Despite the fact that we use the Internet every day, many scholars are wary of establishing a web presence. It’s becoming increasingly necessary. The great thing is that all of us can do it! But how? In this post, I’ll talk about some of the ways I have created my web presence and some things I have learned. Hey, it may a little messy, but it’s working for me.
First, a few considerations. Short of being hacked, YOU control your online presence and how often you participate. You can make changes to your web presence at any time, so experiment with a combination of sites and social media. I think of the web presence as introducing your scholarly interests and work to the world, so talk about things in ways that people outside of academia can understand. I strongly encourage individuals to maintain a web presence in addition to any institutional profiles. You want to make sure your online presence remains stable and under your control. Lastly, remember that what you do online never truly goes away, so you should be comfortable with the online persona you create and the content you put out there. Just because other people use social media to act the fool doesn’t mean you have to.
In Creating Your Web Presence: A Primer for Academics, Miriam Posner has lots of great tips for academics getting started with some of the more popular platforms. I’m going to share my own experiences with some and how I use them.
Twitter is the Wild West, but you can be on Twitter in a way that is comfortable and useful for you. I maintain two Twitter accounts, @DrCeeFu , which is my individual account, @KPop_Kollective, which is the account for KPK: Kpop Kollective, a collaborative research initiative. As you can see, there is a mix of scholarly and fun content, and that’s ok. Follow people and institutions that interest you. By doing so, you can find out about information and opportunities, keep current on scholars and discussions in your field and meet people you wouldn’t normally encounter if you just remained in the ivory tower. Find someone who’s work you like? Just follow them! You should also try to consistently Tweet. I know, it’s scary! But you can start out by retweeting something you find interesting and adding your insight. And let’s be real, you will be more active at some times and less active at other times. You can do it!
One way to keep your Twitter feed active is to link your other online platforms to it. Many of the sites below are linked to my Twitter feeds. I know, it seems like a lot, but just experiment and see what works for you. You can always change it!
It’s no secret that I love WordPress. I maintain several WordPress sites. This site, CSAPhD, functions as my research site. It is ground zero for my scholarship, both traditional as well as my short-form scholarly writing. I also maintain High Yellow, my blog on Asian popular culture; KPK: Kpop Kollective; and polygrafi, my pedagogy site. I like WordPress because of its low learning curve and its bounty of pretty themes. As you can see, each of my sites have a particular purpose (because I have lots of interests that utilize the web). These sites have been very useful in translating my work in the academy to a wider audience. Once again, you have to decide what you want to share, but I have received lots of scholarly opportunities by maintaining these sites.
I started blogging on Asian popular culture about four years ago as a complement to my academic writing. Many people think they don’t have the time, but I found blogging helped my academic writing. Because I write a lot online, I needed an online portfolio to collect all of my online writing. I really like my JournoPortfolio because it’s visually appealing, allowed me to share all of my online writing and categorize it as I wanted to into various categories. As you can see, it blends my scholarly writing with my popular writing, and the links direct readers back to the original posts. This is great if you want to just show off your online writing.
LinkedIn and Academia.edu
While these sites are less fun, they have the added value of placing your profile in a community where you can connect with others. I know a lot of academics on LinkedIn, but few like it. I think it works well for other types of jobs, but less so for academics. Everyone has a LinkedIn profile, but not a lot of academics like it. I use my LinkedIn account as a more professional profile (translation: less fun stuff) that places my skills and experiences in a context beyond academia. I’ve found my academia.edu profile much more useful, as I can connect with scholars at all levels and share my work.
These are just a few of the places that make up my online presence, but there are other ways for you to get out there. Try it! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!