Web 2.0 tools have finally moved firmly beyond the 'potential fad' stage, to gaining widespread acceptance as valuable weapons in the Researcher's arsenal. Statistics about social media are almost meaningless because a: there's so many of them and b: the information becomes outdated quickly, but at the time of writing it's thought that around 70% of academics use social media for personal use, and in my view we've most definitely reached the tipping point where social media's utility for professional use is properly understood.
This is directly linked to the 'impact agenda' - the research shows that blogging about and tweeting about research results in more citations for that research, and pretty much everyone wants more citations. But becoming a networked researcher is about more than the REF-related bottom line, it's about being part of a mutually beneficial, supportive, and intellectually engaging community.
With all that in mind, I ran a suite of hands-on workshops at my institution, the University of York, on behalf of the Researcher Development Team. The suite was entitled 'Becoming a Networked Researcher' and it covered firstly blogs and blogging, then collaboration and dissemination, and finally Twitter. Rather than divide these up into three blog posts I thought the most useful thing to do would be to have them all here - so below you'll find various links to, or embedded versions of, presentations and handouts for the course. I've tried to make it so they work without me there to talk over the top of them...
The workshops themselves were really enjoyable and the researchers themselves very enthusiastic and engaged - a whole bunch of blogs and twitter accounts have already sprang up since they ran! But I'd like to improve them for next time around (we'll be running them twice a year from now on); whether you're a Masters / PhD researcher, an academic, or an information professional reading this, I'd be interested in your views on how useful these materials are, and any advice or tips or, particularly, examples, I should be referring to in future sessions.
The workshop materials
The three parts of the suite were designed to work together and separately - if you're only interested in one aspect of becoming a networked researcher, you don't need to look at the materials from the other sessions.
Part 1: Blogs and Blogging
Blogs and Blogging was the most successful session. The advice here is slightly York-centric in that we all have Google accounts, so we all automatically have Blogger blogs; if you're reading this at another insitution it's definitely worth considering Wordpress.com as your blogging platform. Better still, Wordpress.org, although that requires some technical knowledge.
Here's the Prezi presentation:
And here's the handout which goes with it:
Blogs for researchers: workshop handout by University of York Information
Part 2: Dissemination and Collaboration
I've decided against embedding the materials for this one - there was a lot more group and collaborative work and the session was slightly shorter, so my presentation doesn't cover as much ground. But you can view the Dissemination and Collaboration Prezi here (the handout doesn't really add anything); it covers LinkedIn, Academia.edu, Prezi itself, and Slideshare.
Interestingly, I really struggled to convince people as to the value of LinkedIn. I'm suspect of the value of LinkedIn myself, but I've heard countless researchers talk about how important it is, so I flagged it up as a key resource anyway...
Part 3: Twitter for Researchers
I really enjoyed this as I think Twitter is such a vital tool for modern scholarship and communication - you can see the Slides from the session here:
And the handout is here:
Twitter for academics: workshop handout by University of York Information
Any questions, comments or queries, leave them below.