Social Media as a Tool, and Tools Offered by Social Media, to Teachers and Researchers: Personal or Professional Use?

Social Media as a Tool, and Tools Offered by Social Media, to Teachers and Researchers: Personal or Professional Use?

Jose-Luis Poza-Lujan (Universitat Politècnica de Valencia, Spain) and Ángeles Calduch-Losa (Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0917-2.ch005


The present chapter provides a clear vision for the social networks environment from the self-promotion point of view. Chapter focuses on organizing tools, audience, and type of publications. Tools are organized to contextualize their use and to give a proper understanding of the relevant contents that can be published. Audience is presented according to the relations and interests with the teacher and researcher. Simultaneously, chapter gives a vision of the privacy scope or the publications, and provides an evaluation mechanism to distinguish the most convenient area of publication depending of the message content. Following submission of these analyses, chapter focuses on the teacher and research activity and how to promote these activities through social networks. The chapter ends with a set of suggestions to make a strategic use of new media with the goal of promoting efficiently personal brand as a teacher and researcher.
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Make a simple experiment: look up your name on the Internet; you can use Google, Bing, or any other search engine, probably the results will be similar. Now, ask yourself some simple questions: Do you like the result? How much of that information, that you has obtained, is really about you? Are results in your favour? And the most important question: how much Internet data (about you) are under your control? This is not the first time that this experiment has been done. Many of your colleagues, your students or people interested in your work, have made this experiment previously. And the result is the same result that you have obtained. In the 21st century, there is a law: if you don’t control your information on Internet, someone else (probably Google) will do.

The result obtained in the previous experiment is your personal brand. For some time now, to learn more about the work of a teacher or researcher it was necessary to read his written work, his journal and conference papers, books or perhaps through some appearance in radio or TV. In the case of a student, he didn't know anything about his teacher until he went into the classroom. However, nowadays social networks are the means to obtain all information about someone. In the academic environment, where the students are digital natives, teacher's personal image is known before the class, given that students would have searched teachers’ data on Google or in Facebook. By means Internet our research papers can be founded easily and our colleges will know our information in ResearchGate before coinciding with us at a conference. Besides students and colleges, there are audiences that gradually use social media to learn more about our work: the whole society.

It is not correct consider social media as a threat. Teachers have in social networks a great opportunity to disseminate their work and to generate an appropriate image appropriate to reality and teachers’ interests. Teachers can use social networks from an alternative method to communicate with students to an innovative method to receive financing for their research projects.

So that, it is necessary to know all aspects related with social networks, to use them as a publishing vehicle of our personal branding and to self-promote our work. Besides, this is convenient to know the tools offered by social networks to use them efficiently. To show these aspects the chapter carries out a multidimensional analysis. The first dimension focuses on the context of social networks and tools, from both points of view: social networks as tools and tools for social networks. Second studied dimension corresponds with personal branding and consequently studies the audience typology. Finally, third dimension deals with the teacher activities and the relations with the two previous dimensions. Along the chapter, all concepts are presented with example of the good or bad use of social networks. Examples are based on the author experience, the practise of the authors’ colleges and the references.

As far as the first dimension analyzed, the chapter offers a revision and a global overview about social networks. The dimension has been organized in four types, based on the environment of the content published in the social network: social (as Twitter, Facebook or Google+), professional (as LinkedIn), academic (as Edmodo) and research (as ResearchGate or Academia). Initially, chapter review the social network focused on the current deployment in his particular scope of application and the tools provided by the social network. In addition, chapter discuss about the social network contents providers, among others, Instagram, SlideShare or YouTube, these tools (that, in some occasions, are also considered social networks) provide content for publications on social networks so it is necessary to know and use them jointly the social networks to do an efficient communication.

Next, as second dimension, chapter reviews the different audience types that a teacher can found in the social networks. The audience has been organized in five types: students, workmates, unknown colleges (teachers or researchers that don’t work usually with you), known personal contacts (usually called real life friends) and the rest of the social network audience. This section matches the user profiles with the different types of social networks. So that, the reader can take their own decision about “social network personal branding”, for example what’s the frequency that they need to publish his own research results or what’s the appropriate social network to use to complement his teach activities. The section considers the external teacher viewpoint when teacher must have into consideration that the interest of the public who access to social networks.

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