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Research Dissemination (School of Law)

Pushing Traffic to Your Content

Use social media like blogs, twitter, etc to push traffic to your content. Don't be afraid of self promotion. This also provides you with an opportunity to share your work with different audiences than you would at disciplinary conferences.

Blogging & Micro-Blogging

First Steps

Micro-blogging

Twitter.com

Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets". Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them. Users access Twitter through the website interface, SMS, or mobile device app. This is perhaps the least time consuming means to get your message out there.

Schulich School of Law Twitter Feed
Prof. Jocelyn Downie's Twitter Feed
Why academics really use Twitter.


Blogging

Blogs (or web logs) are a means of journaling your thoughts and ideas. There are more than 450 Canadian Law Blogs (blawgs). There are a number of free blogging services available with a wealth of online resources to help you with your blog. The most popular (and simple) platforms of 2014 are:

Wordpress is a free and open-source blogging tool and a content management system. The service has many templates to choose from and allows additional plugins.  WordPress was used by more than 23.2% of the top 10 million websites as of August 2013. In 2012 Forbes reported that WordPress was the most popular blogging system in use on the Web at more than 60 million websites. Dalhousie Blogs use Wordpress.

Worpress Dalhousie Blog - The Friday Library

Blogger is a blog-publishing service that allows multiple users to contribute to blogs. The blogs are hosted by Google at a subdomain of blogspot.com. A user can have up to 100 blogs per account. It is avlaible in many languages.

Canadian law Librarian Connie Crosby's Blog on Blogger.

Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networking website owned by Yahoo! Inc. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users' blogs, as well as make their blogs private.

UofT Law School Admissions Blog
100 Days of Listening Tumblr Blog

Claire Shaw, Academic guide to social media and blogging, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 9 April, 2014

The Guardian's Academic Blogging 10 Top Tips

1) Write about yourself and your life. People are just as interested in researchers (and their activities) as their research; also write about what goes wrong as well as right – the human story of failed experiments is interesting but rarely gets told.

2) Find your blogging voice. Don't worry if it takes a year or more. Your blog will evolve as you discover your style, which might be short topical pieces or long-form reflective essays (or a combination of the two). Read other academic blogs and you'll quickly see the range of voices people use.

3) Be clear what your blog is for. Are you writing to share your musings on life, the universe and everything, or a specific theme or topic? Again let the scope evolve; it can be difficult to start blogging with a mission statement, but it is useful to start out by thinking what you would like to achieve with your blog.

4) Blog as yourself. While there are circumstances in which blogging anonymously is necessary, in general it is better to be clear and open about yourself and your academic position. It's also important to make clear whether you are writing on behalf of your university.

5) Think about how controversial you want to be. Calibrate the degree of controversy according to risk (especially for an early career researcher compared to a tenured professor); in general, only be prepared to put something on a blog that you'd be prepared to say to someone's face (or shout out in a crowded room). Courting controversy can be fine if you are a senior academic, but be mindful that your position lends a level of authority to what you write – so make sure you're happy for your words to be quoted.

6) Remember: a blogpost is a publication. If you are writing about ongoing research which is not yet published or patented, then be mindful of the dangers of prematurely revealing details of potential inventions or intellectual property.

7) Let your university know about your blog. Have a chat with your line manager about your intention to start an academic blog. You might not need their permission, but it's best if your blog doesn't come as a surprise to your manager or institution at an inopportune time.

8) Think about how often you want to blog. If your blog acquires a following then your readers will look forward to your next post, so don't put yourself under pressure by creating expectations of, say, a blogpost every few days when you know you can't keep it up in the longer term.

9) Use social media to promote your posts. Twitter is an easy way to tell the world that you've just posted a new piece on your blog, opening up wider interaction and engagement.

10) Blog because you want to. Don't blog because you have to – it should be fun, not a chore! There are already plenty of onerous tasks for an academic; this should not become one of them.

Dr Tom Crick is a senior lecturer in computing science at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Read his blog and follow him on Twitter @DrTomCrick

Alan Winfield is professor of electronic engineering and director of the science communication unit at University of the West of England. Read his blog and follow him on Twitter @alan_winfield

The Guardian, Academic Blogging - 10 Top Tips, http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/blog/2013/dec/13/how-to-academic-blogging-tips.

Prof Currie's Law Int Crim Blog

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David Fraser's Privacy Law Blog

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Dean Brooks' The Friday Library Blog

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SLAW (Mark Lewis contributes)

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