We all know that social media has a significant place in many people’s lives – whether as a form of procrastination, distraction, entertainment or inspiration, to keep in touch with friends and family, or to show off an arty plate of brunch. We build links and connections on social networks, and these can usefully support your career development.
As a researcher, here are some platforms you should know:
On Academia.edu you can upload and share your own research publications (provided that you are not violating any copyright agreements you have signed with the publisher), follow other researchers in your field, and monitor analytics such as the number of views of your documents or profile. Academia.edu profiles often appear high in Google searches, so can be a really good way of promoting your research. Despite the ‘.edu’ in the web address, you should bear in mind, however, that Academia.edu is a for-profit company.
On ResearchGate you can share your publications, find collaborators, look for job opportunities, and ask and answer questions to and from other scholars. ResearchGate is also a commercial platform.
You probably already use Google Scholar – but have you created a profile? On Deborah Lupton’s blog on Ten tips for increasing your academic visibility she writes:
‘Ensure that you have a Google Scholar profile that lists all your publications and citations. I can’t emphasise enough how important this is to make your publications and citations visible in one place. Google Scholar automatically links to all your open access publications as well, helping people to readily find your work. Important! – ensure that you check your profile regularly to weed out any inaccuracies that the Google Scholar algorithms may have created, such as not including a publication of yours or wrongly attributing someone else’s publications (and citations) to you. An inaccurate Google Scholar profile is not a good look, particularly if it appears that you are taking credit for someone else’s work. Sign up to Google Scholar alerts for your name – this will mean that every time you are cited, GS will email you a notification. This a fantastic way not only of seeing who is citing you but also how they are using and building on your work.’
The University of Oklahoma offers a handy step-by-step guide to how to set one up.
Lots of people have a LinkedIn profile, but don’t really use it. Keep yours up-to-date! There is far more functionality than many people realise; for example, it’s a handy way of finding out what other graduates from the your University are doing now (both for inspiration and the possibility of introductions) – for example you can go to the University of Exeter LinkedIn page and look up alumni, who you can search by title, key word or company. This can be very useful if you are looking to move into a job outside academia. If you want to stay in academia and want some tips on pimping your profile, you could have a look at these 7 tips to supercharge your academic LinkedIn profile.
You could also start a website/blog
. Having your own website can be particularly useful if you have a few strings to your bow and you want to tell a coherent story of your professional life all in one place. And to tout for paid work. Otherwise it is most useful if you want to have a link you can share quickly and easily to show people who you are and what you’re up to, that doesn’t rely on ongoing institutional affiliation. Here are some examples, from a range of disciplines, from academics at this university and beyond, at different career stages. As you’ll see, people use a range of styles (some with more basic templates, others are a bit more swishy), to suit their needs, budget and tech skills:
If you want to build your own website, there are lots of free options.