Social media is booming. You can now find user generated content in just about all spheres of life; politics, music, history, you name it and it can be found. What about the field of academic research? Are the critics right to sneer at social media as being trivial time-wasting activities or could there be a real benefit to the researchers who do engage using more of the tools at their disposal? As with most things it would appear that there are pros and cons but with the right tools in the right context, it can be an effective way for researchers to raise their profile, swap ideas, get feedback and, possibly, find that all important next job.
This is why that next week, I’m glad that we are running a workshop at UWE entitled “Becoming a Digital Researcher”. This is going to be a hands on demonstration of some of the social media tools that are being used in academic research. I’m especially pleased that Tristram Hooley will be leading the day, he was one of the authors of a Research Information Network publication on this topic: Social Media: A Guide for Researchers who also has his own (very good) blog called Adventures in Career Development.
I’m also interested in how these social media tools have evolved and become part of the toolkit that researchers can access, I can recall clearly how the web based tools moved on at pace throughout my own research degree journey and I like to think that I keep up with some of them!
In thinking about this post, I came across the infographic below from Fred Cavazza which shows the current landscape with respect to social media, an attempt to classify what is out there. Just by looking back at his similar diagrams over the past four years demonstrates how quickly things progress!
The social media landscape 2011, a mapping of the types of social media tools in use
If you are interested in following the goings on via twitter we will be using the hashtag #druwe
If you are interested in coming along in person, drop me an e-mail email@example.com
I’m a former researcher into the microbiology of the mouth who now runs a skills development programme for other researchers.