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Creating & Managing an Academic Profile

This guide focuses on skills and tools for discussing, interacting, presenting, writing, commenting, and finally publishing your research in the social networks used by academics.

The scholarly information life cycle has traditionally focused on the published article or book as the key output of the process but with the growth of social media and networked technologies the cycle has expanded the reach of a scholar's ideas in new and interactive ways. This guide focuses on skills and tools for engaging in the "new" scholarly communication environment.

Each form of social network engagement provides different opportunities to communicate but also different levels of engagement with social media technologies and networks disperse the information.

Before jumping into the academic social network environment, you need to ask yourself the following questions. These questions will help guide you in making choices about how you engage and with what tools.  

Decisions to Make

What type of engagement are you interested in developing?

One of the challenges when developing your academic profile is making the decision as to what technology you will use.  When making this decision, you should consider what is the purpose for your engagement. This could include:

  • Connecting to other scholars
  • Sharing your knowledge
  • Highlighting a particular skill or ability

For example, if you are trying to connect to scholars in your academic community, following them on Twitter or Academia.edu may be where you begin.

What are you trying to communication now?

Thinking carefully about what you want to say about yourself as scholar is an important part of developing and managing your profile. However, it's important to remember that what you want to communicate will impact the technology you use and the item you share.  You may want to highlight the following:

  • Formal writing skills
  • Public speaking skills
  • Classroom and instruction skills

For example if you are interested in showing your public speaking skills, video recording a conference paper presentation and posting it online would be an excellent choice.

How much time and effort do you want to put into updating and maintaining your online profile?

When developing your academic profile the last thing you want to do is leave a partially developed or unfinished profile online.  Making decisions around how much time you have for developing your online profile will help guide you tp the right tool to use.  The following chart outlines the type of profile tool and the time it will take you to maintain it.

Academic Profile Tool Time Considerations