Using Social Media to raise the profile of arts and humanities PhD students


In a couple of weeks I will be in Belfast discussing how arts and humanities PhD students can use social media (likely to focus on twitter and blogs but could include others) to build networks and raise their profile. This is all part of a larger Northern Bridge doctoral training partnership winter school.

I’m really looking forward to this, it should be fun and interesting. There are going to be about 50 odd students there I thought that it might be a good idea to see how many of them were already on twitter.

I did a pretty simple search, so might have missed a few, and only included accounts where I could be sure it was the right person, but I still found 21 accounts out of the 50 names I had and I drew up a quick graph of their follower counts.

Follower count of Norther Bridge twitter users

Follower count of Norther Bridge twitter users

As you can see there are a few pretty connected people and then quite a long tail of people with fewer connections, and 29 people with either no account or one that I couldn’t easily find. There’s no particular reason to suppose that these students are more or less tech savvy than the general population of arts and humanities PhDs, so 42% penetration for twitter seems quite an  interesting finding.

I’d be really interested to hear how these students, and others in the arts are using twitter and their blogs to make connections and networks and promote themselves. Also when I discussed these rough findings with a colleague ( @bissetjm ) he mentioned that the most active twitter profiles were being supervised by very active twitter academics. I wonder if those not on twitter are being actively dissuaded by their supervisors?

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About digitalscholar

I am a sociologist with an interest in new technology. Previously I’ve worked on a number of projects at Lancaster University and the Open University looking at the use of new technologies and social media by researchers. I was also a social sciences teaching fellow at the foundation centre at Durham University teaching sociology and anthropology. I am now a senior lecturer at the University of West London's Institute for Teaching, Innovation and Learning where I oversee the foundation provision and support retention. I'm sure I'll still be interested in, and occasionally blog about, tech related things. I use this blog to post thoughts about using new technologies in my professional academic life and wider thoughts and links relating to technology more generally.
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One Response to Using Social Media to raise the profile of arts and humanities PhD students

  1. Blodeuwedd says:

    I am one of those students. You probably found my account since it uses my name and isn’t especially obscure. My supervisor has never mentioned twitter or Facebook to me and as far as I know he is on neither. I use FB quite extensively and I have a blog, although I don’t post very often (I’m working on that!) I virtually never use twitter…I can’t quite seem to get my head around it. I don’t feel ‘comfortable’ with it. I know its something I should do more and I keep meaning to. Maybe its a generational thing? (I’m 46). Looking forward to hearing you!

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