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Guest Post: Facebook!

This is the first in a two part guest post by our intern Lucy Wickens on how to use Facebook for networking and research.

While some people are total Facebook devotees, others can be dubious about its use as a legitimate networking tool. But the thing is, Facebook is fast becoming a business card replacement at academic conferences because it instantly provides regular news bulletins from and direct contact with your academic peers. On top of that, Facebook organisation pages and groups and event invitations make it pretty much a one-stop-shop for all your networking and self promotional needs.

Of course, if nothing will convince you of its professional legitimacy, then perhaps Linked-In is a better option as it specifically caters for career networking. Although it’s still well worth giving Facebook a try…

That being the case, over the next two posts, I’ll help Facebook new-comers get set up with a Facebook account and eventually walk you through some basic ways to use it for networking, self-promotion and research.

So let’s start with firstly getting you set up with an account…

Setting up:

  1. Head over to Facebook!
  2. Fill in your email address, choose a password and enter the asked for personal details. These details will automatically appear now on your profile in a column on the left hand side of the page.

Creating and editing your own page:

  1. Choose a suitable profile picture of yourself. Remember, this is the page that possible contacts will be viewing. It might be an idea to try to consistently use this picture in association with all your future online promotion work.
  2. Provide a short biography for your profile underneath your picture by clicking on the pencil symbol.
  3. Under the tab ‘info’  at the top of your profile page, your basic personal details will have already appeared under a heading ‘about me’. Underneath this, you can add details of your education and work. In this section, don’t forget to put in some links. If you don’t have a website, add a link to your institution or a publication you wrote for recently.
  4. Continue down this ‘info’  page and add your likes and interests. By providing these, this will help keep your profile personal and future contacts will feel more comfortable with this when choosing to confirm their friendship with you over Facebook.
  5. The final section in this tab is to fill in your contact details, for example email address. This provides an alternate way for your Facebook contacts to get in touch with you if they wish.

Finalising settings:

  1. By clicking on ‘my account’  at top right hand corner of Facebook, you can control your basic settings including your privacy. Be sure to define your privacy settings as you wish. Here, you can select exactly what you want to be viewed and exactly who you want to view it. However, keeping your profile as open as possible will increase your chances of receiving plenty of interaction and relationship building.

Finished profile:

  1. Congrats! Your personal Facebook account should now have been successfully completed. When you next log into facebook with your email address and chosen password, you will initially always be directed to Facebook’s homepage. Here, you will see a constantly updated stream of newsfeed broadcasting what all your contacts are up to.
  2. Your messages, friend requests and notifications are situated at the top left hand corner of your homepage and will appear with a red numbered square if you have received something new.
  3. When you have begun adding friends and adding photos to your profile, these will appear down the left hand side of your page.

Now you are all set up with an account, in my next blog post, I’ll be telling you all about networking, getting those all important contacts and promoting yourself on facebook. In the mean time, play around with your facebook account and get used to all the settings!

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