Thing 23 – End Game

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!

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Things 21 & 22 – Back to the…

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…future. Mine. To be honest it’s hard to look beyond the next three and a half years that will be consumed earning the title of doctor. Anyone who knows me knows how incredibly disjointed my so called ‘career’ has been and knows my sense of ‘where I want to be in 5 years’ time’ has always been somewhat murky. Even now I don’t know where this doctorate will take me…industry or academia, Europe or America, riches or destitution? I think I can rule out riches, but still! I hadn’t heard of either *Research Professional or Euraxess before these things and both look like extremely useful tools, especially if my future lies in academia. At the moment my research is obviously funded and I don’t really need to seek additional funding, except for extra cash to attend conferences, which can be done through the various societies and institutions that I am now a member of. Regardless, I thought it was useful to sign up to *Research Professional and get a feel for the website, what it offers and the kind of funding paths available – it’s a very possibility that this sort of thing will be part of my future. As for Euraxess, it boasts a Research Jobs section, which, unless I’m missing something, is less than sparse at the moment. There is, however, a page linking to some more populated job websites, most of which I was already aware of but also some useful new links.

In terms of my own website or online profile page, I am again hit with the barrier that what I will be researching for the foreseeable future is highly sensitive and not available for advertising on the internet. For this reason I am happy just to cultivate my Linkedin and ResearchGate profiles and allude to what I am doing in relation to the skills I am developing – as a scientist and a professional. Hopefully in three and a half years I will still be both of those things and I might warrant a university profile page somewhere…:)

Things 7 & 8 – Professional secrecide

Having developed a bit of a presence on Linkedin and Researchgate prior to 23thinging, and having already prattled on about them a bit, I decided to focus this week’s thingy on Academia.edu. Prior to this week I only knew the website by name, I didn’t know much else beyond what can be assumed from the learned title…

So, apparently PLOS ONE found that papers uploaded to academia receive a 69% boost in citations over 5 years, which is, like, 13.8% per year – I had to use a calculator for that but I think the point eight percent is important! My publication list stretches to all of 1, which, according to Pub Med, has been cited an astonishing 3 times in three years…that’s 1 per year! (no calculator required)

With giddy thoughts of an extra 0.138 citations per year, off I clicked…

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On the face of it Academia seems very similar in concept and content to Researchgate – upload your work, follow people, get followed, receive moral boosting notifications when someone reads your work and then watch the citations roll in. And like most sites these days that require you to create a profile, it’s made quicker and easier by clicking through facebook or google+. This does save time and it is easier but I’m always a little nervous about the little box that pops up telling me they’re going to harvesting all my information.

It’s hard to see what Academia adds on top of Researchgate aside from a little bit more exposure…the networking aspect is there but it lacks a lot of the features that make Researchgate such a useful platform, like skill endorsements. I am reliably informed, however, that Academia will notify me when I’ve been googled, who by and where they are, which is exciting – if it ever happens. Anyway, I’m on, the paper is uploaded and now just a short 7.246 years to wait for my 1 citation boost…:)

Thing 1 – LinkedIn or Out?

As most of us are aware, the number of professional – and indeed scientific – social networking platforms has increased dramatically over the last decade (or so) following the launch of arguably the most famous in 2002 – LinkedIn. The pressure, therefore, for students and professionals, young and old, to establish an online presence is greater than ever. This pressure can come from academic supervisors, bosses or even from within and often centres on career advancement – getting a job, getting a promotion, making the right connections etc. As a result it can be a daunting arena to enter – one wrong move or comment or post can have dire consequences!

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My current exposure in the world of professional social media includes the aforementioned LinkedIn, and ResearchGate, which is a publication driven network and therefore much more scientifically orientated. The sheer number of networks available to join on LinkedIn means there will always be useful connections to be made and help to be found, but sifting through spam and volume to get to the prize can often be a major headache. Necessity dictated my introduction to ResearchGate following the publication of my first paper in 2013 and it has certainly helped the research reach more people than journal access alone – as my doctoral studies progress I can see the site being an increasingly frequent feature of my internet history! However, in both cases I don’t feel as if I have even close to fully engaged with the social process…and so…the aim of this endeavour is to analyse and explore my use of social media in a professional context and discover new techniques and platforms in the hope of getting more out of this expanding arena…all the while simultaneously providing some brief commentaries 🙂