Social Media Advice for Academics

“Remember, whenever you engage online, you are building and curating a public identity for yourself. Do so thoughtfully and choose your risks wisely.” That’s Rebecca Kukla, professor of philosophy and senior research scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, writing at the Blog of the APA. In her post there, she lays out her view of the importance of social media in the professional lives of philosophers, and provides some guidance for more junior academics about how to use social media well. Acknowledging that navigating the terrain of social media can be tricky, that the norms for doing so are still emerging and in flux, and that everyone’s specific social situation is different, Professor Kukla offers some good general advice, largely centered around Facebook, on how to present yourself, how negative or boastful you should be, curating the audiences with which you share different kinds of information, engaging in philosophical disputes, asking for assistance, and standing up for what you believe. If you make use of Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms, I encourage you to take a look at what she says. But should you be making use of social media? Professor Kukla thinks that “there’s no doubt that staying off of social media altogether can actively harm your career, while using it wisely can actively help you, and can genuinely enrich your professional and intellectual life.” She elaborates: A huge number of professional opportunities show up first and most prominently on Facebook, both as formal announcements and through informal discussions. A great deal of philosophical conversation that shapes the debates in our field happens on social media. Co-authorships and collaborations often take root online. People get to know one another’s personalities and research through these media. it clearly helps in getting interviews and invitations if people already know who you are, and like you and think highly of your ideas. I have certainly learned about the work of graduate students and young scholars through social media, and then offered them invitations and opportunities, used and assigned their work, and sought out their company at conferences as a result. It’s true that some junior scholars have benefited professionally from actively participating in social media. But it is not clear … Continue reading Social Media Advice for Academics