On Thursday I am going to be presenting about the use of social media as an academic at the Open University. I really enjoy discussing my experiences of using social media in my work. It has become an incredibly useful tool for me in many ways. It has enabled me to share my research experiences, to discuss my developing skills, to develop extensive networks with researchers across the globe and to develop my writing skills, among many other things. There are of course many different platforms that academics can use but I tend to use my blog, I write for other blogs (such as PhD2Published and the blog for the new research project I am working on ‘Beyond Male Role Models‘) and I use Twitter as regularly as possible to ensure that my research, and my research skills are visible and accessible to a broader audience.
In preparing for my talk I was kindly directed to Deborah Lupton’s blog This Sociological Life. In my opinion, this is an excellent example of academic blogging at its best. Deborah, a sociologist at the University of Canberra, Australia, is very candid about why she uses social media and how it helps her in her academic career. Her site features a number of posts ranging from reflection on why she blogs, to comments on news topics of interest, to book reviews. These posts provide really interesting insight into the way in which she operates as a sociologist. For her, blogging means she is contributing to a gift economy in which knowledge is a social good rather than a marketable commodity (see her blog post here on research about social media use by academics).
There are risks associated with using social media as an academic of course but so far, these have been very minimal for me and I think that the positives outweigh the negatives. I would therefore strongly encourage academics of any career stage to develop their presence and contribute to this emerging gift economy.
There is a lot to learn about social media on Deborah’s site. I highly recommend you take a look!