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.