This morning, I went to a talk (#wzbhypo) by Mareike König and Sascha Förster – who are involved in the European blog portal hypotheses.org – about social media for academics: How can we use Facebook, Twitter and blogs?
The session covered some introductory stuff about social media as well as concrete tips for academics seeking more exposure online. I will focus on those points that were new to me. Obviously, we share the general opinion that more academics should consider blogging, tweeting etc.!
Germany is a developing country when it comes to producing content online, but also with regard to using social networks and blogs as a source of information. (Yes, there was a #neuland joke.)
König convincingly argued that beginners should consider joining an existing portal like hypotheses.org, scilogs.com or scienceblogs.com, since those will help you find readers. (Yup, it’s really hard to build an audience from scratch!)
Instead of using a couple of platforms half-heartedly, focus on one or two! You should consider, however, that Google+ might increasingly matter for Google web search. (Addendum: Did you know that you can ‘claim’ your Google scholar page?)
This is not really news, but: Twitter accounts that do little more than post links to their own stuff will have a hard time attracting followers. Human interaction is key. (We’re working on it.)
Depending on the topic and the selection committee, you might not get invited to a job interview if you have no professional social media “fingerprint”…
On Twitter, links that are positioned in the middle of a tweet apparently achieve more clicks/attention than links at the end. I did not know that but will give it a try!
Even if the visitor and commnets count is low, don’t give up: It’s very likely that some people will comment on your contributions once you meet them in person, and reaching the right audience is more important than ‘big’ numbers…
2012 is considered to be the year of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), most related media contributions date back only a few weeks, and the MOOC movement has reached Germany. While first-tier universities in the US have been pushing the MOOC agenda over the last couple of months, German academics have been proven resistant to this new teaching and learning concept so far. But it is here in the end, both the MOOC movement and the related discussions. While the fronts between proponents and critics of the MOOC seem to be hardening, I feel like sitting on the fence not knowing what I should make out of the MOOC idea.
Martin Wolf has a piece in the Financial Times listing seven reasons “why the world faces climate chaos”: path dependency, the power of free-market ideas, salience of other issues, naive optimism, coordination problems and complexity, discounting the future, and the problematic burden-sharing between rich and poor countries. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t really offer a quick fix.
“Massive Open Online Courses” (MOOCs) are getting a lot of attention, and Germany is no exception. Currently there’s a competition for 10 x 25,000 EUR of funding to produce an web-based course, and I encourage you to check out the submissions from social sciences. Everyone has ten votes.
Economist Andrew Oswald shares some advice about things he would have found useful to know as a young researcher (via MR).
While we’re at it, check out Farnam Street. I’d call it a self-help blog for knowledge workers – and honestly, the advice seems a bit over the top at times. But in case you’re unhappy with your reading habits, consult the “Buffett Formula” for motivation…
As a graduate student, you regularly go to academic conferences. This is important for a number of reasons: First, and probably most importantly, a usual conference comes with a deadline. Being accepted thus means that you are forced to write and hand in something that you might otherwise contemplate about for another six months. Conferences thus provide structure to the life of the graduate student. Plus, you usually meet nice people who you already know or would like to get to know (see also: “free booze”). So, there’s nothing wrong with the big conferences.
However, they can also be quite disappointing. You may be lucky and end up with a discussant helping to improve your work tremendously. Or you may not. Occasionally, you just don’t find people dealing with similar theoretical and methodological questions. Finally, most conferences last only one to three days so that you don’t have the time for repeated conversations over a few days.
What made this “conference” quite special was the fact that the event did not fit into one of the regular forms of academic interaction on the graduate student level. Neither could it be labeled a method summer/winter school, nor was it a series of lectures or a mere graduate conference. Continue reading →