November 07, 2011

Networking online for researchers

The author of the blog posts for this week’s theme is Mark Carrigan. Mark is a postgraduate researcher in the Sociology department. He is a prolific blogger and can be found on a number of social networking sites online. As a 23 Things course tutor tutor, Mark can support registered participants through your blogs, so be sure to write about your experience of all the Things!

For many people ‘networking’ isn’t an attractive term. It conjures up images of forced, superficial and self-interested interaction. But it doesn’t have to be like that. At heart networking for researchers simply means expanding the range of people you’re in contact with.

Who are you going to want to be in contact with? Most likely your priority would be people who work in your area and share your research interests. We all already have networks, even if we don’t think of them as such. By expanding the range of the researchers you’re in contact with, i.e. your network, it’s possible to raise your profile, be aware of opportunities and find potential collaborators. This expansion could happen at a number of levels:

  1. Within your department
  2. Within your discipline
  3. Within your institution
  4. Outside your institution
  5. Outside your discipline
  6. Outside academia

Many of the digital tools we’ve looked at in 23 Things are great for networking online. We’ll look at two tools in particular this week: Twitter and Lanyrd. The former is a social networking and micro-blogging service based around sending and receiving messages of 140 characters or less. Lanyrd is a relatively new service which uses Twitter to digitally connect people who attend conferences.

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