Maximizing your Academic Potential Via Social Media: Part One

This week I was asked by the Research Excellence Unit at Coventry University to host a seminar on how academics can maximize their academic potential via social media as part of the wider research impact agenda…

I could not possibly cover every aspect of social media (its too huge)…

Some participants were beginners, and some were looking to expand upon what they are already good at doing…Twas a great crowd 🙂

Following this event I was going to slowly publish this seminar over a series of 6 blog posts over a few weeks…However, this event was very popular and many are asking for the slides and blog posts this week…

Also..many others could not attend but really wanted to!….and so…this seminar will be published as a few blog posts over the next week or so….Enjoy!

Many people ask the following questions:

  • How do academics use social media?
  • How can  social media be used for research?
  • How can social media be used to promote businesses?
  • How can social media be used to promote Community interest companies (CIC)?
  • How can social media be used for networking?
  • How can I use social media to promote my academic research?

You can find the entire 4 part blog series which answer these questions by clicking here

Maximizing your Academic Potential Via Social Media: Part One

By Sally Pezaro

Follow me on Twitter: @SallyPezaro


As a background…I am a midwife, academic and Social Media Ninja. My research is embedded within health and social care, with a topical focus on supporting the midwifery workforce. As such, this blog series will focus largely upon engagement within the health and social care research scene. However, many people have found this seminar easy to extrapolate to their own fields of research. I hope you do too 🙂


Social Media

Are you ready to be a Social Media Ninja?..Then I’ll begin…

Firstly, its important to know why you are using social media. What for?.. Just because this blog post says you should? (That is a good reason by the way)!

There are many reasons, and none are really wrong…but some may be better than others…and some really should be separated out from the rest.

Which reasons would you choose?

  •  – Personal reasons?
  •  – To show the world how to party?
  •  – Professional reasons?
  •  – To get another job?
  •  – Promote your research centre?
  •  – To comment on what Justin Bieber is doing this week?
  •  – Raise your academic profile?
  •  – Find and collaborate with the global research community?
  •  – To get grants
  •  – To vote for my favourite Big Brother Housemate?
  •  – Self promotion?

All are possible.. and yes…I am also keen to vote for my favourite Big Brother house contestant…But Big Brother is also watching me online, and Big Brother may be my next employer, funder or collaborator. I would rather they see my latest research output presented with a little bit of my own personality… wouldn’t you?

We all slip off the wagon sometimes (including me) – But set yourself up in the foundations of keeping your personal and professional online profiles separate.

When you create your online profile, you are projecting yourself digitally…This profile will become your online profile, so come out of your comfort zone and connect. Everything and everyone is connected online some how….This is a good thing.


As this is only a relatively short blog series, and the world of social media is huge, I will only be covering the major platforms which I see being used most productively in online.

So..As we are trying to work out who and what you want to be online…and of course define a wonderful ‘online profile’ Lets break these platforms down and see how they might be used best.. Who are YOU online?

LinkedIn: This is YOU professionally. Nothing silly, unprofessional or slanderous goes here. This place is for your professional thoughts and opinions, your online CV and forms an online advert to the world as to who you are professionally. If you do not have a LinkedIn account, people can become frustrated to find that they cannot read more about your professional work when they look for it. LinkedIn is generally the ‘go to’ place for scouting employers, collaborators and employers. You want them to see how great you are don’t you?…You wouldn’t want to frustrate any potential future leads?…OK then. Nuff said.

Facebook: This is YOU casually/socially. You can be more relaxed on Facebook. However, this does not mean that potential leads may not see what you post here. So, ensure that your privacy settings are set to your taste and try to keep this medium for family and friends….It is never a good idea to post anything that you would not want your mum or the community noticeboard to see…Think before you post.

If you do want to use Facebook professionally, it is far better to set up a professional Facebook page rather than a duplicate account. Facebook makes these pages a really receptive medium for advertising and tailored recruitment campaigns. Advertise your professional profile via these pages if you feel the need.

Social media terms

Blogging: Your blog posts show YOU as a ‘thinking being’. Again, you can be more relaxed and friendly in a blog. Depending on the purpose of the blog, you can share either personal or professional posts. Occasionally a blog can be both personal and professional….Tailor this to the audience you think your blog may attract. Also, remember not to share anything you don’t want your entire audience to see. Big Brother is watching!…More on setting up blogs later.

Twitter: This is YOU as an active part of the research community. In my experience this is the platform that proves to be most engaging for the research community. It is one of the only few places you can directly message your research hero’s… How cool is that?

It’s fast paced and has a real community feel. You may get to know others in your field online before you meet in real life, be able to collaborate at conferences, be the first to hear the latest research news and ensure that your research gets a wide viewer reach.

YouTube: This is YOU as a dynamic part of a professional team. YouTube is the worlds largest search engine and it is owned by Google. You may choose to set up your own channels and share public videos of you speaking, your lectures or promotional videos. This medium is very good for commercialising research projects along with other platforms, as you can create and share promotional videos for yourself as an academic, for your research centre or for a particular stream of research that has a particularly high profile. In my opinion, Kings College London achieves this to perfection.

Here is just one example of how YouTube may be used to promote research…I imagine that their funders might be quite happy to see this 🙂


YOU as an academic researcher also need to ensure that you have your digital imprint all over the web by connecting your work with the global community..This means using academic social platforms frequently..Such as…

  • Get yourself an Orcid ID
  • Engage with Research Gate
  • Look at your Google Scholar Profile
  • Use Repositories
  • Are you on ??
  • Be mindful of Altmetrics
  • Use slideshare!
  • Make sure you adopt new online research directories early.

There will be more on all of this later…. Don’t panic…

This is just your online profile in a nutshell…

Help I'm in a Nutshell


Now: Before we go on…Here are a few terms and jargon you may want to refer to before you head into the social media sphere… not all of them will be used….but just in case:

  • BRB – Be Right Back
  • ASL? – Age? Sex? Location?
  • BTW – By The Way
  • CTA – Call To Action
  • DFTBA – Don’t forget to be awesome
  • GTG – Got To Go
  • IM – Instant Message
  • PM – Private Message
  • JK – Just Kidding
  • LOL – Laugh Out Loud
  • LMAO – Laughing My Ass Off
  • ROFL – Rolling On the Floor Laughing
  • YOLO – You Only Live Once
  • TBH – To Be Honest
  • IRL – In Real Life
  • TTYL – Talk To You Later
  • TLDR – Too Long Didn’t Read
  • IMHO – In My Humble Opinion
  • IMO – In My Opinion
  • YW – You’re Welcome
  • OIC – Oh I See
  • SMH – Shaking My Head
  • IDK – I Don’t Know
  • FTW – For The Win
  • HBD – Happy BirthDay

Now…you have a couple of homework tasks to get through before we go on to part 2:

  1. Decide how you want to project yourself online…What are your goals?

  2. Explore the topics and platforms I have introduced within this first blog post.

  3. Google yourself! – What do people see?….If you want them to see something else….Tune in for the rest of this blog series!


Academic on Social Media



One day you will become a Social Media Ninja. Until then, look after yourselves…and each other…




2 thoughts on “Maximizing your Academic Potential Via Social Media: Part One

  1. Pingback: Maximizing your Academic Potential Via Social Media: Part Four | #healthystaff4healthypatients

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