I arrived Scarman House, Warwick University, with high expectations. It was the venue for the Digital Academic workshop organised by Jobs.ac.uk and Piirus. At the end of the event, I was glad I came. It was worth the energy it took to make it there. I got to take a selfie with the amazing Thesis Whisperer – awesome! Indeed, it was an amazing event (including the lunch), and I am here to give you a report on how it went down.
Nadine Muller, New Academic, kicked off the morning with a bang. She gave a talk on Making Your Mark: Academia, Social Media, & Employability. Social media is invaluable to a researcher she says. You can showcase your writing and teaching skills, and display your ability to engage students on social media. Academic networking is another great use of social media platforms. There is also the opportunity to share your publications and ideas.For instance, you may show the relevance of your research by writing a blog post that takes on a recent headline news item. Newspapers can catch on to these and aid your research in making even bigger impact.
Nadine says we should avoid the tendency to treat social media as an intellectual dumping ground. Rather, we should be part of conversations, as we may shape discussions in our disciplines that way. Academics are often encouraged to collaborate with one another. Social media platforms are spaces where one may meet with potential collaborators.
How much time should one dedicate to this? How does one balance the actual research work with the time-consuming task of maintaining an online presence? Nadine offers one solution, strategic workload management. She says, think about how you can build social media engagement into your academic workload. It is important not to see social media as “another thing” you need to do, but as part of your work as an academic.
Other subjects Nadine covered are images and privacy & plagiarism and copyright. She says that universities have a big responsibility to provide digital media training for academics. Another important point she made was that hiring committees won’t hire you just because you are on social media (even if Barack Obama were following you). Yet, social media puts you in a good position for the needed people to find you.
Andy Tattersall gave the second talk on 23 Research Hacks – Ways to Communicate and Showcase Your Skills. The Thesis Whisperer followed with her very insightful talk on Starting an Academic Blog. These two talks will form the second and third parts of this series – How to be a Digital Academic.
Are you an academic active on social media and blogs? Do share your experience.
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