Editor’s note: This article was originally published on SAGE Connection.
As the academic and business worlds increasingly move online, researchers, practitioners and students are plugging in to the social world of the Internet to find the scholarly material that they need in their work. Statistics show that 80 percent of professors have at least one social media account, and according to Pew Research, the number of online adults using Twitter is growing exponentially each year.
Many academics are extolling the virtues of blogging, too: as Martin Weller of the Open University in Britain noted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “a blog post gets immediate reaction and can then be worked into a conference presentation, shared through SlideShare, or turned into a paper that is submitted to a journal.”
Our conclusion from these findings: If you want your published work to get maximum visibility, you need to get social. Still not convinced? Just look back at our recent post spotlighting Melissa Terras’s experiment for the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog. Curious about social media’s potential impacts, she Tweeted and blogged about her own work, monitored the results and found that “the papers that were tweeted and blogged had at least more than 11 times the number of downloads than their sibling paper which was left to its own devices in the institutional repository.”
If you’re ready to give social media a chance, but not sure where to begin, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for three simple steps that will get you blogging and Tweeting today.
- Go to blogger.com or wordpress.com and sign up for a free account. Pick a name for your blog that is descriptive, relevant to your community, and easy to remember.
- Start writing. Focus on your area of research and work that you have published, and link out to related articles or books in your field. Write about conferences at which you will be speaking and any hot topics that attendees are talking about.
- Keep your finger on the pulse. If you happen upon interesting articles or press coverage about your research area, blog about them. Share your insights, and ask your colleagues and co-researchers to guest-blog and stimulate debate.
- The more you write, the higher your page will appear in search engine results. This is especially important as researchers are increasingly using Google Scholar to find content.
For inspiration, check out this article from SAGE’s Social Science Space featuring Q&As with top academic bloggers. Still not sure how to get your blog up and running? SAGE can provide a blogging template and guidelines—contact us for more information.
- If you are new to Twitter, go to www.twitter.com and choose a name and password. You will need to register with an email account, which will also notify you when users mention your account on the site.
- The name you choose should reflect how another user would search for you on Twitter. Be sure to write a short bio with keywords and add a URL and picture so people believe the account is real.
- Tweets should be personal, not written in the style of a typical press release. Think more in terms of a quick snippet of information which will be suited to the 140 character limit. Remember, you are communicating directly with individuals who can respond to you immediately, and your responses to tweets should be personal as well.
- Engage! Monitor what others are saying on Twitter by searching and/or following, and re-tweet information that you think is interesting or useful to your network.
Social media is, in a word, social. To get optimum results, you need to share and engage with others in your network. Take a look at SAGE’s social media channels, where we can help cross-promote your content. Connect with us, post on our walls, and send us direct messages about your promotional efforts so we can re-post, re-Tweet, and help spread the word! Please visit www.sagepub.com/social to view all our social media channels and connect with us today.