Digital Networking for Academics

I’ve given a short workshop at a couple of conferences recently, and recently some folks asked if I might share it online. So here it is, with the caveat that it’s just my kind of biased view.
First, I think it’s important to abandon the naive idea of Romantic Genius: if you write it they will come. Great research stands on its own and is sullied by craven attempts at promotion. NO. The truth is, the Romantic poets were just a craven and self-promoting as the rest of us. So let’s kill this Romantic idea that advertising work pollutes the system.
I generally assume ta 50/50 proposition when it comes to what gets read and why. 50% is the overall quality of the book or article, and 50% networking and leveraging of social capital.
BUT: and here is the BIG caveat: digital networking is not about promoting you and your work — it’s about promoting good work and good people, period.
My overall argument is that the best reason we should all be using digital networks is because they help get your stuff read and help you to find and promote other work. If someone doesn’t find your book because they didn’t know it was relevant, that’s on you.
Think of this in terms of search efficiency. Facebook, Twitter, listserves, sites like HASTAC — all are places where you can find out, from other really smart people, what good work is out there and what’s coming down the line. They are also places where you can ask questions and gather collective wisdom.
I am convinced that, in the end, it makes all the work better — makes sure that people have a better idea of where to find great work appropriate to their research and their teaching.
This means GIVE WHAT YOU WANT TO GET BACK. Give generous support, smart discussion, broadcast good work you’ve found, celebrate successes, make principled arguments, etc. I took about a year off of both Facebook and Twitter when I was revising my book note that this has made be HAPPIER as an academic. Promotes a wider sense of collaboration. It IS a collaboration.
AND HAVE FUN!!!! Figure Out how to reach a world.
Want networks that are both wide and deep (like your research, right?).
(Here I can tell you more about how the V21 thing dropped and I was out of the loop. Taught me a lot.)
Principles: relation between public and private. Need to set a policy — huge differences.
Also think a little about what your basic identity or thing is. I like, e.g., to promote stuff that has to do with science, science photography, etc. That’s stuff I identify with, can evaluate, and people will sort of check out if they know me.
Just remember: it’s all public, and it will be on your permanent record. Doesn’t mean you can’t be political, etc., but keep it in mind or use it.
First: call attention to what I’ve done to promote the roundtable coming in across different channels.
There are important differences between what they are good for. I’ll run through some of those differences now, focusing on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Facebook: this is more collegial. This is a network of people who are connected to you usually institutionally or socially. Family, etc., too. People good at this: Deanna; Elaine Freedgood, Caroline Levine.
ALSO: it is easy to hide older posts rather than crawling through them for the job market. See the post here.
Give two examples: Deanna and Caroline Levine.
Twitter: style, people who are good at it, connectors.  Note that it is about a more expansive network of thinkers, fans. Figure out where the channels are. Talk a little bit about why Claire, V21 so successful. Talk about the time involved. Also part of a bridge to the wider world.
Some other good tips for using Twitter:
LinkedIn: We don’t take this seriously enough, for students and wider community. But hugely important as a professional channel. We might think of this in two ways: one of the ways that we network and link what we do on campus to what happens off campus; but also this is a failure in that we are starting to think more seriously about the different paths we might take; need to go for them.
Blogs. Meh. Need to park stuff somewhere. But not part of the current as much. Only real exception is if you’re doing DH.
Websites. PITA. But useful to house stuff if the architecture of your institution doesn’t support. Don’t need to get fancy.
Online Publications — Public Books, LARB, Valve, etc.: High prestige, big part of the new public humanities push. Who’s good at this? Kyla, Nathan, founders, etc.
Listserves — great for farming out queries to groups of experts in a field and staying on top of publications and conferences., etc.: places to share work have come under increasing scrutiny because they are for-profit and partly pay to play. There are lots of nonprofit alternatives, including Humanities Commons and Zenodo. The only problem is that they are less frequented, so people are less likely to find your stuff.
Read more here:

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