Digital media tools are fast becoming a significant part of academic life. To ignore them is to fall behind. This is why when Jobs and Piirus advertised a workshop on The Digital Academic, I just had to be there.

The Digital Academic event

If you were unable to make it to the event, do follow this series of 3 posts. In the first of the series, I shared Nadine Muller’s presentation. Her topic was Making Your Mark: Academia, Social Media, & Employability. Here is a link to her presentation slides.

The second speaker, Andy Tattersall, is the focus of this post. He gave a staggering 23-point hack on how academics can spread information on their research, and work smart.

Andy TattersallBalancing the time needed for actual research, and being active online is a big challenge for academics. Andy’s session convinced me that we can hack this, with the right tools of course. He said it was important to note that not everyone in academia benefits from social media the same way. The academic needs of an Assistant Professor differ from an Early Career Researcher’s, and so would their choice of social media and how they are used. In other words, choose which hack(s) work best for you. One doesn’t have to run with them all.

1. Blog Blog about what you know – you are an expert at something.

2. Make your presentations visible – it takes only a few minutes to upload slides online

3. Rethink your posters – many academic posters have a reputation for being dull. Inject a bit of creativity and transform engagement with your posters. There are tools that can help.

4. Make a short video…it’s scary, but it’s simple. Video is a huge deal on the web now.

5. Make an animation…if you don’t want to be seen in your videos, animations might do the trick

6. Write a lay-research summary. This would appear obvious, but it’s amazing how many academics have their research online written in academese.

7. Record a lay-research summary. It’s not enough to write, you might also want to make an audio recording that can easily be embedded on your blog, placed on iTunes, or you can just make it and keep it.

8. Collaborate live on your papers. There are so many tools for this – a key one being Google Docs. Cross-national borders (without a plane ticket), collaborate online, and churn unconventional papers.

9. Tweet. This is self-explanatory (I hope)

10. Join social networks. Social networks are not just about who and what you know, it is what they know as well. For you, this is social capital. Also, don’t feel obliged to become “close friends”…. don’t be afraid to say no if someone wants to connect with you and you don’t want to. It is your space. Social networks help  your career because you know more about what is going on

11. About.Me. Have a personal profile online (outside of your university page). It is the least you can do.

12. Bite-size your content. Don’t be afraid to make a 90-second video. Think about how you can break down your publications into bite-sized chunks.

13. Evernote. Remember everything with this tool.

14. Develop yourself on the go…podcasts

15. Mendeley

16. Haiku Deck


18. Impact Story tool. It is a bit like your CV, but better than it.

19. FigShare. Store, share, and discover research using this tool.

20. Join a conversation. Be visible.

21. Cut down on distractions. This saves time. Tools such as UnrollME can help you better manage subscriptions in your email box.

22. Form a support group

23. Productivity hacks: Eat a frog in the morning – do something you would most likely not want to do. Avoid checking your email first thing in the morning. Use an app like 30/30 to plan your day. Try the pomodoro technique. Meditate.

See Andy Tattersall’s presentation slides for more details. Coming up next is Starting your Academic Blog with the Thesis Whisperer.


Photo Credit: Workshop participants on Twitter