Some notes from ‘How to communicate your research using social media, blogs, video and infographics’

Last week I attended training on ‘How to communicate your research using social media, blogs, video and infographics’, run by CILIP’s UK eInformation Group. I am grateful to Napier’s School of Computing for funding my attendance and this training by Andy Tattersall of Sheffield University’s School of Health and Related Research.

Andy created the course based on his extensive experience and knowledge, of which there is so much that any attempt by me to replicate it would be futile. I would say that having some experience of Twitter and blogging helped me get more from the course. However, I learnt a bit about infographics and video, and I’ve never really used them, certainly not in my academic life.

So instead of a poor attempt to recount everything, below are some of the systems Andy mentioned. But to start with, here’s one of Andy’s points that I fully endorse.

Know why you would start using any digital tool,
so that you choose the mix that works for you.

Social media

The ‘biggie’ for academia is of course Twitter. While you can do a lot in the browser, you can use Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to easily schedule posts, and view various aspects of your account(s). Tweetdeck easily switches between accounts. Untweeps lets you unfollow inactive accounts.

Blogs

Andy spoke most about blog content, and how blog content can be picked up by other channels, to increase your impact. I guess the lesson is ‘use whatever platform works for you’.

Video

Actual video tools include VideoScribe, Adobe Spark, Lumen5 and Camtasia.

Infographics

Tools include Piktochart and Canva but you can use anything that will edit images. (I’m still a fan of Adobe Illustrator from my publishing career.)

For data visualisation, options include RAWgraphs. Our World in Data is about ‘Research and data to make progress against the world’s largest problems’.

Final Bruce-thoughts

Many tools have free versions, so ‘try before you buy’ is possible. But don’t get sucked down rabbit-holes finding the perfect tool – you do have a day-job.

And if you get a chance to go on this course, grab it with all your hands!

Thanks to Maria Cecil, Marina Milosheva and Marianne Wilson for helpful feedback on a draft of this post.

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