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Social Media: What’s it all about?

Due to popular demand the ECRAG pizza party continued this month with another session on Social Media! As per tradition, the session started with our favourite ice-breakers “the random FYI question”. This month we asked our members “which was the last movie you watched? And would you recommend it?”. Many of the doting parents in our group spend many of their leisurely hours watching the likes of “Postman Pat” and Disney classics to entertain their little ones! On the other hand an array of action movies such as “Lucy” were recommended as well as Bollywood Indie flicks such as “Finding Fanny”. Nothing like a bit of variety, eh?

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Claire (marketing officer) and Shawn (web manager) from the college of medical and dental sciences presented a vibrant and refreshing session on social media. Researcher’s should not be afraid to dip their toes in to the   world-wide web and have a feel for what lies ahead. Although initially intimidating, there is no harm in creating an account on-line (for example on twitter) and following similar others to get a grasp of appropriate on-line etiquette!

Having an on-line presence is like having a conversation but in a different platform. You have to understand your presence, your relevance and your audience. Just remember not to share too much personal information or anything that your department or organisation might not be comfortable advertising broadly. However, this is your space to share ideas, encourage discussion and network with your peers and colleagues. Make it your own by infusing elements of your personality alongside your work such as any art exhibitions you may have enjoyed, books you may have read or interesting facts that make you more relatable than just a research churning machine.

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It can be demanding to build up a presence and sustain activity, but remember your aim is not number of followers but quality of interaction with like-minded others. Conferences are a great place to start networking via platforms such as twitter, where individuals share stories and images (usually of slides) from interesting talks. There are often hashtags (#) to gather tweets under the same title.

Start by focusing on your immediate network and branching out like a pyramid system, but don’t try to have a presence on everything!

To help keep you focused, remember:

  • Define your goals
  • Define your audience (quality, not quantity)
  • Choose platforms which help you achieve your goals

You can keep up to date with the college of MDS and learn how they use social media on Facebook:/collegemds and Twitter: @unibirm_MDS. If you are already on twitter than do not hesitate to engage with the college using the hashtag #hellobrum

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Farina Kokab | fxk660@bham.ac.uk: @FarinaK

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