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Getting the most from social media - it's all academic

An introduction to how academic researchers can use social media - and blogging and Twitter in particular - to connect with knowledge users and other academics, and to promote their work.

Chris Berry

on 22 October 2017

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Transcript of Getting the most from social media - it's all academic

Getting the most from social media - it's all academic...
hOrow to potentially
advance your academic work by networking with (theoretically) anyone, anywhere (so long as they are on the internet)...
What is meant by social media?
Social media are NOT merely broadcast channels or marketing tools.

Social media refers to a range of online tools and channels that facilitate interactions amongst people.

Social media allow the creation, sharing and/or exchange of information and ideas across virtual communities and networks, that are global.
So why should academics use social media?
Interact with other academics undertaking similar research

Discuss your research in a more informal environment and manner

Publicise your outputs to a (potentially) global audience

Develop new interactions and collaborations

Gain immediate feedback on ideas and actual/potential research

Gather information about funding, events, conferences and other useful resources

Promote work to a non-academic audience – IMPACT!

What social media channels could you use?
– easily updated online journal, potentially allowing you to share ideas and information with anyone with an internet connection and an interest in what you are saying.

– “microblogging” platform for producing “tweets” - 140 character updates on your thoughts/activities - which can be read by those following your Twitter profile.

– create a profile and share information with "friends" and colleagues you connect with. Also interact via dedicated subject and organisation pages.
– promotes professional networking, connecting colleagues, businesses and organisations with similar work-related interests.

– site for uploading and sharing images (referred to as “pins”) in themed boards which other users can access and comment upon.

Reddit / Stumbledupon
– content discovery tools that allows you to post links to content (articles, blog posts etc.) in specific categories (e.g. politics) for access by other users.

YouTube / Slideshare
– platforms that respectively make videos or PowerPoint presentations available to a global audience.
– platform dedicated to academics sharing research papers and associated information on their work.
Introduction to blogging for academics
Academic blogging
is a method of public engagement and knowledge exchange. It can allow researchers to

– and
their work – with various audiences of
knowledge users
, bringing
to both those who write and those who read a blog.
Positive outcomes
from academic blogging can include:
Facilitates a
less formal
approach to writing about research than academic papers.
Can encourage
prior to “formal” publication.
with other researchers (who may be 1000s miles away).
positive outcomes
from academic blogging can include:
Publicising your work to a
target audience.
Helping to
your academic
achieved by your research outside academia.
How to start blogging…
plays an
role in promoting SPS’s work – social media strategy.
There are a number of
SPS derived
– subject areas, centres & projects, individuals.
Easy to set up a blog of your own using established platforms such as
Things to consider when undertaking academic blogging

Think about who it is aimed at – what’s your audience?
You aren't writing a journal paper – pieces should be concise, style should be relatively informal.
Try and get your main points / arguments identified in first paragraph – helps to hook your audience.
Write about yourself, your work, what interests you; what’s gone well in your work and what’s not gone quite so well (human interest).
It might take time for you to find your blog's “voice” – short topical posts v longer essays, or a mixture of both etc.
Think about what you are saying and how you are saying it – a blog post is still a publication (IPR implications), and be mindful of controversy.
Let the university know you are blogging!
Use social media (Twitter etc.) to promote your blog posts to your target audience and build a following.

[Thanks to Claire De Mowbray (SPS) & The Guardian HEN]
Blogging Exercise -
Write a short opening paragraph for a blog on a piece of research you are currently undertaking, or a subject relevant to your work that is of interest;
Find an example of an academic blog you rate or like, and identify what is good about it. []
Introduction to Twitter for academics
Twitter is a free “
” service allowing users to send and receive short (max 140 character), publically viewable messages –

Tweets can include links to web pages,
, pictures, videos etc. – anything that is

Need to set up an account to start using Twitter – very
to do.

Individuals, organisations, and even subdivisions of organisations can set up accounts, producing a Twitter “
You can
feeds of individuals and organisations that are of interest to you and
to their tweets – and they can do the same for your Twitter feed.

Possible to
Twitter for
and marker tags –
or #tags – associated with subjects that might be of interest e.g.
. Can respond to tweets containing the above, even if tweets are from a feed you are not already following.

You can check to see which other Twitter users have mentioned you in their tweets, or have repeated (
) a tweet you posted.
Use Twitter to
new blog posts, papers or KE events you are organising or involved in –
to websites where further information on these can be found.

other researchers or knowledge users who share an interest in your work.
by commenting on, or retweeting things of interest that they tweet.

Post using
to potentially reach people who are interested in a particular subject, but might not be followers of your feed – e.g. “Great new blog on Sterling and #indyref by Dr Bloggs [shortened link].”
Find a tweeting
that suits you (see LSE PPG guide).

rule of thirds
(1/3 about you, 1/3 about those you follow, 1/3 general interest) to engage and build a following, e.g.:
- New post on my blog is about my latest #socialwork research.
- @DrBloggs – really interested in your #devomax paper in @constitutionalpolitics
- Anyone else find the latest @Scotsman opinion poll on #indyref puzzling?

– thank those that retweet you etc.
Following, followers and #hashtags
Using Twitter to engage key audiences and publicise your work
Twitter exercise

Identify 3 hashtags and/or people/organisations on Twitter that would be relevant to your research.

Resources & references

LSE Public Policy Group guide to academic use of Twitter

This Sociological Life - blog by Deborah Lupton

Guardian Higher Education Network - "Social media is more than simply a marketing tool for academic research"

Thank you for listening, and good luck with your adventures in the academic world of social media.

Chris Berry
Knowledge Exchange & Impact Officer
School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Bournemouth University Research Blog - "The benefits of academic blogging - should you enter the blogosphere?!"

LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog - "A new paradigm of scholarly communications is emerging: A report from the Future of Impact conference"

LSE Impact of Social Sciences Blog "How to" guides include many on social media for academics:

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