So the final thing is reflection…what have I learned? What will I do next? Am I a better person? Who really did frame Roger Rabbit? One thing that remains, unfortunately, is my overall scepticism of the personal benefits to these sorts of communications in a professional context – and to clarify again, I’m referring to my professional context. Things like blogging, facebook, twitter etc. need an audience, which beyond this RDP bubble is not really there, but more crucially they need a real purpose – something important to say. Throughout the course of my research I am of course hoping that I will have important things to say, but I already know that social media on the internet can never be the forum for disseminating it. Having said that, I may not always be in the position that my research is bound behind confidentiality, indeed I may not always be a professional in the scientist arena – so the content around personal branding may be one day be more relevant.
A lot of content on the more professional branding side of things has reinforced many of the practises I already had going. It has, however, given me fresh impetus to update and maintain my linkedin and researchgate profiles and also to try and build a bigger network of colleagues. Another confirmation for me was my use of mendeley, as I mentioned I had already been recommended this program and started to use it, but research into the alternatives has convinced me I’m using the best tool for referencing. The two things that stick in the mind as most useful going forward were about copyright/open access and alternatives to powerpoint. Two things I will definitely have to consider in the future are the rights to my data and published work as well as how I can make formal presentations stand out from the crowd and engage the people I’m talking to. Overall, this foray into the world of blogging has been a hugely positive experience – even if it still feels slightly weird and as if I’m talking to myself. Sometimes though, even talking to yourself can help with a sense of perspective so maybe I’ll be back one day soon – if I discover anything worth talking about!
It’s obvious that Doodle is an extremely useful tool both socially and professionally, although the only occasions I seem to use the site in a professional environment are in some sort of social context – menu choices at the Christmas party comes to mind! I have never actually set up a Doodle poll before, despite having used the site quite often – again exclusively in social context. So it was useful to have a play about with the features and see what, if anything, might be applicable to me during my studies. Sign up is easy, again this can be done with a click via facebook and then, after politely refusing the offer of Doodles newsletter subscription, I’m ready to schedule. As I expected the process of scheduling an event is very straightforward…it’s no coincidence the site is used by many of my friends because it is enormously user friendly and essentially idiot proof (lots of my friends are idiots you see). One of the most useful features of the site is being able to connect with a number of different calendar platforms, including Outlook, which going forward is a huge plus point if I want to consider using the site to arrange meetings with supervisors and collaborators. As for the premium options, I really think this would only make sense for businesses with the inclination and budget for this level of scheduling detail.
I have to say from a personal perspective I’m largely sceptical… ^can you tell? I think the idea of institutions, organisations and certainly businesses using sites like facebook and twitter holds a lot of merit. It spreads the word and it advertises…but the applicability to my ‘online brand’ in a professional context is limited IMO.
It doesn’t help that the nature of my work is so sensitive that every detail of my life has to be prodded and probed before I can even be allowed on site unchaperoned and when that day does come I can’t even have my phone on me, let alone walk round snapping pictures and hashtagging the hell out of them on Instagram!
As for my ‘online brand’ – I’m happy to keep the personal and professional aspects separate. Googling myself was an underwhelming experience, but I like it that way…I’m not presented with embarrassing photos or scandalous news stories (just the face of minor celebrity Richard Bacon, who has a few of his own!), or anything much about me really, yet with some small tweaks to the search it’s easy to find the content I want to be searchable, such as the professional profiles and published work I discussed in Thing 1.