‘Networking’ is a word often made cold by its business associations. It’s easy to imagine CEOs on a golf course and think that’s a million miles away from what we do as educators and scholars. Perhaps a better way to think of networking — particularly in academia — is as yet another form of publishing. For example, each time we share information about our work we’re performing a valuable citation. In the same way that direct marketing takes an idea straight to the right audience, this form of citation is fast and efficient. And it goes both ways. Each time we find out details about someone else’s work we’re potentially saving ourselves hours of research time. And each time we boost that person’s work by sharing it on social media, we’re potentially saving someone else hours of research time. This info-thrift can be very potent and it’s why coffee breaks at conferences are often where the real work happens. So whilst there’s no need to take up golf… We are here beginning a new set of tips in our How to Be a Hackademic series focused specifically on academic networking. So, our first bit of advice:
GO PUBLIC BY DEGREES. The decision to go public on social media with our professional life is actually a very nuanced one. And it’s not a decision anyone should make all at once. We strongly encourage going public by degrees. Start with a professional site that houses a CV, links to syllabi, online publications, etc. Academia.edu is a great place to start or perhaps set up an about.me page. You might then decide to explore a platform like Twitter where you can dip your toe in by following lots of interesting people and gradually engaging them in conversation. Eventually you might decide to get a domain of your own and use a tool like WordPress to build a more personalised online space.