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  • 00:10

    I'm Amy Mollett, and I'm a social mediamanager at the LSE.I've been involved in blogging projects for the last fiveyears, helping academics and researchers think about howthey use social media.My name is Cheryl Brumley, I'm an audio producerat The Economist, and also a research associate at the LSE.

  • 00:31

    I've been working on pod-casting for academics for about threeand a half years now.I first got interested in social mediaprobably about four or five years ago.We were working on some blogging projects at the LSE.The first one that we were working onwas a British politics blog and also an impact blog.

  • 00:53

    So, thinking about how researchers can reachnew audiences with their work.Cheryl and I were both working on editing some pieces thatwere coming in.And thinking about, OK, how can we make surethat these are reaching, not just policymakers and peopleacross academia, but also NGOs and other people who mightbe interested in this work.

  • 01:15

    Twitter was the first platform thatreally got people's attention for how academicwork can be shared online.And within a couple of months, wesaw such a large number of academics, researchers, PhDstudents, Master's students all going online,all sharing their work on Twitter,and having these really great, dynamic conversations about howthey were citing new things, how they were usingthings in a different way.

  • 01:42

    And that's when we realized, this is a new era,this is a new way of how academiccommunication is happening.And it's really quite exciting.These tools aren't new, but they alsoweren't being incorporated in the waythat we thought they should be in academia.And we became interested because wewanted to introduce a new generation of academics.

  • 02:11

    We're writing a book for SAGE to come outnext year on social media and also on multimedia.And it's about how they can incorporate social mediaand multimedia into their research lifecycle.And rather than it being a burden to them,we want to show that it can actually be incorporatedinto their research lifecycle.So it doesn't feel like an extra thing they have to do.

  • 02:32

    In this way, they'll be able to raise their own profile,alongside being able to share their research to widerpublics.So social media can be great for raising profiles online.So if we think about how academics and researchers canbe more visible, and be seen by others-- social media,having a Twitter account, for example,is a really great way to show what you're doingand to connect with others.

  • 02:59

    Also, networking is really linked to that.If you're finding people at academic conferences, whoare using the same hashtag, if you're all in the same Facebookgroup, for example, you could really build those communities,find new people to speak at your events,find new people to work with, write with.And I also think that establishing yourselfas an academic, raising your profile,linking to your own blog, and establishing yourselfas a commentator on issues is another big plus.

  • 03:28

    Some academics have told us that's helped them, as well.I know that social media doesn't alwayscome easy to some people, and it can feel quite daunting,especially when there's still the attitude out there thatis quite a frivolous thing.But there are so many examples of it nowbeing used across all sorts of disciplines.

  • 03:48

    It's really worth investigating.And that's why we're writing the book, really.Well, what I think, if you're getting into academia,and especially if you're working on things across social issuesand issues of health and science,what are you doing it for if you're not wanting to makewider impacts in the world?

  • 04:09

    Why are you an academic?And then these tools will help youreach people in ways that were never possible before.And I think that such a big opportunitythat it's one that's hard to discount.Yeah, definitely.People go into academia because they want to make a difference,because they want to change something or addressan injustice.

  • 04:34

    But I think the same passion is there, that's not changed,but social media is just a new wayto build your profile, to try and make that difference.And what we really try and show in our book with SAGEis that it doesn't have to be a burden to you.It can actually help you in your research from the get-go.

  • 04:55

    You don't have to just think of it at the endas a dissemination tool.It's something that you can use during your research.One of the examples that we have in the book isif you're doing interviews anyways with peoplein the fields, and you can get the right clearancewith your ethics committee, then why notuse those voices to make a podcast?

  • 05:19

    Or why not find other academics, or find people to interviewthrough social media?Yeah, or blog about your researchbefore it goes into the journal.There are just so many possibilities.Whether you're a historian or a social scientistor working in physics research, thereare all sorts of opportunities out thereacross all those platforms.

  • 05:41

    I think another thing is academia can sometimesbe quite a lonely place, so when you're working on your PhD,for example, it can be a very alienating, and quite lonelyexperience sometimes.Social media, as well as fulfilling that networkingand visibility role, it can also help you feel a little bit lessalone sometimes.

  • 06:03

    And networking a bit more for the social side and a bit morefor the support side, as well.It's often underestimated how much a PhD is, but, my gosh!I think social media could bring that more human side,and that more fun, supportive side, as well as the side whenwe're thinking about impact, and the side when we'rethinking about the difference that your research isgoing to make.

  • 06:29

    And also, anyone doing their PhD canhit what is called the trough of sorrows:when your research isn't quite what you thought it would be,and your data coming back isn't quitewhat you thought it would be.Also, it's just a way to find other peopleand become reinvigorated by your topic again.

  • 06:55

    I've seen a really thriving communityof even paleontologists on Twitter.So it's just a way to be excited again about your subjectwhen you reach that point, two or three years in, whereit becomes very difficult.I think the big blogs are really useful for academicsand researchers.

  • 07:17

    So not just the small looks run by one economistor by one historian, but the actual cross-university,multi-author blogs that are really popular.So our example is the LSE blog.So we have a politics blog that looks at British politics,there's an American politics one, European politics.

  • 07:38

    And they're great because you getto see who's writing about different things, who mightwant to connect with, network with, read about more,download their journal articles, that kind of thing.So it's just this first stepping stone.Those big blogs that really greatfor that first stepping stone.And then I think that you could alsobe sort of medium, or agnostic, as well,and think of academia out there on everything,from videos to podcasts.

  • 08:06

    And, of course, I'm a podcast evangelist, so I'd say,if you look at different academics whohave started their own podcasts--Nigel Warburton now has left academiato work on these things full-time time.There are two academics at Yale, whonow have their own podcast on teaching,which is really fantastic.

  • 08:31

    And then there's another podcast coming out of the States,that is the only podcast that has a bibliography at the end.So, you can see now, that academicsare thinking about these mediums differently, and about howthey can get their research out there.So my advice to a new academic is to not just readjournals articles.

  • 08:57

    Academia is on every medium now.That's true.If there's a press office, for example, check in with them,because they might be able to help youthink about what is the most excitingfor journalists, newspaper stories, that kind of thing.If there's a design team, they canhelp you things like info-graphics,things like videos, as well.

  • 09:17

    And just start meeting those expertsaround the university, as well as the wideracademic community.Make the most of the resources that are there.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd.

Publication Year: 2016

Video Type:Interview

Methods: Research impact, Communicating and disseminating research

Keywords: blogs; communication in online communities; media; multimedia; networking; podcasts; politics; reputation management; Social media; Social support; technology; Twitter; voice and visibility ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Amy Mollett and Cheryl Brumley discuss how to use social media in research. When used effectively, social media can help researchers reach new audiences with their work and increase their connections within the academic community.

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Introduction to Social Media for Researchers

Amy Mollett and Cheryl Brumley discuss how to use social media in research. When used effectively, social media can help researchers reach new audiences with their work and increase their connections within the academic community.

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