Is The Academic World Switched On To Social Networking?

Social media and social networking are certainly amongst today’s most talked about topics. Whilst it may be an exaggeration to say that everyone is constantly tweeting, blogging or checking their Facebook page, there is an ever-increasing number of people who are.

The business world is beginning to embrace this new media with some degree of enthusiasm and the ‘tipping point’ seems to have been reached so that it is now seen as “proper” for professionals to participate and not just something for the youngsters or ‘techno-crazies’.

However, what is happening in the world of academia? Are universities making the most of social networking? Is social media exciting today’s researchers?

Whilst the student-facing side of academia is actively using social media, there are few signs that academics are participating. David Stuart, an independent web analyst, consultant and honorary member of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton believes academics are lagging behind. In his recent article, he notes that despite the huge potential for new technologies to transform the research and publishing process, adoption is a seemingly slow affair.

He points to the fact that collaboration is a core part of the scholarly process, so much so that it is often now a prerequisite of funding. Indeed, the funding councils now stipulate that publicly-funded research papers are to be made freely available online, and are also encouraging researchers to come up with new and innovative methods of distributing research findings.

But is this driving adoption of social media? Are professors, researchers and academics failing to see the benefits of social media, or are they just unsure where and how to start?

Social media provides the opportunity to connect with others interested in the same field of research, to share information and knowledge or to find collaborative partners for a project. The web also offers new opportunities for more open peer review, widening the opportunity for those who want to provide and receive feedback on research. And in many instances, social networking is easing the challenges of communication within a research group.

The benefits, however, are not just restricted to individual academics, universities keen to attract the best professors, researchers and doctoral candidates benefit too. Wider awareness of key areas of research and who is doing what, gets positive attention and helps to position a university as a centre of excellence, in turn improving their ranking in the university league tables.

So where do you start? What tools are there to help?

Networlding provides a seven step process to enable individuals and organisations to build lasting and meaningful relationships. Melissa Giovagnoli Wilson is co-author of the book Networlding: Building Relationships and Opportunities for Success and has two decades of expertise in social networking innovation. “We’ve introduced hundreds of individuals to the Networlding process,” explains Melissa, “and we actively support thought-leaders to develop and implement strategies to help them leverage the power of their connections. It’s a proven process with powerful results.”

If you would like to know more about how you can harness the power of social networking, join us at the exclusive UK Networlding Bootcamp in October 2010. Find out more at www.macintnetworlding.com

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