All 13 entries tagged Social Networking

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April 10, 2013

Am I really interested in Naymz?

Follow-up to Which tools monitor your social media influence & impact? from Library Research Support

The quick answer now I've investigated a bit, is "no", but I would like to explain:

1) I don't want to maintain another professional profile there when I already invested in my LinkedIn profile, and all the people I could ever want to network with online are on LinkedIn but not on Naymz.

2) I had a look at my repscore on Naymz: the Leaderboard picks up on people who declare themselves as Jedi knights, so I can't take the network or the score too seriously.

3) The repscore dashboard would be interesting if I did use Naymz for networking, and if I connected all my relevant social network profiles to it. I can't actually do that, because I use some networking sites that Naymz doesn't monitor.

I could use Naymz to watch just Twitter and LinkedIn, and I could make some more effort to use and link up Facebook or other social networking sites that it does measure. What does it tell me about other networking sites? It gives me numbers for:

- Contacts: "The number of contacts/followers on this network". This is interesting, to see where I have the maximum potential reach. But it's not actual reach if the people I'm linked with on this network aren't active users of it and will never see my posts or activity there.

- Posts: "Your recent posts on this network". I'm not sure how recent: I don't recall ever posting on LinkedIn, yet it can find 9 posts. I post a lot on Twitter, but it can only find 35 posts.

- Replies: "Replies/Comments on your posts on this network". Since I don't make any on LinkedIn, then I can't compare the level of interaction of my network members on these two networks, but it would be a potentially useful measure if I did want to compare.

- Likes: "Likes/Shares of your posts on this network". As with replies, this could indicate the actual reach of my presence on a network better than merely the number of contacts I have. I'm not sure how it counts them, though. By putting scores for all of my network profiles into one place, I could compare the networks and decide which one represented best value for my efforts.

The Naymz dashboard gives a percentage rank too, but as this is only in comparison with other Naymz members, who I am not interested in, then it's not so useful for me.

There are other measuring tools than Naymz (I mentioned a couple of others in my blog post that this follows on from), and they might count the interactions in a way that you prefer, if you're looking for a tool to do this.

However, I think that my main reason for not wanting to use Naymz or one of the similar tools, is that I'm already convinced that Twitter is a good route for me to reach the people who I want to reach. If I wasn't sure that the people I wanted to reach were active on Twitter, or I wanted to reach more people who might prefer one of the other networking sites, then I'd be glad to use Naymz and its like, to make comparisons.


April 02, 2013

Which tools monitor your social media influence & impact?

Twitter is the main social media tool that I would recommend to researchers, when it comes to influence and impact. Ideally, I think it should be used alongside blogging in some way: either your own blog if you want to build an online identity and audience for yourself, or as a guest on others' blogs. Guest blogging is a great way of benefitting from others' hard work in gaining audience!

If Twitter is my main social media tool then any tool for measuring online/social media influence and impact will need access to my Twitter account. A quick look at the "Apps" section of my settings on Twitter reminds me of tools that I've once thought might be of value to researchers for the purpose of increasing, measuring and demonstrating the impact of their research. I've not had time to investigate these properly, but I thought that it might be worth sharing which ones I'm interested in, which are:

Naymz - "Manage and measure your reputation. Get rewarded!"

Klout - "Klout finds the most influential people on every topic"

Crowdbooster - "Measure and optimize your social media marketing."

I had a quick look back at these three and found that Crowdbooster now charges a fee: this might be worthwhile, if it covers the social media channels that you use, though it has different pricing mechanisms for different numbers of social media channels.

Naymz - wants to co-ordinate my Google account, Yahoo account, email, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. These are big hitters but not specific to academia.

Klout - lots more options here than there were for Naymz, but none specifically academic.

There are actually lots of tools for measuring social media influence out there, but to find the right tool for you then you need to know what you want to measure. I'm interested in Twitter, website visitors and my blog, but not necessarily combining the scores for them, since they serve different purposes. I do need to investigate more...

For those interested in reading more, this piece from Imperial College has a great summary and table comparing the tools available for measuring and monitoring, in terms of the social media sources they monitor:

http://research20atimperial.wordpress.com/optional-content/evaluation-tools/

There is no substitute for trying things out for yourself, though, and finding out not only which aspects of your social media activity can be monitored by which tools, but also how they produce their scores and what this means for your own work.


January 08, 2013

Some Twitter tips for the New Year

I've heard it said that:

You get the Twitter feed that you deserve!

The key to using Twitter effectively is to know who you want to listen to and be in discussions with. There is nothing inherently frivolous about Twitter itself, it's just that you do need to be brief and that can lead to spontaneity and frivolity but equally, you can spend a long time crafting a perfect 140 character tweet to express your idea in as brief a way as possible.

Twitter is a great way to get a summary or overview of what's going on in your field, if you follow people who do craft their tweets carefully. Twitter is not only a great way to listen to those people but also to interact with them: you can publicly tweet at people who you want to reach and you can tweet directly at people who follow you, for a private conversation.

If you can't find the right people then you could always start tweeting on your topic yourself, and others will find you. It's worth investigating the profiles of people who follow you on Twitter, to see if you might want to follow them back.

And if you find you're not following the right people after all, well you can clear out your twitter feed and unfollow people here or there. It's up to you to create and curate your own experience of Twitter!


June 28, 2012

Scholarly social media use

A couple of articles have come to my attention lately, documenting researchers' use of social media. One is about early career Victorianists:

Amber K. Regis (2012) Early Career Victorianists and Social Media: Impact, Audience and Online Identities, Journal of Victorian Culture. Online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13555502.2012.689504

This article compares a tweet to a postcard!

Regis says that social media are important because "they are able to create and sustain inclusive communities", i.e. communities with reach beyond academia. I like this because it relates very much to the work we are doing with the Wolfson Research Exchange and the PG Hub with their digital presences and emphasis on peer support. We use blogs, Facebook and Twitter and websites for both facilities and their communities. And of course it relates to the research impact agenda, as Regis goes on to discuss.

Regis picks out some particular researchers and their blogs:

And Regis describes the changing academic landscape, where job adverts ask for candidates to demonstrate "imagination in terms of the dissemination of research findings", and for a "modern portfolio of research skills". Employers will be thinking of the REF exercise and the priorities of research funders, and googling the names of candidates.

According to Regis, the REF panel criteria only mention social media as a general term once, and blogging gets a mention as a potential citation source beyond academia, but in the matter of public engagement and impact of research, Regis says that "social media haunt the spaces between the lines." What a lovely turn of phrase!

Regis explains that "comments, replies, tweets and retweets are an immediate source of 'third party engagement' and 'user feedback or testimony' as required under the REF" and she quotes Warwick's own Charlotte Mathieson, who says "...public engagement is something that occurs while research is taking place and not simply after the fact." Charlotte has written some good blog posts and guides on the topic of impact, whilst working for us.

I find the Regis article important because of the disciplinary focus it has. It discusses the role of social media with examples from those researching a specific field, that of Victorian culture. However, the points it makes could be widely applicable to other fields of research. A few years ago I was writing an internal report for our library and looking for examples of researchers' blogs, and I found it difficult to identify research blogs by individuals. But perhaps if I had been a researcher within a particular discipline I would have been more likely to find the kind of examples I was looking for, as the author of this article was able to do. Finding good blogs and engaging with social media relevant to your field requires an immersion in and awareness of your field, just as with keeping up to date with research papers and articles.

The other article on the theme of researchers' use of social media that came to my attention lately is on the LSE Impact of Social Science blog, which is one also mentioned by Regis, but which I've been following for some time, latterly on my RSS feed reader and lately via their Twitter feed. It's a blog which covers lots of the themes I'm interested in. In particular the blog post of interest is: Scholars are quickly moving toward a universe of web-native communication

This blog post has multiple authors and a very academic style: it is a taster for a conference paper soon to be delivered. It deals with the theme of altmetrics, which might become important in the online, social media research era, just as bibliometrics have become important in measurement of research through the formal publication channels.

The authors state: "But before we can start to seriously examine scholars’ personal altmetrics, we need to get a sense of how wide and established their presence on the social Web is..." and they go on to describe how they measured the work of a sample of 57 authors who presented at a Science and Technology Indicators conference.

Of their sample, 84% had homepages, 70% were on LinkedIn, 23 % had Google Scholar profiles and 16% were on Twitter. I don't know if they also looked for the authors on other profile sites like Academia.edu or ResearchGate, but I do like their methodology and perhaps other researcher samples could be taken and assessed in this way. I think that their sample might not be representative across the fields.

Another aspect of the work the LSE blog authors carried out was to source activity relating to the researchers' papers, on Mendeley and on CiteULike, and to correlate this activity with the number of citations for the papers on Scopus, and they found some significant correlations. I am interested in that these researchers may or may not have had their own profiles on Mendeley and CiteULike, but that's not the point, because their work can be bookmarked on these sites in any case. They conclude their blog post by saying " It’ll take work to understand and use these new metrics – but they’re not going away."

Having read these two articles in quick succession, I am minded to believe that researchers' use of social media is growing and that these two articles describe two different ways to survey that growth and the significance of it. Regis has investigated blogging within a particular speciality, whilst the LSE blog's authors investigated online presence more broadly.

My next interest is in how researchers keep track of the social media relating to their field, and indeed share that current awareness tracking with others. There were once RSS feed readers but nowadays there are tools and sites like paper.li, storify, pinterest and pinboard and the stacks feature on Delicious, Bundles on Google Reader, Bundlr, and Mendeley and Zotero and CiteULike no doubt offer similar features, etc, etc, etc! These allow you to not only keep track for yourself but to also share your tracking with others: there have always been tools that did this, but there is an abundance these days and I wonder which ones researchers u