All researchers need to find, use and disseminate information. Social media has many tools that allow you to do this, and increase your research profile in the broader community.
Outlined below are just a few of the many tools available. A more comprehensive list is available from Professor Andy Miah's A-Z of Social Media for Academia.
While not a social media tool, The Conversation is an independent source of news and insights, written by academics and researchers and available online free of charge to the wider community. The site's charter includes "giving experts a greater voice in shaping scientific, cultural and intellectual agendas by providing a trusted platform that values and promotes new thinking and evidence-based research."
Blogging is useful for promoting your research and publications. You can use a blog to receive early feedback on your research from a wider audience; build a community of researchers with a common interest; reflect on your research findings; and reach a wider audience, rather than just the academic community.
There are a number of online blogging tools, but the most popular are:
Find our more about using Blogging to disseminate your research.
Facebook, originally designed to connect students at a Harvard University, has since expanded to connect family, friends and business associates.
You can use Facebook to set up a profile for your research or research group, allowing more people to discover your research and give you greater exposure. You can use your existing Facebook profile as a Research Profile, simply by creating different contact lists.
Some examples of Facebook Research pages
A Research Group - ILWS CSU (Institute for Land, Water and Society)
Find out how to set up a Facebook Research Profile using contact lists on Lucy Wickens' Using Facebook for Networking & Research
ImpactStory is an OpenSource website that allows you to track the impact of your publications on a wide range of web-based interaction tools, eg., Delicious, Facebook, Mendeley, SlideShare, to name but a few. You can create a permanent link that can be embeded onto your Website. Requires a personal subscription.
Find out more about creating an ImpactStory profile .
Find out more about ImpactStory.
Twitter isn't just for celebrity gossip or meaningless trivia. Many researchers use Twitter to comment on their research, conference papers and new stories. If a tweet is retweeted by another user, these statistics are often collated by services such as ImpactStory.
You don't have to tweet to use Twitter, many tweets include hashtags relating to pertinent topics. You can follow these hashtags and keep up-to-date with current conversations on a topic.
You can include your Twitter handle in your email signature in Outlook.
Find out more about using Twitter in University research, teaching and impact activities with the London School of Economic's guide.
Bar-Ilan, J., Haustein, S., Peters, I., Priem, J., Shema, H., & Terliesner, J. (2012). Beyond citations: Scholars' visibility on the social Web. 17th International Conference on Science and Technology Indicators, Montreal, Canada.
JustPublics@365 (2013) Social Media Guide for Academics - free ebook.
Lupton, D. (2013). Social media for academia: some things I have learnt, This Sociological Life.
Mewburn, I., & Thomson, P. (2014). Why do academics blog?, Euroscientist.
SpotOn Editor. (2013). Social media for science outreach – a case study: That social media thang, SpotOn : Science policy, outreach and tools online.
Tennant, J. (2013). The values of social media and blogging for academics, Green tea and velociraptors.