Enjoying your social media life is so important
Whether you’re using it professionally, personally, or both, enjoying your social media life makes a big difference. Earlier this month, I hosted a Twitter chat on @AcademicChatter to talk about just that.
If you don’t enjoy your time on social media, you won’t want to use it or engage in conversations.
I didn’t realize until the day of, it was also my 1 year Twitterversary! I had so much fun. And I promised you a follow-up. Here it is.
I’m Jennifer, a social media strategist and communications consultant. I work with faculty and researchers to share their work online.
I joined Twitter just over a year ago, and now I teach people how to use it effectively. I blog about social media and online identity here, on The Social Academic.
And I interview faculty and grad students about their social media lives, like postdoc researcher Daisy Shu.
In this blog post, I talk about how much academics enjoy social media, and their favorite platforms.
Then, get my top 3 tips for enjoying your social media life.
- Introduce yourself on social media
- Always practice self-care
- Know your privacy settings on the platforms you use
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Academics on social media tend to enjoy it
People who use social media effectively tend to enjoy their time on social media. But what does that look like?
How people use social media varies widely. Some people like to lurk, or just retweet content they find interesting.
Others like to reply to conversations but not necessarily post themselves.
Some people use social media to build community, or share their #AcademicLife.
Not all academics use social media professionally. Those that do, tend to find it rewarding.
I asked #AcademicTwitter how much they enjoy social media (n 258). I mean Twitter is not the place for a real study, but let’s look at the numbers.
54% of respondents said they enjoy social media most or all of the time.
Hi Jennifer, I use Instagram for personal and twitter mostly for work. I enjoy Twitter a lot. Maybe it’s the restricted word count but I find people tend to post interesting stuff, and others hop into the conversation quickly. Other channels just seem like shouting into the void— Seònaid Lafferty (@Casarlach) May 2, 2019
You’re welcome! Interesting! Love that you are asking this. There are so many academics still not using any social media (just got my research partner on Twitter last week!) but I think social media is powerful for networking & collaboration.— Dr. Monica D.T. Rysavy (@monicarysavy) May 2, 2019
Sorry, forgot the “why”. I’ve found that Twitter has great communities of people that are passionate about important subjects. There’s a lot of support here!— Dr. Michael Lemieux (@MGLemieux) May 3, 2019
My favorite social media platform is twitter. I use it for everything from networking with existing and potential colleagues to fangirling pop culture I love.— Dr. Tara Woolfolk (#ImmodestWoman in solidarity) (@tara_woolfolk) May 3, 2019
Academics and grad students enjoy social media for a lot of reasons. These are just a few that were part of this thread.
- personal interests
- connect with community
In addition, social media is a great way for academics to
- share your publications
- let people know about speaking engagements
- meet collaborators
- build your scholarly network
- share teaching tips
- get advice
Academics think they spend too much time on social media
I asked people how they feel about the time they spend on Twitter.
I thought about asking with hour ranges. But how much time you spend on social media isn’t as important as how you spend your time. Or, how you feel about the time you spend.
How much time would you say you spend on social media per week?— Academic Chatter (@AcademicChatter) May 2, 2019
I asked how much time would you say you spend on social media because I wanted to know how people feel about their own practices.
67% of respondents (n 129) said “I think I’m on too much.”
And an additional 16% say they’re “always on social media.”
I’ve been training people on social media for a while now, and this is the #1 concern people have.
How much time do you spend on social media?
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Academics love Twitter 1st, and Instagram 2nd
Back in January, I asked you how much you enjoy social media (n 1,128).
The poll was skewed because only that number of respondents could be found on Twitter. No surprise, people on Twitter love Twitter (79%).
This time around, I wanted to see what people love other than Twitter (n 132).
Instagram is my favorite platform, so I was happy to see it had 59% of the vote.
How can academics enjoy social media more?
Here are my top 3 easy tips to help you enjoy your social media and #AcademicLife more.
#1 Introduce yourself
Introducing yourself on social media is my #1 tip.
Why? New people encounter you on social media every day.
When’s the last time you introduced yourself on social media?— The Academic Designer (@HigherEdPR) May 21, 2019
Introducing yourself is a great way to let people know who you are.
New people encounter you every day. Take a few minutes to introduce yourself today!#AcademicTwitter #PhDchat #ECRchat
There are so many benefits to introducing yourself on social media.
It’s a friendly way to say “hi” to your audience.
It let’s people know a little bit about you. It can be a way to provide more detail than your bio, or talk to a specific audience.
I was inspired to introduce myself thanks to @HigherEdPR 😁— Dr. Echo Rivera (@echoechoR) May 22, 2019
Like Matthew and Hector, you can add hashtags to your introduction if you’re goal is to network.
I’m Matthew, a PhD candidate in English 🙂— Matthew M. Pincus (@MatthewMPincus) May 22, 2019
I’m defending my dissertation on women crime writers of the 1940s and 50s next month 📚
I tweet about books, film, and baseball @MatthewMPincus
It’s nice to meet you 👋#AcademicTwitter #PhDchat #PhDLife pic.twitter.com/Fy2Sa2gv3Z
I’m Hector, a PhD student in Religious Studies 🌚— Hector J. Kilgoe (@RELSKilgoe) May 22, 2019
I’m studying religious studies theory all summer to prepare for exams 🤓
I tweet about religion, race, and politics as well as TV and my life @RELSKilgoe 💃🏽
It’s nice to meet you 🙏🏽#AcademicTwitter #PhDchat #PhDLife
When’s the last time you introduced yourself on social media? If the answer is never – today is a great day. Write a little intro post now.
Pro tip: include a photo of your face for higher engagement
#2 Practice social media self-care
Self-care is so important for social media.
Managing your notifications makes a huge difference when it comes to enjoying your social media life.
Alerts can make people anxious. For some, waiting for likes is like waiting for validation. For others, notification bubbles feel like tasks to be completed.
The apps are designed to entice you to spend more time on them.
Managing your phone notifications by selecting what type of notifications you’d like to receive, and how you want to receive them.
When you need it, or even just feel like it, it’s OK to take a break from social media. It’s OK for that break to be as long as you want.
Don’t feel guilty about social media detox.
Do take steps to help yourself stay off social media like deleting the app from your phone.
Don’t delete your account (unless you’re pretty sure you’re not going to come back).
Do let people know other ways people can get in touch with you (if you want).
#3 Know your privacy
Your privacy is important on social media. Check your privacy settings every 6 months or so, to make sure they’re still how you want them.
Please know that having your account set to private is never fully protective of your posts or information. Things are often shared and discussed (especially in person).
Do block people you don’t want to be able to see your posts or engage with you.
Mute people you don’t want to see.
Don’t feel guilty about wanting to enjoy your home feed. You can always find conversations. They don’t need to be the 1st thing that pops up on your screen.
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Taking a break from social media can make a big difference
Not all social media breaks look the same. Learn more about how to take a break from social media.
Jennifer van Alstyne is a Peruvian-American poet and public relations consultant. She founded The Academic Designer, LLC to help academics, researchers, and writers control their online presence and share their work with the world.
She holds a B.A. from Monmouth University in English, and an M.F.A. from Naropa University in Writing & Poetics where she was the Jack Kerouac Fellow. Jennifer also holds an M.A. from University of Louisiana at Lafayette in Literature and Cultural Studies where she was one of four master’s fellows and a finalist for the Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award.