I have had an academia.edu profile for a while now and try to post conference papers at least twice a year. I am very aware that I can’t publish too much of my thesis online and this has made me pause when publishing any of my work. I began by posting a few of my essays from my MA and one in particular has received quite a lot of traffic. However, most people only view or download articles and I think there should be a requirement for feedback if an article is downloaded. I will keep my profile updated but I don’t think this tool will further my career or research in the same way as Twitter or LinkedIn could.
LinkedIn was completely alien to me before this task as I assumed it was for business professionals and couldn’t see the benefits for academics. I’m still not sure how useful it will be as I have had it a week or so and already have a profile labelled ‘expert’. This seems to be because I have good contacts in the world outside academia, but I can’t see the benefit of that in terms of my current work and future aspirations. Nevertheless, I will keep my profile updated as I may receive opportunities to develop other areas I am interested in such as teaching and tutoring.
The movement towards digital impact through social media still doesn’t quite sit right with me as I firmly believe academic ability should be judged on academic achievement. I don’t believe that one person with thousands of followers and another with a handful can be an accurate or appropriate measure of academic impact and it seems a worrying trend with a focus on popularity instead of ability.
I have always known that I shared my name with others, so much so that there is regularly a mix up with packages in my local shops. Strangely, my namesake was born in the same year and even had some friends in common when I was at school. I never really accepted my name until I was in my twenties as I was always one of two or three Emily’s in my class and I wanted to be “different”. Now I realise that there is a certain anonymity in sharing a name with so many people. Thank god my parents didn’t let me change the spelling to Emma-Lee *shudders*
Initially, when I searched for myself on google there were so many results that it was difficult to find anything linked to me. I was pleased and somewhat surprised to find the only things that featured mentions of my name were relevant to my academic profile.
I started with google and typed in my whole name. No luck on the first page but on the second page I found a conference programme with my name and the paper I had given. It was a good start.
As I said, my name is shared by thousands if not millions of my contemporaries, so I made my search more specific and added “University of Surrey” after my name. This was the first hit:
My staff profile for my university was the first thing to come up although it reminded me how out of date my profile was and the things I needed to request to be added. Since setting up the page I have moved office twice and thesis focus more times than I care to mention now.
I finished off my google search by adding “English Lit” and deleting my University. This was the most effective search phrase as I found three of my academic social media accounts and no sign of my Facebook profile. I have implemented every privacy setting on my Facebook to ensure that I am difficult to find, another benefit of sharing my name with so many other women.
I definitely think I could make my academic presence more visible online, but I have to say I was extremely relieved that nothing embarrassing showed up. I was active on social media as a teenager and I dread to think what could have surfaced. I realised that I need to keep all my academic profiles updated and that I would like to focus my twitter feed so that it becomes less personal and more professional. I just hope I don’t get mistaken for the other Emily’s out there as there were some “interesting” photos and some posts that I would rather not be associated with. However, on the bright side, I won’t need to pay for my internet presence to be erased anytime soon!