All 5 entries tagged Social Software

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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 use and why...


June 25, 2012

Guest post by Lindsay Green: Multi–Author Blogging

Lindsay Green works as an Academic Support Officer in the Library, handling enquiries, creating tutorials and investigating new ways that the Library can support the University of Warwick's academic community. She attended a recent event and blogs about it here.

Mark Carrigan ran an excellent session on Multi-Author Blogging in the Wolfson Research Exchange at the end of May. The main points I took from the session are as follows:

Blogging

  • No right or wrong way to blog
  • Feelings of guilt – not coming up with a regular blog entry
  • If not frequently updated, less likely to be viewed by others

Multi-author blog advantages

  • Greater frequency of posting of blogs if multi-authored
  • Range of authors leads to more ideas being blogged about – variety
  • Makes the blog more dynamic
  • Attracts readers → attracts writers → becomes more self-sustaining

Suggestions for successful multi-author blogging

1) Keep content back, creating a store of content to use when nobody is able to create a post. This helps encourage frequency of updates, in turn helping avoid loss of interest by readers which is likely to happen if no new content is appearing.


2) Look at purpose of blog:

  • what is to be published
  • what is not published
  • consider what readers will gain from visiting the blog regularly

3) Consider who in the team is responsible for doing what


4) Promotion of blog:

  • Consider existing channels e.g. H-netfor humanities scholars
  • Make sure domain name is registered
  • Set up Twitter feed, automatically tweeting new posts
  • Announce to other websites, feature guest blogposts from other sites

5) Sustain the blog:

  • Frequent updates, suggests 1-2 a week more constantly rather than e.g. 5 in one week then gap
  • Engage with readers – tweet for more details about things you are blogging about
  • Clarification – refine your purpose, evolve and change according to circumstances


Useful links





August 02, 2011

ePublishing and ePublications – social media and scholars

Writing about web page http://www.digitalist.info/2011/07/12/social-media-and-the-academy-part-1/

One of our Academic Support Librarians, Emma Cragg has a great blog and she's written about a recent conference on this theme, in two blog posts. I've linked to part one, from where you can link to part two as well. Topics covered at the 5th Bloomsbury Conference on ePublishing and ePublications include the Virtual Research Environment; executable papers where you can add your own data to a paper which applies the same methodology and generates a new paper; academics who blog; libraries in this digital, connected world; PLoS online journal features; Mendeley.

Read all about it on Emma's blog!


February 18, 2011

A video about themes of Library support for Researchers

Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3Sr70tWMJ0&feature=player_profilepage

I delivered a workshop for research students this week on Dissemination information about your research, as part of Warwick's Research Student Skills Programme. Here is a handy example of how a video can be uploaded to YouTube and then embedded in your blog. Most of the session focused on more traditional scholarly publication stuff, but we did finish by considering Web 2.0/Social networking routes for the promotion of research work.

This is a video of me talking about themes that the Library can help researchers with, at the University of Warwick.