The practice of using social media as part of academic research or in terms of joining an academic community related to your subject or research interest is becoming more common. Some reasons why this might be useful to you include:
Social media can be very useful. I'd particularly recommend LinkedIn for job-hunting - definitely put that you're a University of Cambridge student in your description.
- MPhil Linguistics student, 2017-18
Using social media platforms takes time, especially when building up connections to an academic community, and you should bear this in mind when making decisions about what to use. There is plenty of choice available, but here we're just going to mention two platforms in particular. See the resources at the bottom for more ideas of platforms.
Twitter is particularly popular for academic networking. You'll find plenty of advice online about the 'best way' to use Twitter effectively and while some parts of this might be helpful, you should also think critically about some of this advice. The 'best way' will often be connected to your research interests, the kind of community on Twitter, and how much time you have, so it's worth spending some time seeking out relevant people and accounts to follow. If you're not sure where to begin, try talking about an interesting paper you've read (and if it's open access, include a link).
Blogging is an effective way of making your research and your ideas more visible, raising your profile within the academic community, practise your writing, practise your non-academic writing, creating an archive of your ideas, and more. It is, however, time-consuming to blog regularly, so consider this before taking the plunge and setting up an academic blog. There are several platforms available, including Wordpress, Blogger, Wix, and you can even use sites like Medium for the same purposes.
If you are planning to use social media for academic purposes, for networking, building a community, sharing research and ideas, what you write in your bio might be useful in starting to build this network. For example, you might want to include:
One of the early decisions you might want to take is whether to keep your professional and personal life separate on social media, or to use some platforms only in a personal sense. The University of Cambridge, which strongly encourages the use of social media for academic reasons, has produced some guidelines on using social media. It's directed mainly at academic and professional staff within the University, but there are some useful hints here.
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