September 4, 2009
How to make your Facebook page "tenure-ready"
Here's some advice from the Chronicle of Higher Ed about how to tweak your social networking presence to enhance your career. The author is clearly trying to help career-minded people and is undoubtedly correct in many of his observations but some of the advice - like creating an alter-ego to express your authentic self while showing a different side to colleagues as well as salting the web with positive references to yourself - seems a bit contrived for my tastes. But to each his own, I guess.
Anyhoo, here's a summary of the author's advice:
- Professionalize your Facebook page - although social networking is all about the fun of connecting with friends new and old, for the sake of your career you need to either tone down that part of your online presence or establish a second presence in connection with your social life. If you plan to really get your freak on in cyberspace, just make sure the personal site can't be traced back to you
- Chance are if you've been teaching for a while, someone, somewhere, has an axe to grind with you and may be honing it on the web as we speak. Attempts to remove this kind of stuff rarely succeed. An alternative is to insert professional items—opinion essays, blog posts, and interviews that deal with research or teaching—into the Web stream in the hope of having the good stuff outrank the bad in the Google queue.
- Proofread what you write.
- Weigh the difference between Facebooking and publishing.
- Use social-networking sites to collaborate with colleagues, conduct research and other tasks in connection with your scholarly interests.
- Inculcate your senior colleagues - for the assistant professor, the social-media gap is a golden opportunity to (a) show what a good colleague you are, (b) demonstrate the professional utility of new media to senior colleagues (such as those on the promotion-and-tenure committee!), and (c) be seen as a leader in the innovation of research and teaching.
- Marry new technology with old principles. What students think of you affects your morale, your sense of belonging in the profession, and your progress on the tenure track. Although universities and departments assert that student evaluations are not the sole measure of pedagogical worthiness, that 1 to 5 rating, especially weighed over six years, is an influential indicator of your teaching performance. Using social media in the classroom will not magically improve your skills or scores, but they may help you connect with students and enliven your material.
You can read the full advice column here.
September 4, 2009 | Permalink