Social media for academic researchers


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UPDATED AND UPGRADED BY "Making researchers famous with social media" ON 9 FEB 2012. MB
Presentation for UTS Library Research Week 2011 on how academic researchers can make use of various social technologies and networks.
My thanks to a colleague, Sally Scholfield for her assistance with this.
I have not described the social technologies, tools and articles referred to or linked within this presentation. Short descriptions can be found on the Diigo list that brings it all together here:

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Social media for academic researchers

  1. 1. Social Media, Social Technologies & Academic Research @malboothI am not a social media guru.
  2. 2. “We want to be connected to one another, a desire that the social surrogate of television deflects, but one that social media actually engages.” Clay Shirky Cognitive Surplus was one to many, social media provides us with a facility to establish many to many connections.
  3. 3. “. . . media is the connective tissue of society.” “. . . things used to be separated into public media . . . and personal media . . . Now those two modes have fused.” Clay Shirky Cognitive SurplusFor those who don’t know it this photo is of Millennium Bridge. It is a pedestrian only bridge that connectsSouthbank (near the Tate Modern) to the north of the Thames near St Paul’s Cathedral, seen here in thebackground. It isn’t so far removed from the quote above.
  4. 4. This is a screen shot of Gary Hayes’ Social Media Count for just 31 seconds in early-February 2011. Prettyimpressive statistics. There are any number of ways to present imposing social media statistics, but I guess whatreally matters is what is being done.See also:
  5. 5. What can you do with Social Media?Rather than look at some well used social media platforms and technologies, I thought we’d have a quick look atwhat is done with them and through that feature some of the more well known tools.
  6. 6. WorkHere are two examples of social media being used for work: Twitter (people sharing information about live webconferences) and LinkedIn (a large professional network).
  7. 7. PlayPeople do use social media to play, even for work or more serious purposes. Its playfulness is one of the mainattractions. Most tools are not 100% serious all the time. And they are more interesting than some of the oldermethods they are replacing (like email lists and landline calls). Play is something of an expectation in social media.
  8. 8. GameI’m not an expert on gaming and I don’t use games online, but I think they do offer us an alternate method tolearn new things. Online games are extremely popular, especially so on Facebook. Personally I find those FBgames like Farmville very annoying and I hate being updated about them or invited to join in by my friends.Water Worx is an iPad game created by Digital Eskimo for the Powerhouse Museum to teach children about watermanagement in Sydney. See also: is another large online games portal. People are not playing in isolation. The experience is shared withothers and that is part of the attraction.
  9. 9. LearnThere are many, many ways to learn by using social media. You’d be surprised by what you can learn just fromyour friends and community if you ask them.iTunes University manages, creates, distributes and controls access to educational audio and video content andPDF (text) files for students and the broader internet. Various universities have their own iTunes U site like thoseshown above. It provides regulated access to curriculum material via a platform that most students are veryfamiliar with because of their music collections. More content is being shared openly in such ways.iTunes U reflects the understanding that some universities have about student familiarity with certain popularplatforms. Even if it is a bit clunky, such platforms are probably more widely used than dull poorly organisedwebsites or even clunkier out-dated e-learning platforms. IMHO!
  10. 10. “The simple act of creating something with others in mind and then sharing it with them represents, at the very least, an echo of that older culture, now in technological raiment.” Clay Shirky Cognitive SurplusThe social web has a genuine culture of altruism. I believe that altruism is the pulse that keeps it alive and it isalso what distinguishes it from other media.By diving in and sharing you might be surprised (pleasantly) by what comes back at you in return.
  11. 11. So we share our photos. And Creative Commons helps us to do so while easily managing our intellectualproperty.
  12. 12. And Creative Commons helps us to do so while easily managing our intellectual property. The licences are madefor all purposes and they are very easily understood.
  13. 13. We share our music tastes and habits. This is which is a very clever tool that “scrobbles” what you haveplayed recently on an MP3 player and shares that online in your profile. (I’d like to provide such a facility on ourlibrary website.)
  14. 14. There are an amazing amount of bloggers around and some a pure gems like 52 Suburbs. In this blog we aretreated to some beautiful images of ordinary Sydney suburbs that really make you appreciate the beauty we takefor granted every day in our lives. It is being converted into a book due to public demand. We will look at blogs forresearchers a bit later in this presentation.
  15. 15. We share our library connections and this social media catalogue has a lot of libraries thinking long and hardabout how to match its ability to be social - as it includes tags or folksonomies (tags), recommendations,personalisation, ratings, networking, reviews and commenting. It draws on the wisdom of the crowd really well.A friend of mine has catalogued his whole collection of over 10,000 books and journals.
  16. 16. DiscoverDiigo is a social bookmarking service that allows you and your friends to keep track of discoveries made on theweb. You can easily select what you share and with whom you share it and it lets you have access to all yourbookmarks or favourites anywhere you have web access: at home, at work, when travelling, etc.We will also look at Diigo and a list I created for Research Week later on.
  17. 17. CreateThis is UTS Library’s YouTube channel. Basically it gives us a very cheap TV channel on which we can share theshort videos that we produce ourselves or commission (mostly from UTS students). More great content to bereleased soon!
  18. 18. ComplainSo I’ve heard You’e Beautiful a few too many times. Who hasn’t? And let’s face it, the days of authors talking abouttheir writing in dull make-believe TV sets with even duller interviewers is hopefully drawing to a close becausethere is a lot of much better content to view online.Short outbursts like these from my Twitter friends keep me amused online while watching certain shows. A friendfrom Melbourne and I even offered a reasonably popular alt.commentary for the winter Olympics ice dancing andfor the recent federal election count.
  19. 19. Celebrate!I just could not think of an image more appropriate to illustrate social media celebration. I guess this has nowbecome a party political broadcast!
  20. 20. MournIn this post I shared the eulogy I delivered at my brother’s funeral. Many people heard it at his service, but therewere many who knew him, but could not come to the service. It has attracted over 450 views and many haveshared their thoughts with me.
  21. 21. ApplaudThe ACO amazes me.
  22. 22. InfluenceThere are many more politicians who use social networks to extend their influence and to connect with theircommunities. Some employ full-time social media staff to ensure their presence is kept up to date and isresponsive.Recently we’ve seen demonstrations of the use of social media for disaffected people to express their oppositionto governments (e.g. Egypt and Iran). The genie is now out of the bottle and although some governments are busytrying to put it back in, that exercise will eventually prove fruitless.
  23. 23. AdvertiseCraigslist was founded as a local events listing for San Francisco in the mid-1990s by Craig Newmark. Althought ithas expanded well beyond the US now it has changed little ever since and the founder says that it works because it givespeople a voice, a sense of community trust and even intimacy (through personals). Craigslist has significantly eroded theclassifieds income of many newspapers.
  24. 24. Connect, sociallyFacebook is probably the best known of the social networks, but others like Twitter and Foursquare are nowgrowing strongly. They allow for social connections and networks to flourish and connect you with people of likeinterests.Foursquare is indicative of a move connected with the rise of smart phones like iPhones that encourages the useof geo-location software (like GPS) that lets your contacts know where you are or where you have been (when youwant them to know). Thus, the hardware of mobile computing has extended the reach of social networks andothers like Facebook have followed suit. At the Google offices in 2010 I heard a developer quoting a senior Googleexecutive who believes that 80% of all data can be mapped in some way. This gives us a start in organising itwithout imposing artificial and out-of-date ontologies like Dewey.
  25. 25. EvaluateThese are reviews on the Expedia travel booking site from other people who have stayed at the venues or used theservices you are researching. I believe they give you a much richer source of ratings than any hotel industry starrating.
  26. 26. CurateI’ve said for a number of years now that Brooklyn Museum are the leaders in terms of online communityengagement and the intelligent use of social media in the cultural sector. We used them as a model and exemplarwhen I was the the Australian War Memorial.
  27. 27. ParticipateParticipation is the go with social technologies. Here we see a wiki featured that effectively allowed the people ofMelbourne to contribute to and build there own future strategic plan. Pretty amazing stuff really.See a blog post I did about this here:
  28. 28. Benefits Connections Engagement Participation Interactivity Communications Instantaneous Extends reach Learning Sharing wisdomThis is just my own quick & dirty list. I’ve highlighted those that I think are the most important benefits with themost potential for researchers with an imagination.The benefits vary from an individual perspective, so I’ve tried to be generic here. I’ve also avoided the marketingbenefits because if social media turns into marketing media, people will flock away from it in droves.Connections means that social media encourages and facilitates connections online and I think that can only be agood thing, whether they be for work, family, social or even intimate personal purposes. Engagement refers tothe chance to engage with others whether they be individuals or organisations in communities of mutual interest.It is possible that such engagement simply was not possible or feasible before social media - well at least not asbroadly and easily. Participation is a major benefit facilitated by relatively simple and free social technologiesgiving everyone the opportunity to have their say should they wish. Interactivity refers to the fact that socialmedia has changed communications in the media from one-to-many to many-to-many and from a one-way to atwo-way process. So Communications have been broadened and now almost everyone has an endless list ofpossibilities for communicating. Social media can offer you an Instantaneous outlet and sometimes aninstantaneous response to questions, observations, invitations, etc. The extension of reach is a huge benefit. Itworks that way for both organisations and individuals through the sheer global scale of the web. The web doesn’treally care when you are online or where you are - you can connect regardless of those factors. Social media hasoffered me major benefits in terms of my own learning in many different areas and on many different subjects.For researchers, perhaps the most important way that you can benefit from the use of social technologies isthrough the sharing of wisdom. Of course you still need to sort the cheese from the chalk, but you probably dothat already in traditional media anyway, so all it takes is a bit of time getting familiar with the networks you selectand it also helps to have list of trusted advisers you can run to when confused or in need or advice.See also:
  29. 29. oh my god by Lucy Vader My suggestionsFor using social media. This is the how-to bit. It’ll be brief.
  30. 30. Start with your own tribeIt is probably best to start within your own “tribe” as Seth Godin would say. Then branch out when you feel morecomfortable. Networks can be funny things and a bit tribal to begin with so it is easier to stay on familiar ground.Don’t just be happy with family members and close friends on Facebook. You know your interests, so maybe tryanother platform that seems appropriate.
  31. 31. Perspective Scale from the tool colour group by Robert MacPhersonKeep what you do in social media in perspective with the rest of your life. It isn’t everything.Try to remember that not everyone is going to be hanging on everything you do or say, so you cannot expectinstant responses al the time.
  32. 32. Listen hello mate by Stephen KingListen to what is said online and try to understand why. You don’t need to react to everything. Sometimes peopleare just letting off steam.
  33. 33. EngageEngaging in social media is probably one of the main things: just be involved. Do more than just lurk.
  34. 34. Play, fail, learnIt really is OK to try some different new things and make mistakes. You won’t be punished or kicked out. Listen tofeedback and if in doubt ask someone what the form is, but experiment and play.
  35. 35. RespectRespect for others is key. The social web is multi-cultural and it generally isn’t popular to be intolerant, ignorantor abusive.
  36. 36. Be real Audrey Hepburn by Douglas KirklandSome people say that anonymity is OK, but I don’t agree. I think that you need to be as real as possible to haveany real impact. You don’t need to give everything away, but the social web can be really generous with you if youmake genuine contributions.
  37. 37. Be careful how sitting hen by Tae-Geun Yang much you revealThere are many ways to make sure you do not give everything away. Just read the guidelines and learn how toadjust the settings of the applications or tools you are using to suit your own interests.
  38. 38. Don’t feed the trolls jolly giants by Steve CroquettYou can read what the trolls are doing on the blog posts of any major newspaper or media enterprise. They enjoybeing abusive and hurling insults in ongoing arguments, usually from the safety of their own anonymity. Don’tencourage them with a response.
  39. 39. Be patientIt isn’t always going to happen instantly, although sometimes it does. Wait for people on the other side of theworld to wake up and then catch-up on their networks.
  40. 40. Readings The Wealth of Everything is Miscellaneous, Networks, David Weinberger Yochai Benkler The Wisdom of Tribes, Crowds, Seth Godin James Surowiecki Cognitive Surplus & The Long Tail, Here Comes Chris Anderson Everybody, Clay Shirky
  41. 41. Suggestions for Academic ResearchersThere is also:!
  42. 42. can just look through this list yourself. All the useful sites I found have been tagged and briefly described. Ifyou have any feedback or more to add to the list, just let me know by messaging me on Diigo or send email tomal.booth[at]
  43. 43. Networks We will look at this one in detail because I think it has a lot of potential for all academicresearchers.
  44. 44. Blogs & Twitter Digital Researcher Blog 2011 Twitter Search : #phdchat Links:
  45. 45. Reference & Citation http://www.zotero.org
  46. 46. Collaboration http://www.myexperiment.orghttp://www.2collab.com
  47. 47. Mindmapping & Data Presentation may also be interested in: (short video on Game Storming)
  48. 48. Utilities & Crowd Sourcing related articles: