More than ‘Network, baby’? – other social media tools (Things 9, 10, 11)

If I am learning anything through ’23 Things’, it is that I should spend a little time finding out / having a go / reflecting on the unfamiliar territory of learning and making a place in the digital world. Inevitably, there are elements of a project such as this which appear to be of greater relevance than others… But what is the point of committing to following a programme of this nature and not diving in to the unfamiliar?

I am a dutiful swot – as I’m sure you have already picked up – and so I had a go at signing up to the networking sites: LinkedIn feels like an uncomfortable place at the moment… I have assumptions and associations of this as a networking vehicle for industry and the corporate world of which I have never been part. I also think of LinkedIn as a site which perpetuates itself – everyone uses it because they think everyone uses it and it would be risky to be out of the loop. This may well be unfair and unfounded, but I felt that the aspects of data they wanted for profiling were not those most important to me. I may feel differently in the future if LinkedIn remains a key way to post your CV and seek job opportunities, but it just isn’t reflecting where I am at the moment.


I can see the relevance and usefulness of, however. No surprises there, perhaps, but it has more to offer for ‘newbie’ and early career researchers. Elements such as uploading of conference presentations and papers are not just promoting the voice of your work, but can act as an organic archive – a hot topic to consider in the aftermath of ‘Open Access Week’ and many recent questions about the growing need for recognition of altmetrics (See Thing 6). My first conference is next week and whilst my presentation will be (mercifully) brief, I will begin my archive on the site.

I have already written about Facebook as a personal space (see Thing 3) rather than a place to make professional connections, but I am beginning to consider the purpose of using pages other than personal ones: Firstly, I need to explore the idea of creating ‘events’ pages as a way of reaching a wider variety of research participants. I am preparing some workshops for the University of Falmouth and Craftivist Collective #wellMAKING Craftivist Garden project – both of which will be advertised through Facebook event pages that can provide information, allow sharing and help keep track of numbers. In addition, I am still committed to using Facebook in the future as a way of involving far-flung virtual participants in my research. There are issues about ethics, confidentiality and ensuring transparency about informed consent here which I am trying to learn much more about.

What else is new? I have considered Pinterest in a new light (this mother-of-the-bride has too many wedding planning associations with it) after reading this from the LSE: My personal recommendation for using digital technology in teaching is the wonderful Padlet: This allows the creation of a ‘wall’ where images, text, video etc can be posted – but there is a key difference… The URL can be shared securely with students / co-workers so they can add their own contributions, making it a truly dynamic bit of collaborative technology. It updates in real time, so it’s also a top way to invite contributions from everyone in a lecture or seminar.
padlet banksy

Certainly, Twitter remains the professional discovery of the programme so far… This week I have kept up to date with debates in Open Access week, found interesting material about Qualitative Research– including a committment to ‘online first’ articles, signed up to a local conference (where I also will be submitting a blog-post and hopefully a paper), and committed to blogging for Public Health England’s A Day in the Life site as part of challenging stigma around mental illness.