Over the past few months, I’ve signed up to various sites that might be described as “social media”. Not Facebook – I’ve had a Facebook account for years, and I almost never use it. These sites are professional/academic sites like academia.edu and researchgate.net. The idea is that papers that I write with students and colleagues are indexed and sometimes stored on these sites, so that other researchers can find them. To some extent they duplicate Google Scholar, but there is also space to share ideas, ask questions and so on. In other words, they’re social media.
Then there’s this, a WordPress blog, which isn’t so much social media as a monologue. This blog automatically links to my LinkedIn account and to my Twitter feed*. I can post from LinkedIn to Twitter automatically. And although LinkedIn sometimes looks like a more restrained version of Facebook, it seems to work. Yesterday I put up message about a paper that has been published in IEEE Transactions on VLSI, and 76 people have looked at that post. Perhaps some will even read the paper.
From a professional, academic point of view, all this linked “social” media seems like a good idea. If I can publicise what I’m doing, and more people read my papers, that’s a good thing, surely. But where to stop? I could link Facebook to Twitter and have all my LinkedIn posts copied to both Twitter and Facebook, but that seems like a bad idea. While on holiday, over the summer, I posted several reviews to Trip Advisor. I could link Trip Advisor to Facebook (and hence to Twitter) or to Google+. That’s starting to sound like a really bad plan. Do I really want to mix my opinions of restaurants and pubs with notice of technical papers?
As far as I can see, I either have to unlink all this social media, which means I start repeating myself manually, or I’m going to have to create two or more online, linked identities… and then I have to remember what’s connected to what.
*My first attempt to share this was spectacularly unsuccessful – a link entitled “Auto Draft”. Let’s try again.