Blogs and microblogs (e.g., Twitter) are vital tools for academics to publicly communicate about research developments and findings, to announce publications and share presentations and to write about relevant research issues. You can also gain feedback from other like-minded academics, as well as expand your networks and enhance your visibility.
Increased visibility online helps your offline recognition. Readers of your blog and microblogs learn more about who you are as a person, and as a researcher and professional. As a result, you may even be offered new academic and professional opportunities, including offers to give presentations or speeches and invitations to contribute blog posts or articles to various online or offline publications.
In short, blogging and microblogging greatly supplement the offline methods of research dissemination and networking. They are critical online methods for communicating and engaging with a massive global network of researchers and peers.
The how-tos of blogging and microblogging
Blogs are proven to be effective in disseminating your research. You can promote in-depth conversation via your blog. You build awareness about your research and publications by sharing information and responding to feedback from other researchers.
Create a blog and write regular blog updates to tell about your research undertakings and other related topics of interest to you. Provide links to your Elsevier and other journal articles and publications. Readers can follow and subscribe to your posts and leave comments.
- Choose a blogging platform from one of the many available.
- Think of a domain name (url) you would like your blog to have. You can use your name or initials, or a keyword from your research.
- Select a suitable theme for the purposes of your blog.
- Complete a brief profile in the available section from which new readers can learn a little about you and your research.
- Create a title for the blog which simply summarizes the main focus of your expected posts.
- Once you have decided on a focus for your blog, such as a particular research topic or general topics within your fields of expertise, plan to write at least 1 blog post a week.
- Invite friends and colleagues from your network to follow your blog.
- Read and follow blogs of other academic peers, and leave comments as relevant, to drive more readers (who hopefully then become followers) to your own blog.
- Share links to blog posts in all of your social media outlets.
- Through tools offered in your blogging platform, you can analyze how many readers find your blog through tweets and other social media outlets.
Microblogging is the shorter form of blogging. The most popular microblogging site is Twitter. This form of social information sharing is also a brief and effective way to announce research and publications, as well as to attract attention to your website and blog. You can attach documents, images or videos to your microblogging posts.
Twitter gives you a chance to share quick thoughts, statements and announcements with followers, using no more than 140 characters. It is a great way to quickly share your current research, publications, opinions, questions, and links to new blog posts. You can follow other researchers and thereby increase your own following.
- Create a username and profile. Write a short profile about yourself indicating your research and academic background.
- Start writing posts, called tweets, which are relevant to your research, publications, areas of expertise, affiliations, events, etc.
- Look for other academics and professionals within your relevant field to follow on Twitter. By following them and commenting on their posts, you increase the number of followers of your own tweets. Be patient, it takes time to build up a significant number of followers.
- Use hash tags (#) in front of keywords to aid with indexing of the topics on
- which you write and to increase attention to your tweets on those and related keywords.
- Try to write at least 1 tweet per day. With regular tweets, you will ensure more followers.
Share your posts on other social media outlets
After writing a blog post, share the posts via other social media outlets to maximize the outreach of your messages. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, academic social networks like Academia.edu, and others, to spread the updates. You can connect Twitter with your other social media profiles so that tweets are posted on them as soon as you tweet.
By utilizing the many social media outlets to broadcast your blog and microblog posts, you can acquire more 'followers' and increase the readership of your blog, publications, and increase your visibility.
SEO for blogs
Using relevant keywords in your blog posts increases traffic to your blog site, and relatively to your publications as well. You can discover which keywords to use that are most relevant to the blog post topic by using the Google AdWords keyword tool.
By using a few keywords in a single post enables your blog posts and referenced publications with similar keywords to gain higher ranking in the search engines. Specifically, your publications and posts appear higher in a list of search engine results and are thus more likely to be read. Do not overuse keywords to the point that it compromises the flow of the blog post text.
It is important to remember that a blog post, tweet or another microblog update is public. Even using privacy settings is not a definitive way to limit access to your posts. Thus, when writing a post or tweet, keep in mind the possible impact on not only your reputation, but also the potential impact on your institution, your constituents, affiliations, and more. You do not want to share a post with information that can be interpreted as challenging or jeopardizing the position and views, or exposing secrets, of your relevant affiliations.