Almost everyone knows about Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for personal use, but many faculty members use social media in a professional capacity, to connect with colleagues, communicate intellectually, discuss ideas, promote credentials, and advance careers.
Lesley McCollum, in the "Gradhacker" feature of Inside Higher Ed., has put together a primer of sorts on assorted approaches and tools for college and university professors. It's definitely worth a look. There are several sites available throughout the article that may be of interest to educators in various disciplines, from the "hard" sciences to the liberal arts.
Along the way, the writer gives advice based on personal experience. Such as:
- Follow copyright laws – Many of these sites allow you to upload publications, but it is up to you to be aware of whether or not this violates rules of your publisher.
- Be consistent – With so many options for building your online presence, it is important to be consistent across sites. Learn more about branding yourself online in a previous GradHacker post.
- Maintain control – Once you establish your online identity, make sure you keep it protected.
Some of the writer's suggestions may apply more to university researchers than community college teachers, but the goals of consistent "branding" (despite troublesome corporate implications) and personal control seem like worthy pursuits.
Having your own Web site is one thing to consider, but some individuals who do so are plagued by commercial enterprises flooding the "comments" section—or worse when the comments are anonymous. This can become a very interesting experiment in human nature. Be afraid. Be very afraid.