Academics on social media: Twitter or Blogging? Is there even a difference?

It is a personal belief of mine (i.e. I have no evidence) that success in today’s academic market can be influenced by self-promotion and not just department or advisor-promotion. Having a well-known advisor, or coming from a prestigious PhD program, will help you get through the first stages of a search committee, but I think having an “online presence” that is readily apparent from a quick google search will go a long way towards making you “stand out” from people with otherwise similar CVs and qualifications. Obviously, this belief of mine is massively self-serving because I actively try to promote my “online presence”! Which brings me to the topic of this post: using twitter or blogging platforms for academic self-promotion.

Whereas I used to blog more than I tweet, I am now finding myself using twitter more and more as a kind of “micro-blogging” platform. This might just be  summer laziness and absorption in more important research projects (like my next Qualifying Paper for Wash U), but it’s also an opportunity to hone the art of succinct expression. Trying to make a real (or interesting) philosophical point in a single tweet is an interesting exercise because, if you want to do so, you have no choice but to compress your thoughts. Along with such “micro-blogging”, twitter offers the potential for rapid-fire link-sharing and instant communication between thousands of people. Blogging is “slower”, but also suitable for deeper, more insightful writing.

However, I am quickly becoming convinced that the distinction between “blogging” and “micro-blogging” is growing fuzzier everyday. People might not think of tweeting as “really” blogging i.e. logging your thoughts on the web, but that’s exactly what it is, only 142 characters at a time, published in “real-time”.

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