Building your academic brand through engagement with social media

On a wonderfully sunny Thursday in May I had the pleasure of giving a lunch seminar at the Management & Organisation Department of the Free University of Amsterdam (official "brand" name Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Local host Florian Zapkau did a great job in organizing the seminar, getting a very tasty lunch, and taking pictures. I must say it was one of the most congenial seminar set-ups I have ever experienced. I just love the sense of space and light in the area, which doubles as the department's lunch room and kitchen.

My presentation (full slides can be downloaded here) focused on the why's and why not's of using social media professionally and practicalities of engaging with social media to build your academic brand. I covered the main social media outlets that are relevant in academia:

  1. Google Scholar Profiles, not strictly speaking social media as there is limited scope for interaction beyond following an academic's updates, but it is an essential online CV, covering all your publications and their citations. Since version 5 and 6 Publish or Perish also allows searching GS Profiles, which instantly gives you all of PoP's handy metrics for your GS profile.
  2. LinkedIn profile, very useful to present your basic CV online and connect with other academics (and non-academics!). You can also share resources with your followers. I find it a very useful venue to share my blogposts as it draws a slightly different audience than my Twitter account (which is followed more by academics in bibliometrics).
  3. ResearchGate, another online platform that allows you to list your publications (with full-text where possible) and define research projects. Just be careful with your email alert settings as the default settings alert you "whenever someone in your networks farts".
  4. Twitter , a micro-blogging site. Initially I thought this was utterly stupid only useful for celebrities and people concerned with each others' breakfasts, but I have found it a useful means to keep up-to-date with academic news and share your own (and your colleagues') work and achievements. An unexpected benefit can be internal marketing, my Dean, Executive Dean and VC all follow me.
  5. Blogging. As you can see I have embraced this outlet with gusto, posting in the following ten categories: Academia Behind the Scenes, Academic Etiquette, Classic Papers, Conferences, CYGNA, From my Inbox, Positive Academia, Publish or Perish Tips, Research Focus, and That's Interesting.

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