Social Media For Researchers


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An hour-long workshop given at the Postgraduate Conference 2014, University of Lincoln (UK)

Published in: Education, Technology

Social Media For Researchers

  1. 1. Social media How it can help you do research Ross Mounce @rmounce #PGConf14
  2. 2. Talk structure & content * A short introduction to the social web * Simple generic points, widely applicable * Mode & tool specific tips - mostly on Blogging, Tweeting & GitHub Disclaimers (many): This is a 30min talk. I can’t cover everything. What I’m going to say is based mostly upon just opinion. You can see some of my slides again online at: http://www.slideshare. net/rossmounce/social-media-for-science
  3. 3. Most of the ‘ideas’ in this talk are not original, nor mine. Propagate as you wish! This is a standard open science slide I’ve adapted from Cameron Neylon. Use it when giving talks to make your preferences known to your audience. Source: Tip #1: include *clickable* links
  4. 4. What is social media? Interaction among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks… of user-generated content * Blogging * Social Networking Sites * Microblogging * Content Communities Source:
  5. 5. Examples of the social web Don’t worry about all the different networks/tools Source: These are just some of many
  6. 6. The focus of this talk Tip #2: Always label/explain images if possible Many web-users & academics are blind or visually-impaired Twitter YouTube LinkedIn Google+ WordPress GitHub
  7. 7. Choose the right tool for the job Each social network/tool has its strengths and weaknesses: Twitter is great for quick real-time discussion & sharing links - but it’s not a platform for detailed debate or lengthy code. LinkedIn is good for reaching a more senior / higher-up audience, and also job recruiters. Awful for discussion. Youtube + Soundcloud are brilliant for second by second analysis, discussion & sharing of audio/video, but little else.
  8. 8. Different people use things differently Sounds simple, but it’s important to bear in mind. 1.) Personally, I use Facebook exclusively just for friends. It’s a closed-ish private-space for me. 2.) But others happily use it as a public-facing profile to interact with anyone and everyone. 3.) Others still maintain a separate ‘personal’ & ‘public’ fb persona. Be conscious that other people may do things differently...
  9. 9. Be nice. Be careful what you say Social media has the power to immense good and bad (Both for yourself and others) (psychologist)#Twitter_obesity_controversy RT’s != endorsement
  10. 10. Always remember your purpose The social web, networks and tools are there to help people interact and communicate No one tweets for the sake of tweeting Or blogs for the sake of blogging Do it to communicate your work, and raise your profile. Help and be helped.
  11. 11. Twitter Twitter is an invaluable tool for academics e.g. #icanhazpdf When you can’t access a paper just tweet the URL + #icanhazpdf + your email address (someone kind will then email you the paper) Delete your tweet after you receive what you need
  12. 12. Twitter It’s fantastic at meetings & conferences Send tweets with the meeting hashtag e.g. #MastEcoBES13 so others can find/interact on the meeting ‘tweetstream’ Retweet (RT) things you agree with / or want others to read. Add your own comment to a RT if there’s space. Original tweet My comment on this
  13. 13. Twitter Meetings & conferences It enables useful and frank discussion of talks It empowers remote following & remote participation. Good panel sessions will take questions from Twitter as well as the in-house ‘live’ audience of conference goers.
  14. 14. Twitter Getting help and helping others (mutual benefits!) A recent example (26th Nov 2013) I have 10,000+ DOI’s and I want to get BibTeX -> how? Step 1.) Ask Q on twitter Step 2.) Read near-instant replies from clever people Take a bow @neilfws @invisiblecomma @egonwillighagen Step 3.) Try suggested solutions… Encounter extra problem...
  15. 15. Twitter Tweet the new problem (special characters in the DOI were screwing-up my curl request) Problem solved! Important sidenote: Twitter fosters brilliant cross-disciplinary communication. Dan is a QMUL postdoc at the Centre for Digital Music. w/o Twitter this interaction would NEVER happen
  16. 16. Twitter More than just solving my problem though… Helping me do that curl request had mutual benefit for Dan -> awareness of an automated method to get bibdata given DOI’s ...and also two of Dan’s followers
  17. 17. Twitter Twitter is simply brilliant. I won’t force you to join-up… but if you don’t, I think you’re missing out
  18. 18. Blogging Twitter is limited to just <140 character messages. For extended discussion, incorporating multiple media, the blog post is a much better form and longer lasting You can embed code, audio, video, pictures, GIF’s… Try and always include at least 1 picture to break-up your text Wordpress, Blogger or Tumblr are good platforms to start with
  19. 19. Blogging Blog posts can be and *are* cited in the literature. It’s an excellent space to rapidly communicate new ideas. (Incidentally, Rod Page first dragged me on to Twitter - thanks Rod!)
  20. 20. Blogging Impact Blog posts on popular platforms can receive more attention than your average Nature News article Easy steps towards open scholarship Patients leave a microbial mark on hospitals (LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog) (Nature News, 23 May 2013) published 24 May 2013 uk/impactofsocialsciences/2013/05/24/easy-steps- towards-open-scholarship/ Data source:
  21. 21. Google+ & YouTube Google+ has a lot of critics… “ghost town” etc But I’ve got 15,000+ followers (circlers) there, so I like it :) It’s great for paper discussions Also for journal clubs via Google+ Hangouts Hangouts can be recorded and automatically made available at YouTube after the event See here for a 14 comment thread! e.g. The Phylo / Macro Journal Club
  22. 22. LinkedIn A horribly creepy network - be careful what permissions you grant LinkedIn I suspect it’s one of the few online networks that more ‘senior’ academics use - so you need a presence here It’s also really important for keeping connections and job prospects for beyond academia Make sure you upload your CV here
  23. 23. GitHub Social coding has arrived! Try it! Why use Git? -> Pearse & Purvis. 2013. phyloGenerator: an automated phylogeny generation tool for ecologists. MEE Code openly available on GitHub both pre- and post-publication Enables ‘pull requests’ (suggest code changes) ‘forking’ and ‘issue tracking’
  24. 24. GitHub
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  28. 28. But see: The Economist article ‘No Peeking’ Jan 11th 2014
  29. 29. Used to be cool, but then Elsevier bought it out :( Prompted many users to delete their data and walk away #mendelete See Jason Hoyt’s excellent blog post for more: Also see for why >14,500 academics are boycotting Elsevier
  30. 30. Question Time! Tweet me (@rmounce) a link to *your* online presence (don’t forget the conference hashtag: #PGConf14 ) If you’re not on Twitter, why not sign-up now ? Anything you’d like to know about that I haven’t addressed?