Developing Your Online Presence

A guest post by Dr. Mark Dawson – E-learning Development Advisor

Almost everyone has some kind of online presence – whether it’s an email account or something more substantial like a blog or website. In terms of both academic and professional careers, a good online presence is becoming increasingly important, offering ever more innovative opportunities for collaboration, research and networking, as well as for re-thinking what these activities might mean. A good online presence – on social networking platforms such as Linkedin – is also becoming more and more essential in terms of our careers, with recruiters targeting these sites as an ever more efficient way to match the right person to the right job.

According to Martin King ‘2.3 billion people were online at the end of 2011(33% of all humanity) and by 2020 it is expected that 5 billion people will be connected – 66% of all humanity. In the next decade 3 billion new minds will become connected and most of these will be from developing countries – introducing new voices into our global networks.’ As this rate the web seems all set for what King refers to as a ‘network event horizon’, that is, a point at which the number of people online increases to such an extent that their interactions become radically unpredictable. Thinking of this in a positive sense, such a complex system will generate new ways of thinking and being, new forms of knowledge and connectivity. To be a part of this shift is therefore both exciting and essential; in terms of our career trajectories, it will generate jobs that haven’t yet been thought of, and ways of working that might at the present moment seem quite unfamiliar.

So does the New Year present an opportunity for you to re-assess your online presence? Might the virtual world be the place to refocus your job search or find collaborators for your next research project? Might it be the time to start that blog, or if you have one already, to spend a little more time curating it. Is your online presence fulfilling its potential, and if not, what can you do to improve it? The Researcher Development Programme at King’s features a course which will help you ask, and answer, these questions. Developing Your Online Presence runs in a face-to-face context on March 18th, and there’s a webinar version on May 26th.

Keep in touch with the Researcher Development Unit via Twitter @KingsRDP, and the Graduate School @kclgradschool. For news, support and advice on the use of technology in academic research, also see @KCLDigitalRes