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How do you tell if blogging and tweeting is ‘working’?

Is your online presence supporting your objectives?

Measure your impact with an impact file

Keep an impact file:

  • Growth of followers
  • Keep Googling yourself
  • Blog analytics
  • Website analytics
  • Number of invites
  • Names of useful contacts
  • Number of interactions

ae-blog-impact-file

Read more about this in chapter 9 of the online version of the LSE’s Maximising the Impacts of Your Research: A Handbook for Social Scientists, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Collect analytics and social media metrics

Altmetric

Altmetric can be a useful tool for researchers.

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Altmetric publicity blurb

An in depth look at these metrics

Read this introduction to altmetrics for librarians, researchers and academics from the CILIP Blog, 25 April 2016, by Andy Tattersall.

Please read the other posts in this blog about writing for impact.

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The ideal length of everything online

How long should your tweet be? Or your blogpost? Or your post title? Buffer and SumAll have written about this in their blogs including an infographic.

internet-length

“The Internet is a zoo: the ideal length of everything online

Thanks to http://blog.bufferapp.com for this graphic.

’The

I wonder if this post is long enough!?

Read the other posts in this blog about writing for impact.

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Blogging and tweeting for ‘impact’

Some prompts to think about when blogging with an objective in mind:

  • What aspect of you / your work do you want to promote?
  • Who’s your audience(s)?
  • What purpose do you want to achieve?
  • What value is there for your audience?
  • What knowledge do you want to exchange?
  • What tensions / conflict might you encounter?

ae-blog-impact

E.g. I want to…

  • raise my profile
  • get ‘attention’ for my work
  • get a job / funding
  • know more about what’s going on in my field
  • get feedback on my ideas
  • be part of a community
  • build a community
  • Know your objectives and make them measurable

E.g. Increase:

  • web traffic by…
  • citations by…
  • downloads of my podcasts by…
  • connections to academics by…
  • invitations to submit articles by…

Some other considerations:

stop

Who do you want to engage with?

  • Who do you want to engage with?
  • What do you want to share?
  • Choose themes and topics
  • Select media types
    • Craft your content to your audience
    • Network through re-posts, comments, recommendations, forums
    • Keep it personable (not personal)
    • Create a content calendar
    • Map content to existing publicity

What do you want to share?

Content is king!

  • Choose themes and topics
  • Select media types
  • Craft your content to your audience
  • Network through re-posts, comments, recommendations, forums
  • Keep it personable (not personal)
  • Create a content calendar
  • Map content to existing publicity

What tensions / conflict might you encounter?

Reputation or more, your online reputation

It takes too much time

How to manage time?

  • Spread your time evenly – be consistent and regular
  • Post at key times (e.g. between 10-3pm Mon-Thursday)
  • Use an aggregator e.g. Buffer, Hootsuite, TweetDeck
  • Schedule your posts
  • Explore app integration

How to keep track of different profiles?

  • Post for impact e.g.
    • guest blog post
    • join a Twitter conversation
    • comment on a prominent blog
    • or comment in a LinkedIn group
  • Use an aggregator e.g. Buffer, Hootsuite, TweetDeck
  • Schedule your posts
  • Explore app integration

And most importantly, not enough buy-in from the Department?

For this I suggest you read the other posts in this blog about writing for impact.

 

 

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Blogs are more fun to read than research

The title paraphrases Marie-Josee Shaar in response to Why Blogs are Better Than Research by Jeremy McCarthy, 2011 in The Psychology of Wellbeing: Questions of Science.

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Free the Fact by Dave Gray

Learn more about open access to research by reading Jeremy’s blog, and read about Open Access in Oxford.

Gain academic attention with blogging

“Should I blog?” If you are worried that blogging and being active on social media is yet another addition to their already heavy work regime, then read Academic blogging is part of a complex online academic attention economy, leading to unprecedented readership by Inger Mewburn and Pat Thomson, 2013 on the LSE Impact Blog.

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Compare the “article views”

Read Inger and Pat’s blog to discover what they did to achieve this

How many more people will read your tweets and your blog, than your dissertation?

“Thousands!” according to Philip Guo (@pgbovine), Assistant Professor of Cognitive Science, UC San Diego, in a supportive tweet to J. Nathan Matias (@natematias), MIT Center for Civic Media:

guo-matias

Read the other posts in this blog about writing for impact.

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Blogging and tweeting to extend the reach of your research

In this video Professor David Pyle discusses his public engagement work for the University of Oxford Department of Earth Sciences, how social media (blogging, Facebook and Twitter) has allowed the team to engage with a wider audience.

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If you’re still sceptical about how blogging and tweeting can help your academic project or your research, I can only recommend you to read authors such as…

The Department of Earth Sciences have recently used two activities to increase awareness of their research on volcanic risk: Volcanoes Top Trumps (a card game), and the London Volcano (a 5 day exhibition).

Repeatedly in this blog (e.g.What to blog about?), we have pointed to the following:

Setting up a blog for others to contribute to

The public

My favourite example of all early ‘crowdsourcing’ initiatives was the Science of Ghosts blog.

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Investigating the Tatallon castle ‘ghost’

Dr. Caroline Watt of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit, University of Edinburgh runs an online course to introduce interested members of the public to her discipline. She points to interactive experiments, using blogs, embedded YouTube videos and Twitter, which enable assessments of psychological experiences.  She helped set up the Science of Ghosts blog for the 2009 Edinburgh Science Festival, a project which won particular notice and publicity.

Richard Wiseman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, ran the blog and asked people to submit photographs of ghosts. His team received some 250 photographs from all over the world. Wiseman posted the best of these online and asked people to vote and comment on whether or not they thought the pictures were of real ghosts.  None of the photographs proved the existence of ghosts, but the blog  received thousands of comments and over a quarter of a million votes.

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The sinister ‘ghost’ behind the wall

Academics

One example springs to mind: World War I Centenary: Continuations and Beginnings “An Open Educational Resource supporting new directions in teaching World War I”:

continuations.jpg

Read the other posts in this blog about writing for impact.

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Should you blog?

Here I am sharing a blog post by Javvad Malik “A blog about blogging, with bloggers” which is an interesting read if you’re starting to blog, he writes:

“…Personally I always recommend blogging. But I do enjoy writing, so that is definitely a help.

Javvad Malik has gathered together opinions from other bloggers (most from his particular profession). E.g. from Bart Blaze:

“…There are no ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ blog posts: worst-case scenario is you made a mistake and someone gives you the opportunity to fix it. Just start blogging. Keep them in draft if necessary, complete the blog post and leave it for a week. Review it and correct mistakes if any, then simply publish. But honestly, at some point good is good enough.”

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

And read more about this in Creating a WordPress site.

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Use old words when writing for findability

It’s not a new concept, but valid still 10 years on: “Use Old Words When Writing for Findability” by Jakob Nielsen (from 2006, published by the Neilsen Norman Group). This adds to our thoughts about search engine optimisation elsewhere on Creating a WordPress site, i.e. how you can help Google find your blog.

Familiar words spring to mind when users create their search queries. If your writing favors made-up terms over legacy words, users won’t find your site.

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Cringeworthy words to cut from your blog

Hoa Loranger of the Neilsen Norman Group has just written this article: “Cringeworthy Words to Cut from Online Copy” with some lovely before/after examples. This adds greatly to how to write copy for online reading, which we talk about elsewhere on Creating a WordPress site.

The right words can make or break trust; they affect your tone of voice and how people perceive your site.

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How long should your blog post be?

Read “How Long Should Your Blog Post Be? A Writer’s Guide” by Joe Bunting, to find out “how long” if you want:

  • more readers;
  • more comments;
  • more social media shares; or
  • more traffic.

And read more about this in Creating a WordPress site.

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Rules of blog writing and layout

There is an excellent infographic (diagram) in the article “16 Rules of Blog Writing and Layout. Which Ones Are You Breaking? [And Infographic]” by Sue Anne Dunlevie. You will have to endure a number of pop-up ads etc. but the content is worth it. It mirrors most of what we have written here in Creating a WordPress site. Here is the infographic by successfulblogging.com: Continue reading

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