Social Media for Academics

I've finally got my hands on a copy of the much anticipated 'Social Media for Academics' by Mark Carrigan (2016). I can't warrant the title of an academic just yet, but the guidance and questions raised could resonate with anyone pursuing a professional presence online. 

The beginnings of my blog and Twitter generated a great deal of uneasiness about how I would keep up with creating new content, ensure I came across as engaging and benefit from the activity myself. Perhaps if I had the pleasure of reading Carrigan's book first, I wouldn't have treated the utility of social media with such caution. It isn't made any easier by the fact that sociologists not only use social media to facilitate their academic work but study it as telling of such societal changes as the blurring of the public and the private. Carrigan starts to delve into these issues and others, such as the politics of circulation, to discuss how they can be negotiated in practice.

Spotlight on Chapter 3 - Using social media to build your network

In my experience, content I have posted has become the source of both online and offline conversations, allows development of your own voice and to share thoughts related to your interests in real time. As Carrigan points out, social networking sites rely on the interactivity of sharing or creating content to an audience which can facilitate inspiration and collaboration. One of the biggest feats though, is maintaining a consistent self-image for integrity in a saturated culture of digital information.

Live tweeting at conferences can reshape how those in attendance experience an event and allows remote others to get a feel for the themes and people involved from the online commentary. Arguably, it isn't a substitute for the context captured through physical immersion and comes with the baggage of negotiating etiquette... Something which I plan to experiment with at a conference I will be attending this week - watch this space!

Even at masters level, social media seems worthwhile for developing a professional network but comes with the strife of 'keeping up', continuously engaging with and reflecting upon experiences in order to get the most out of them.