Social Media – slides and notes

Posted by on Oct 13, 2010 in PhD | No Comments

The first two “showings” of my new Social Media and your Career workshop happened yesterday in Utrecht. Many thanks to all who attended and made them such a success.

By sticking to the core principle of a workshop about careers and introducing social media as a “shiny new wrapper” to boost your profile and impact, there was something for even the most expert Social Media (SM) users who found themselves in the workshop. Particular thanks to them for their engagement despite their concerns I was about to teach them to suck eggs (I’m not sure this translates into Dutch but they all smiled at the image – here’s a note on this curious phrase for my perplexed Dutch readers!).

So, here I’m going to continue the workshop by posting the annotated slides and some additional links; by reminding those who were there (and informing those who weren’t) of the sites we visited during the session and by inviting comments and further suggestions from the audience (this includes you!).


First the handout:

The format is A3, folded into an A5 booklet (thanks to Janet Wilkinson for this excellent idea).


The slides we used during the workshop are now on SlideShare including notes from the two discussions we had on the potential value of SM and the steps that individuals can take to bolster their SM presence. (To view the notes for each slide, from the SlideShare site click the notes tab behind the comments box.)


Social media and your career Oct 2010

We looked at a range of sites during the workshop to illustrate the value of Social Media.


Twitter – the off-putting thing about Twitter is the home page that you see when visiting for the first time. All the trivia and nonsense in the world appears before your eyes, with (if you are lucky) the occasional vaguely interesting post. Like all SM the beauty of Twitter is only revealed as you begin to identify interesting and informative feeds to follow. I’ve created a starters’ list after the workshop to give a flavour of the posts I follow and my fabulous Dutch speaking research careers expert Tennie has done the same.


LinkedIn – the groups feature of LinkedIn was the facet discussed in most depth during the workshop. This enables users to engage with other like-minded individuals without having to link to them directly. It also allows for discussion threads and posting of material. The PostDoc Forum group has just started a discussion about being a researcher in another country which invites members to share personal insights and advice. We also talked about the power of the recommendation facility on LinkedIn and I suggested that the best way to benefit from this is to start by writing recommendations for others.


Facebook – although largely social, the value of Facebook for researchers was illustrated by two examples from the group of Facebook community pages created by researchers for researchers. (I’ll post details of these in the comments once I’ve heard from the researchers who run them.) Again, this is a way to broaden your reach on Facebook without having to “befriend” people. GIven the fact that most users view Facebook as a networking tool for personal friends, rather than professional contacts, this allows researchers to tap into the huge audience using Facebook without having to compromise on a more relaxed style of postings. The ShintonConsulting Facebook page welcomes all!


Blogging sites – once your SM confidence grows, blogging is a great tool for sharing your thoughts and ideas in more depth. Most sites also allow for posting of material such as slides, video, documents and audio files so you can create a multi-media experience for your readers! I also find blogging is a great reflective tool – one of the core career management skills – allowing you to review experiences and develop your thinking. Blogging also usually allows for a dialogue with your readers (although some bloggers prefer all comments to be fed through their Twitter feed).


Content sharing sites – a huge variety are available so I’m going to focus on the academically oriented. Vidiowiki can be described as YouTube for researchers who post 3 minute presentations describing their work to a broad audience.

Another researcher video worth viewing is Dominic Walliman’s prize winning description of his research into Quantum Computing (and while you are in the YouTube universe why not check out the RUG Wetenschapsdag, Spinoza Prizewinner Marten Scheffer, the SENSE Research School channel, Leiden University Faculty of Science.) Had enough research? Time for a little light relief


I’ve also just heard from Keith, the other half of Shinton Consulting, that many researchers are uploading their conference posters to Flickr. Another great use of SM for research.


To illustrate the way that SM can deliver information you would never have found otherwise, here are two final sites we looked at:

EmployKyle – don’t know what you want to do with your life but think you have something special to offer the right employer? Don’t let it put you off – embrace the uncertainty, like Kyle

Unconvinced SM is anything other that a flood of trivia? Researchers are finding it a rich source of information and scholarly activity.


So, a final thanks to all involved and if I’ve missed anything, let me know via comments. And don’t forget…

1. Social Media is a wonderful rich source of information, but without a clear objective it will be a HUGE time-eater (to be honest, even WITH a clear objective it can take over your life) so enter the universe with a question that needs an answer.

2. Remember that SM is like a shiny new wrapper – what counts is the quality of the thinking and the personal integrity underneath. Only post comments or material that you would be happy for a colleague or potential employer to see.


I hope those who couldn’t attend the workshop find enough material here to help them benefit from the ideas we discussed – if you’d like to come along in the future, just let NWO know!


If this experiment with social media is of value, I’ll post future workshops here as well.

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