Navigating the social media maze for academics

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Life for an academic these days seems to be getting more complex. In addition to the traditional tasks – teaching, researching, and publishing – the job has expanded to include endless grant applications and the need to develop a public persona to publicise their work. All of this is in addition to having some kind of personal life and human relationships.

The advent of social media has made life for academics more complex and has opened up new ways of publicising their work.

Earlier today I saw an interesting interchange among some science researchers on Twitter. The conversation was inspired by Cameron Webb, a.k.a. @Mozziebites on Twitter, who posted on his blog about Putting a value on science communication. The conversation then moved onto how challenging it can be to manage multiple social media and media channels and how best to collate and curate these. Here’s a few of the tweets:

Many people working in universities tell me that social media just seems like too much on top of an already busy schedule. They ask me how it is possible to fit more into their limited spare time. The trick is to create content once and reuse it across social media platforms, it is also to share other people’s work to build your online communities and networks.

Some ideas for managing multiple social media platforms with minimal effort

Use tools

Merely using the native Twitter or Facebook apps is neither efficient nor effective. Consider using a tool that enables easy cross posting between social media platforms. There are a number of free or low cost tools that serve this purpose. Examples are Hootsuite which gives a dashboard for sharing context to social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; or Buffer which schedules posts to various social media sites.

Find a place to save interesting links and posts

It is worth finding apps that you like to collate the links you find in your travels across the internet. For academic items I tend to use Zotero, for general links I use Pocket, and Feedly to track websites that are worth regular catchups. Both Pocket and Feedly apps enable sharing of the content that is bookmarked across other social media sites.

Collate interesting content from yourself and others for future reference

It is not sufficient to spread your wit and wisdom across the social media universe, you need to collate your own and others’  content for future reference. This is where tools like If This Then That (IFTTT) come in handy. This free site enables you to create simple processes (called recipes) to share information between various applications. There are many pre-built recipes to use or you can create your own recipes. It is a very powerful yet simple tool for curating your own and others’ content. For example it is easy to create a recipe that automatically posts any items you have favourited via Pocket to Buffer for scheduled posting to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Some handy  IFTTT recipes include:

  • Archive your Instagram photos in an Evernote notebook
  • Save your Tweets in a Google Spreadsheet (which archives your new tweets to Google Drive)
  • Create link notes in Evernote from Feedly articles saved for later
  • Post new SoundCloud tracks to your WordPress Blog

Invest your time parsimoniously on social media

This is a really useful post by Kevan Lee that outlines how you can spend 30 minutes per day on social media to good effect, it’s worth reading:  What’s the Best Way to Spend 30 Minutes of Your Time on Social Media Marketing?

Work out which social media platforms are worth investing time in & which you can simply cross-post to

I spend a lot of time on Twitter because I enjoy the open conversational nature of the platform. However, for academics there are a few other ways to share information and build a public profile you might not have considered:

  • Setup a public profile page on Facebook so you can share professional information separately to your personal profile (it is much less annoying for family and friends)
  • Setup a LinkedIn profile and cross-post interesting articles and information there (I rarely log into LinkedIn and use Buffer to post links there)
  • Don’t forget the emerging academic social media networks, such as Academia or ResearchGate – by posting your published materials to these kind of site you can boost citations and downloads of your work. They can also be handy for asking questions and finding new collaborators.

 

Disclosure: I am an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in School of Computer Science & Engineering at UNSW Australia and publish in academic journals from time to time

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Jobs free future: Machines v Lawyers

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“As information technology advances, the legal profession faces a great disruption.”
Along with this disruption come serious questions for the future of legal education, legal careers, and the nature of legal business models.

In Machines v. Lawyers Professor John O. McGinnis outlines the five key areas of legal practice that are under threat of disruption by ‘machine intelligence’:

  1. discovery
  2. legal search
  3. legal forms
  4. legal memos or briefs
  5. legal analytics (to displace lawyers’ hunches)

These are the basic areas of work that have built up the skills of young lawyers for generations, and which have provided law firms with a steady income. As these tasks become automated, the real question arises: do we need so many lawyers? And, if we do need them, then how do we build up their legal skills post-law degree? How can a law firm ensure good revenue?

It also raises some interesting questions about legal expertise for computer programmers – lots of changes ahead in the jobs free future.

Certainly it is food for thought for the legal community.

Professor McGinnis ends his article on an optimistic note for layers though:

So long as there is law, however, we will need lawyers to offer interpretations of difficult texts and to smooth legal difficulties in the most important transactions.

 

Professor John O. McGinnis is the George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern University School of Law

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Inspiring millennials

Enactus UNSW Pitch Fest
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Millennials or Generation Y have been getting a hard time in the media for a while now. They are alleged to be entitled, they don’t buy cars (which will apparently destroy the economy), and they are said to be extraordinarily optimistic in spite of the economic circumstances into which the emerge as adults.

Enactus UNSW

But that is not my experience of millennials. It was inspiring to meet the young people at Enactus UNSW earlier in the week at their pitching competition.

There I found committed and engaged people who are working to make the world a better place. They were pitching projects to help with youth mental health issues, recycle computers and get them to community groups, provide business support to social enterprises.

The diversity of ideas was remarkable, the passion and enthusiasm encouraging. The university students who participate in these projects are getting valuable experience for their post university lives. And they are also gaining valuable experience in working to create sustainable business solutions. It is what I like to call a win-win.

More information about Enactus UNSW here

Enactus UNSW Australia

 Quiz

Why not try the Pew Institute’s How Millennial Are You quiz?

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Oz Girl Develop IT 2011 #ozgdi

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Just spent another evening with a great bunch of women learning about JavaScript as part of the Oz Girl Develop IT program for 2011.

Discussing the plans for this year’s Oz Develop IT with Pamela Fox and Cathy Lill tonight it became clear that there’s an interesting line up for the rest of 2011.

For example we’re planning to run sessions on:

  • SEO for geeks
  • UX for n00bs
  • Introduction to Blogging
  • PHP for script kiddies
  • Introduction to web programming – HTML and CSS
  • and a special workshop on blogging for Ada Lovelace Day in October

Final dates for these sessions are yet to be confirmed.

If you’re a woman who’s interested in learning more about web development sign up to our OZ GDI meetup group to find out about upcoming sessions and meetups
Girl Develop IT (Sydney)
You can also follow us on Twitter @OZGDI.

Some more about Oz Girl Develop IT:

Welcome, women developers of tomorrow!

Want to learn how to code? Have a great idea? Don’t be shy. Develop it.

Though the web developer community these days is open and welcoming, it is still up to 91% male and it can be intimidating for women to learn and ask questions when they are in an extreme minority. We decided it was time to provide a place where all questions are OK and everyone can learn in a supportive environment. The idea started in New York, and now we’re taking it down under to Sydney, Australia.

Our courses focus on coding, leveraging existing technology, and having something to show for it (aka building sweet websites). We will start with a series on HTML/CSS, and if that goes well, we can hopefully offer additional series to continue building your skills, or repeated sessions of that series

Note: Membership and event attendance is currently limited to women.

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Inspiring women: Louisa Lawson – women's suffrage activist and publisher

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The fight for women to get the vote was a monument to cooperation, ingenuity and collaboration on the part of many women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These women educated themselves and their peers about women’s issues and agitated for women’s rights. And the women of Australia owe a debt to these women of the past who achieved the privileges of full participation in the political process that we now enjoy, and often take for granted.

In the nineteenth century it was true to say:

“A woman’s opinions are useless to her, she may suffer unjustly, she may be wronged, but she has no power to weightily petition against man’s laws, no representatives to urge her views, her only method to produce release, redress, or change, is to ceaselessly agitate.”
Source: Louisa Lawson, speech to the inaugural meeting of the Dawn Club. Published in Dawn, July 1889.

Louisa Lawson is an interesting example of these women who paved the way for our participation as equals in Australian democracy . Louisa is one of my favourite characters from the Australian history – strong willed and cantankerous, she was one of the key progenitors of the women’s suffrage movement in Australia. And among her important contributions was The Dawn, a journal for women:

“In 1888 Louisa Lawson, who had previously edited the Republican with son Henry, launched The Dawn; a journal for women. The publication’s purpose was to be a “phonograph to wind out audibly the whispers, pleadings and demands of the sisterhood”. It advised on women’s issues, including divorce, the age of consent, and women’s right to vote. As well as operating as an important vehicle for the communication of feminist politics the paper also contained short stories, fashion notes, sewing patterns and reports on women’s activities around the country and overseas. By October 1889, the Dawn office employed ten women as typesetters, printers, binders, and unskilled workers. They were harassed by male workers, and by their male union, The New South Wales Typographical Association. In 1905, after seventeen years, the publication ceased production.”
Source: The Australian Women’s Register

Donna Benjamin (aka @KatteKrab) reports that there is no funding for the National Library of Australia to digitise The Dawn. However, Donna estimates that $7,500 should be sufficient to see the entire publication digitised.

Donna has had the brilliant idea of collecting funds to Digitise The Dawn. If we all put in a little bit then it can be added to the Trove Project and provide open access to this important resource for historians around the world.

UPDATE:  The new Digitise the Dawn website is up and you can follow on Twitter or identi.ca @digitisethedawn.

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TEDWomen – might be worth tuning in?

TED Women
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As they say to introduce this latest in the TED stable:

“How are women and girls reshaping the future? The first-ever TEDWomen invites men and women to explore this question in depth. From the developing world, where a single microloan to a single girl can transform a village, to the West, where generations of educated women are transforming entire industries, women are powerful change agents, intellectual innovators, idea champions …”

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Girl Develop IT Sydney launches successfully #ozgdi

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Girl Develop IT Sydney kicked off well last night with thirty eight students, led by the indomitable Pamela Fox and a number of teaching assistants.

Women from all sorts of jobs and backgrounds came along to grapple with the basics of web development – with the youngest still in high school.

The first session covered the basics of HTML and history of the web. Next sessions are:

Class 2: HTML Advanced Tags – Wednesday, Oct. 20
Class 3: CSS Selectors & Properties – Monday, Oct. 25th
Class 4: CSS Layout – Wednesday, October 27th
Class 5: Final Demos – Monday, November 1st

Google’s offices in Sydney are a great venue – kudos to them for supporting this initiative.

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Help a girl and you help a family, a village and the world #becauseiamagirl

becauseiamagirl
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I’ve been a big supporter of the Plan Because I am a Girl campaign – if you haven’t shared your story do it now!

The other day @uskovic shared this video about the Girl Effect with me:

 

You Can Help Change the World

Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

  • Share your story here
  • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
  • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
  • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
  • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
  • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
  • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
  • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
  • Twitter: @invest_in_girls
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    Because I am a Girl

    becauseiamagirl
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    There are a lot of women who don’t like to be called a girl. It’s their choice. I don’t mind it and have even been known to refer to myself as a girl – usually as a geek girl.

    The interesting thing here in Australia is that I’m pretty much free to call myself whatever I like. And I’m free to do pretty much whatever I want. But it is not like that for women and girls in every part of the world.

     

    You Can Help Change the World

    Plan International says “There’s no greater enemy of inequality than keeping quiet!”

    Act now! Spread the ‘Because I am a Girl’ message throughout your network of family, friends and colleagues.

    Simple Things You Can Do Right Now …

    • Share your story here
    • Inform people about the campaign through your websites, newsletters, emails and other touch points. Plan can provide you logos and information on the campaign.
    • Host lunches with friends, partners and clients. Depending on the event Plan can provide content and speakers.
    • Plan can work with you to see how your business can build awareness among your customers and suppliers.
    • You can donate to Plan in Australia’s GirlsFund, that works to address the unique obstacles faced by girls.
    • You can sponsor a child with Plan. Over 48,000 individuals and businesses in Australia sponsor children with Plan.  Plan uses funds through child sponsorship to support projects that bring lasting change to a child’s entire community, such as gender equality.
    • For more ways on how you can support the campaign visit Plan Australia’s ‘Because I am a Girl’ website
    • Because I am a Girl Facebook Group
    • Twitter: @invest_in_girls
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    A new dimension to analysis: Time to include a spiritual angle?

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    In business school we all learned to use the same analytical tools – S.W.O.T., P.E.S.T., P.E.S.T.E.L., BCG Growth Share Analysis, Competitor Analysis, Porter’s 5 Forces, etc.

    But at dinner the other night, while chatting to some “kidults” (as they were introduced by their parents), we discussed the P.E.S.T.E.L. analysis.

    This stands for an analysis of an issue in terms of the following factors:

    • Political
    • Economic
    • Social
    • Technological
    • Environmental
    • Legal

    It was a joking suggestion from one of the my dinner partners that this analysis was missing an element that got me thinking.  This traditional business school analytical tool is typical of US influenced management thinking.  It is entirely rational.  It does not incoroporate any other perspectives.

    I started to wonder, what happens if we add another element to this kind of analysis?  What happens if the last lens becomes:

    • Spiritual?

    Not sure about the answer on this. But I am very curious as to how the answers change if we move from a P.E.S.T.E.L. analysis to  a P.E.S.T.E.L.S. analysis approach?

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