Online Academic Presence

In partnership with the Graduate History Alliance, we’ve begun a discussion in the BC History Department on the use (or non-use) of tools for creating online profiles promoting individual scholarship, and networks (both mainstream social networks and academic) for connecting with other scholars.

I’m curious to have a conversation about what students and faculty in the department have found valuable (and not), some of the logistics of the different tools, and the practicalities of taking control of your own “academic brand.” So I conducted a short survey among the grad students and post-docs for a quick snapshot of current practice.

Assessing Presence


Academic Networks

65% on
5% on Google Scholar (not just use, but have profile)
0% on Zotero (not just use, but use their website to share sources or connect with other scholars)
0% on Mendeley
0% on ResearchGate
0% on ORCID

Social Networks

90% on Facebook
75% on Twitter
55% on LinkedIn
35% on Instagram
30% on Pinterest

Use of Social Networks



1 Respondent uses Prezi to share slides
All others do not share via Prezi, Slideshare, or other

Academic Website

15% maintain an academic website/blog/portfolio

Non-academic Website

20% maintain a website/blog not related to their academic work

Website/Blog Platform

Of those with an academic or non-academic site:
2 use hosted
2 use self-hosted WordPress (own domain)
3 use Tumblr
No one is using the BC Personal Webserver

Some Interesting Thoughts

“Twitter has been most useful for professional networking.”

“…as an academic I am also highly protective of works in progress…”

“There are also downsides to promoting oneself as X type of scholar when on the job market when one might be applying for a job seeking Y type of scholar.”

“I had heard that it was unwise to make papers/syllabi available for open download. I had also heard during the job search process that personal websites can seem self-aggrandizing…”

“My main reason for not crafting more of an online presence is simple wariness and lack of knowledge around what would be the best things for me to use…”

“I tend to use Twitter for professional use, and Facebook purely for personal use. That distinction is very important for me.”

“My only professional account is my twitter one, which I use only for posts related to my subject. I post or repost multiple times daily and have managed to build over 5,000 followers, but partly that’s because I realized that pictures with captions are what Twitter is really about.”

“I’m mostly a private online person…it seems like when you’re on the job market, the internet can be very permanent.”

“I work part-time at the Burns Library and regularly post to the Burns Library Blog…it’s an opportunity to publicize some research skills and especially to develop a public voice.”

“I think it’s important to cultivate an online presence even as a grad student, if only because it’s good practice for maintaining a web presence later…”

“I see my very limited online presence mainly as a means of sharing and acquiring ideas for teaching and for staying up to date on conferences, scholarship…I don’t foresee creating my own website, as I’d rather devote the time…to my teaching and research.”

“I’m most interested in using my online presence to interact with people interested in teaching/studying history from outside the academy, but I’ve yet to see many examples of how to do this successfully.”

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