning visitors•  Mentions (set up a Google Alert)•  Increase in citations
  18. 18. Choose your tools.
  19. 19. Your content platform•  Blogs•  Tumblr•  Alternatives to blogging –  Static website –  Linkedin – –  University staff webpage
  20. 20. Traffic drivers•  Online –  Twitter –  Facebook –  Youtube –  Guest blog posts –  Link, link, link!•  Offline –  Email sig –  Business cards –  Conference papers/ posters
  21. 21. Facebook vs. Twitter•  Facebook is for people you know.•  Twitter is for people you want to know. Twitter Australian users: 2 million Global users 500 million Facebook Australian users: 11 million Global users 950 million
  22. 22. Share useful information
  23. 23. Promote blog posts
  24. 24. Promote events
  25. 25. Promote your research project
  26. 26. Network
  27. 27. Network
  28. 28. Network IRL
  29. 29. Ask questions
  30. 30. Ask questions
  31. 31. Collaborate
  32. 32. Express your personality
  33. 33. Why don’tacademics blog andtweet?
  34. 34. When I "reveal" my blogging to people in science, Im facedwith several reactions. I will list the most common here,starting with the most frequent:1.  You dont...*shudder*...put your own work on the internet!?2.  You do this in your off time? Shouldnt you be writing papers then? Im concerned about your motivation.3.  You must not be a very good scientist (usually thats on the internet, but once in a while its said to my face).Source: Scicurious, Blogging: Self-promotion and self-promotion, NeuroticPhysiology, 9 May 2012 , <>
  35. 35. I don’t have time•  Keep blog posts short•  Make blogging an extension of work you are already doing•  When you blog about something new - make it count•  Create a ‘content calendar’•  Multi-author blogs•  Technology embargos•  RSS feeds (Google Reader)•  You don’t need to be online to tweet.
  36. 36. People will steal my ideas•  When you communicate ideas online you don’t earn money - you do earn authority.•  The best academic bloggers exude generosity and abundance while retaining key elements of their intellectual property.•  Top tip: It’s a balancing act. Watch & learn from others.
  37. 37. People will criticize my ideas•  Academics are used to critique from their peers, but blogging presents the risk of misinformation and misinterpretation by a much broader (often unqualified) audience.•  The intersection of academia and mass media is often defined by conflicting communication objectives.
  38. 38. Source: Daniel C. Hallin, The Uncensored War: The Media and theVietnam, Oxford University Press,1986 , p.117.
  39. 39. “The authority of the press to assume consensus,define deviance and set the terms for legitimatedebate is weaker when people can connecthorizontally around and about the news.”Source: Jay Rosen, Audience Atomization Overcome: Why the Internet Weakensthe Authority of the Press, Pressthink, 12 January, 2009 <>
  40. 40. The opportunity.
  41. 41. “Digital technology and great new media ventures like The Conversation mean academics can publish just as quickly, just as tightly and just as relevantly as the most contemporary tabloid hack, but with far greater authority and without the commercially-driven compromises in which journalism is used as a marketing arm for other content.”Jim Parker, Why Journalists Fear Academics, The Failed Estate, 20 May 2012, <>.
  42. 42. Don’t feed the trolls
  43. 43. What is a troll?“A troll is someone who persistently seeks toderail rational discourse through mindlessabuse, needling, hectoring, or even threats ofviolence. A troll is not someone who disagreeswith you, dislikes your work or disapproves ofyour moral choices.”Source: Tim Dowling, Dealing with Trolls: a guide, The Guardian online, 12 June2012, <>.
  44. 44. Where do the ‘haters’ come from?“Social psychologists have known for decades that, ifwe reduce our sense of our own identity – a processcalled deindividuation – we are less likely to stick tosocial norms…the same thing happens with onlinecommunication such as email. Psychologically, weare “distant” from the person we’re talking to andless focused on our own identity. As a result we’remore prone to aggressive behavior.”Source: Michael Marshall, Dont flame me, bro, New Scientist blog, 19 November2007, <>.
  45. 45. Actually, it’s already against the law•  The Commonwealth Criminal Code Act (the Criminal Code) Part 10.6 can be used to prosecute individuals who are “trolls”•  It regulates internet services – prohibiting the use of a carriage service to menace, harass or cause an offence to the reasonable person.•  Twitter, Facebook, Google will always hand over private information to enable law enforcement action.
  46. 46. Hope for the best,prepare for theworst.
  47. 47. Be respectful •  Use your real name. •  Be honest and transparent. •  Express opposing viewpoints respectfully. •  Never resort to personal attacks. •  Never post content that is offensive, defamatory, vulgar or otherwise objectionable.Source: ‘Social Media Guidelines’, Murdoch University Development and Communications Office, <>, (September 2012)
  48. 48. Be responsible•  Protect sensitive, confidential or proprietary information.•  Respect intellectual property and link to sources whenever possible.•  If you make a mistake, be upfront and take responsibility for it. Minor issues can often be easily remedied with an apology or by posting a correction.•  Use your best judgment and always think twice before you hit publish - because it is you who is ultimately responsible for what you write.
  49. 49. Be a leader•  Identify your position (and qualifications if relevant) when participating in discussions related to your area of expertise.•  Avoid commenting on unfamiliar topics•  Ensure your personal opinions are distinguished from professional discourse.•  When commenting on a topic outside of your area of expertise, include a disclaimer: ie: “the postings on this site are my own and dont necessarily represent the positions, strategies, or opinions of the University of Western Australia”.
  50. 50. Set the ground rules SAMPLE COMMENT POLICY Rules of engagement Views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not represent the views of the University of Western Australia. I welcome comments, opinions, debate and discussion. However, in the spirit of community, there are a few simple rules that I ask you to understand and abide by: 1.  Keep it friendly; I will remove any content that is offensive, defamatory, vulgar or otherwise objectionable. 2.  You’re welcome to express an opposing viewpoint if you do so peacefully and respectfully. 3.  Ensure that the content you post complies with any applicable site guidelines (e.g. Twitter’s Terms of Use) and respects intellectual property and copyright.Source: Adapted from ‘Social Media: Rules of Engagement’, Murdoch University Development andCommunications Office, <>, (September 2012)
  51. 51. Discover, evaluate, respond. Guidelines for responding to social media and blog comments. POSITIVE? NEGATIVE? Do you want to Assess the Evaluate the respond? message purposeNo Yes “Trolls” No response Monitor only Rant and raging. No Yes Can you add “Misguided” Are the facts Gently correct value? Erroneous facts. correct? the facts.Yes No No Yes “Unhappy Explain what is Compose a Thank the customer” Did you make a being done to reply. person. A negative mistake? rectify the issue. experience
  52. 52. Enforce the rules•  Moderate your blog (but don’t censor)•  What to remove? –  Comments that are offensive, defamatory or vulgar –  Spam•  What to keep?•  Don’t rush. Take time to create a thoughtful response.
  53. 53. Questions?