In retrospect | Workshop ‘Social Media and Blogging for Academics’

During the recent workshop <link doctoral-education egs3h-doctoral-courses workshop-social-media-for-academics _blank>Social Media and Blogging for Academics media scholar Linda Duits made one thing clear, ‘using social media can help you become a better academic’. Duits gave some top tips on getting started and discussed how best to deal with the one thing feared by most novice bloggers, a troll.

Need a reason to blog and tweet, how about fourteen? That’s how many reasons Duits mentioned in her presentation (password to video in October newsletter) at the earlier held Social Media Seminar.

The most important one however is valorisation. In the workshop Duits again emphasized how social media can help you spread your work among fellow academics but also reach an audience beyond the academic setting.

An important step in getting started is to imagine your target audience and tailor you social media strategy accordingly. There is no point in writing three thousand word blog posts if you are trying to reach a lay audience. Six hundred to a thousand words should suffice in any case.

Remember that even academics can get easily distracted online. Therefore Duits suggests to always be to the point, connect with current (social or academic) discussions and to develop a sense of humour in your writing. Practise makes perfect.

If you want to keep engaging with your audience it is important to keep them coming back for more. A good way to a produce a steady stream of updates is to write some posts according to easily written formats such as lists, reviews or reposts.

For the novice blogger Duits suggests Wordspress as a simple blogging tool. Combining this with social media such Twitter will allow you to disseminate blog posts among a larger audience.

Sooner or later any novice blogger will have to face trolls. These are people who make it an effort to upset internet users by posting inflammatory off topic comments.

However, do not be discouraged, says Duits. Just make sure not to get dragged into an endless discussion when someone is identified as a troll. As a last resort remember that blocking is your friend.

If you want to learn more about the workshop you can view the slide show of the workshop online.

Here are some other top tips that were mentioned during the workshop.

  • Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. Here is a list (Dutch article) of three online tools to make your own.
  • No post is complete without an image. Images that have the Creative Commons copyright tag (CC) are free to use (with some rights reserved). Flickr and Wikipedia have extensive databases