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Academic Coaching & Writing

V. Social Networking for Academics: Why Use Academia.edu and LinkedIn?

Jul 29, 2014 by Lee Skallerup Bessette

In this blog you’ll learn more about two professional social networking sites, Academia.edu and LinkedIn.

Academia.edu is a social networking site for academics. It allows you to post your articles, your abstracts, your syllabi, your CV, calls for papers, and other materials. It promotes your work to other academics in your field. Like Facebook, the whole idea is to connect people with similar interests. When you first log in, Academia.edu asks you what your interests are and what your research is about. Then it tries to connect you to other people who have those similar interests. It also promotes the work of other people who have interests similar to yours.

One advantage of Academia.edu is that it's very search-engine friendly. What does that mean? It means that, for example, when people google an author you study, your paper on that author, that you have uploaded to Academia.edu, is one of the first things that appears in the Google results. And it provides you with reports that show who googled you and who viewed your work and your profile.

Academia.edu is not specifically designed to promote dialogue or interactions between academics. Most academics use it for broadcasting. They put up their work, they find other people's work that might be interesting, and they see who has downloaded their papers.

If you were to look at my Academia.edu profile page, you would see it looks very much like Facebook. It shows how many people have viewed my profile, how many people have viewed the documents that I've uploaded, how many followers I have, how many people I follow.  Academia.edu also creates a timeline of what other people you follow have uploaded and who has started to follow whom. It's very much like Facebook in that sense.

LinkedIn is more of a professional and job networking site rather than an academic social networking site. There are a lot of companies, large and small, who look for employees and post jobs through LinkedIn. LinkedIn focuses on connecting you to the right people and recommending jobs for you, as well as recommending you for jobs that people have posted.

LinkedIn is all about connections. It finds individuals who are connected with people who are already in your LinkedIn network and suggests that you may want to connect with those people who likely share similar professional interests. Your contact network allows you to expand your professional network and reach a very large audience.

LinkedIn also has many interest groups that promote discussion on topics related to your professional interests. Some of you may know about the Academic Coaching and Writing group on LinkedIn or perhaps you found us through that group. LinkedIn also has excellent search features to find contacts, groups, and job postings.

Unlike Academia.edu, LinkedIn is not specifically designed for academics, and it doesn’t necessarily promote academic dialogue. However, it is a powerful professional resource, particularly if you're looking to move into an administrative role, or if you're looking to move out of academia.

In the next blog, you will learn why you might consider Facebook and Google+ as part of your online presence.

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