“I’m an Academic, I don’t have time for Social Media!”
Many academics I meet tell me how, even though they understand the positive aspects social media could have on their academic career (see: Ten Reasons why Academics Should Use Social Media), they simply don’t see how they would have time to keep up professional social media.
Common frustrations amongst academics are that they are too busy and they don’t want to be distracted, followed by, What should/could I write about? Where do I start!? Would it really make a difference to my career or networking capabilities? Who would be interested?
There are a lot of questions at the beginning of this social media road, and in this short blog I will address Making time for Social Media, to get you thinking about how you can fit a new layer to your academic life, reaching outside of your immediate physical workspace to others who are interested in your work.
Here are a few ways you can fit a professional social media persona into your academic life and make it an investment and not a waste of your time:
#1. Quick-fix micro-blogging: A few moments from your smartphone, tablet, or computer
- Be visible on professional networking sites is an easy way to have an online presence without having to commit to doing much, just make a profile and up-date when you have time; Academia.edu; Researchgate.com and LinkedIn are all good ways of getting yourself known with an up-to-date profile of your own curated and correct information You can be active as much or as little as you want. It’s an easy way for people who are interested in your papers to see your latest work too – fewer emails requesting your latest work!
- Twitter – it’s a favourite among writers and academics (and me) – I say it’s like having a TALKING BUSINESS CARD; your basic details along with, hopefully a nice picture of you, is simply displayed with a few details about your work interests. Tweet about the book you just read, the chapter you just wrote, or a paper you found really interesting. You were reading that article anyway, so just Tweet if you recommend it (or be controversial about it), you could entice a great discussion for yourself and/or others.
- Are you reading up on something for your latest research project or writing a grant? Did you find something interesting that could be useful or of interest to others? SHARE IT on LinkedIn and Twitter (or Facebook too – if that’s where you prefer). It only takes a few seconds and you never know, someone else might have read it and recommend another article.
#2. Macro-blogging – a bigger investment
Setting up a blog of your own can be a daunting task, especially when you feel you have to blog regularly. So that is the first thing you need to decide; How often do I want to blog? And then there is the length of the blog, the better blogs I read are concise and to the point, so make it as short as possible with a defined message.
Blogging about your work to raise your profile and interest about your field of research could be a very important part of your work but it shouldn’t be a chore, it should be worthwhile to your career and even fun. Pick your favourite topics and perhaps get your students to write a piece a month/week, or have another colleague to share the space. There are good collaborative blogs spaces on the web, and you could even start one for your department or lecture class.
If you want a worthwhile blog, you will make it a part of your working day. You might be making notes on something anyway so why not just copy and paste your notes into a blog OR write the blog as your notes when you are learning or revising a topic, you could remember the details better or even think about the subject more objectively.
Take a look at what bloggers are doing out there and get inspired and you’ll be convinced it IS a great investment of your precious time.
I’ll be writing more blogs including: What The Blog do I Write About? and Tweeting for Academics; Twitter-speak.
If you would like me to discuss something please just get in touch.