Networking, Networking, Networking

This week I listened to the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leader podcast with Sue Siegel from GE Healthcare. The podcast series is essentially a recorded lecture to the MBA course and I found it give an inspiring listen while I was alone in the office this week.

One of Sue’s main pieces of advice is to the MBA students was to network, network, network, which got me thinking about how much networking is too much? American’s really go in for networking in a big, almost aggressive fashion and cards switch hands at a fierce rate. I am currently signed up to a total of 7 social networks, one which I use personally (Facebook) but the other six I would class as at least somewhat professional (Google Scholar, Academia.edu, LinkedIn, WordPress, Twitter, Google Plus).

Networking WordleWhile I have a profile on Google Scholar and Academia.edu I think these duplicate my purely academic networking efforts somewhat. I would be interested to hear the value people get from these networks and if there is a preference between the two.

WordPress provides a platform for developing my ideas further into short articles rather than the more formal academic outputs of a conference or journal paper. I know several academics who include their blog posts in a count towards their weekly word counts and while some may not value blogging in the same way as more formal writing outputs it has added value to my writing process. I also think it is a great way of trying to identify what might be interesting to lay people about your research to work towards better public engagement with research.

Google Plus just confuses me; I think I was forced to create a profile by signing up to another Google product. I think it’s meant to be like Facebook but I essentially duplicated part of my LinkedIn profile on it because I felt I had to put something. I agree with the tips here about what to put on LinkedIn, yet I use the updates feature very infrequently (I use Twitter for those kind of updates).

For me the networks I get value from are the one which I actually interact in a two way fashion with people either with similar interests or working in a similar field; Twitter (especially the hashtags #acwri, #ecrchat & #phdchat) and LinkedIn, although this is mainly the groups and discussions that happen there.

Maintaining these networks and being consistent across each of them can be a real challenge, Nature has some advice for scientists here, which I found quite useful. Remembering the passwords is even more of a challenge! There is also the question of etiquette as well who do you add/follow/circle/whatever it’s called on which network, which can be a mine field to navigate. As can consistency what information should be posted where to create a coherent representation of myself.

I would be really interested in which networks other people get value from? Perhaps this could help me to prioritise my efforts. I will keep working on the consistency and coherence points but if anyone has suggestion of how to manage this please let me know. One thing is for sure that the networking I did during my EngD has led to some very interesting conversations along the way and I’d encourage you to get out from under the books every now and again and talk to real people!

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