While I previously talked about how important social media can be for students there is also another group for whom social media can be a fantastic tool to harness, lecturers. After doing research using buzzsumo, followerwonk and my own brain I identified the top 6 lecturers on social media. These lecturers weren’t chosen solely on the number of followers they have because that’s just lazy, they were also chosen because of a smart approach they took to social media that other lecturers (and professionals) can use to help harness social media. The 6 lecturers chosen were.
- Joanne Manaster
- John Breslin
- Alastair Arnott
- Bernie Goldbach
- Dean Burnett
- Marianne Williamson
As well as this the team here at BlueChief have identified some of the top channels that a lecturer new to the social media space should start using. There was some arguing over which we believed to be the top three to use.
Joanne Manaster – Show people you love what you do
Joanne Manaster is a biology lecturer at the University of Illinois. Even if you just take a quick glance at her social media profiles this stands out straight away. From trips to Costa Rica where she took care of baby Sloths (internet gold) to talks about what life on Mars would be like her social content shows she has a real love/passion for all thing nature.
— Joanne Manaster (@sciencegoddess) June 23, 2015
One of the things that really stood out for me though was how she utilised Slideshare on LinkedIn. Where many people may simply transfer over their powerpoints from lectures to slideshare Joanne decided to use it as a CV that showed what social networks she is on as well her previous experience and what she is currently involved. It struck me as a simple but brilliant way to show people your experience in the blink of an eye.
I was also interested at how Joanne utilised Pinterest. As well as having content related to her chosen field she also had boards that showed her own personality. Pinterest is the social network for people who are into fashion and makeup and Joanne blends this into her boards along with book recommendations and pictures of animals (always a winner). At the blink of an eye you can see what Joannes interests are not only from a professional but also personal standpoint.
BlueChief Tip: Show people the whole person and not just the academic side.
John Breslin – Harness text, images but also videos
John Breslin is a senior engineering lecturer at NUI Galway and one of the things that struck me with his social profiles was how he utilised all the features available to tell people a story by words, images and video. His Twitter profile is a nice mix of content on technology but also news on the Galway Startup scene. His visit to Tokyo showsed how he used Twitter to catalogue his journey. From places he has visited to funny things he has seen (like Japanese Taytos) it helps add that personal touch. At the same time in the run up to heading over John also put up Tokyo related tweets, its a smart idea and can help create buzz from followers. When it comes to LinkedIn John has harnessed:
- Text through LinkedIn Posts about the Galway startup scene and tech related news
- Image through the use of Slideshare
- Video through the use of YouTube
It is his use of video in particular that I found interesting as if you go on this YouTube page you can watch videos of a lecture series he did. It is the use of all these mediums that stood out to me and how by harnessing them John is able to get across his message but also show his knowledge of the engineering field.
BlueChief Tip: Put your lectures to video where possible.
Alastair Arnott – Using Twitter for Live Events
Alastair Arnott is a lecturer in the Institute of Education at the University of Wolverhampton. Twitter is what he is most active on and he blends his content between Tweets on the academic side of things, current affairs topics that he has an interest in and events he attends. The live events is what stood out to me. Whether its a lecture of a talk he is giving or attending Alastair interacts with those attending as well as tweeting out his own content.
— Deb Hepplestone (@DebHepplestone) June 14, 2015
As I have said before when it comes to events Twitter is the perfect tool to harness. The real time aspect allows followers to feel like they are there and part of the conversation.
BlueChief Tip: Interact with attendees at lectures and talks.
Bernie Goldbach – Harnessing the Power of Audio
Bernie Goldbach is a creative multimedia lecturer at the Limerick School of Art and Design. His social media portfolio is mainly
- Facebook – Bernie harness the power of one of the most powerful tools to emerge in recent months Facebook Video, this has change the way people use Facebook as they merely have to scroll down the newsfeed and merely stop on a post. Bernie mixes up his videos between humour, family and events the attends. This helps to show a more rounded and personal side.
- LinkedIn – As with the other examples Bernie has harnessed Slideshare but he has also used LinkedIns publishing platform to that he focuses on events and places he has been and tailors a business related story/theme around it.
- Twitter – Of the Tweets sent out by Bernie what I find most interesting is the audio blogs. Podcasts have become more and more popular in recent times (I religiously listen to a few each week that vary from marketing to sports to movie podcasts). With the spread of wireless networks and the wider use of phones audio blogs are a great tool to harness as people can listen to them where ever they are. Bernies audios vary from life around the home to his views on industry topics and as with Facebook this helps to create a more rounded picture of the person.
BlueChief Tip: Harness the power of audio
Dean Burnett – Making a complex topic simple to Understand
Dean Burnett is a course tutor in the Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences in the University of Cardiff, he also writes for The Guardian. When it comes to social media Deans primary focus is Twitter. Now Neuroscience doesn’t sound like the easiest topic to discuss but Deans Twitter feed is a nice mix of some neuroscience related tweets as well as personal views and well just humorous observations.
The one thing I would take away is that regardless of the subject you teach where it’s a business subject or brain surgery you can harness social media to spread the word and as a result the interest of your school of thought.
BlueChief Tip: Tailor your feed to your chosen field, but add personality to it
Marianne Williamson – Harnessing the Power of Videos and Livestreaming
Marianne is lecturer in spirituality and is also an international best-selling author. What stood out for me when looking at her social media portfolio her use of video and live streaming. The four key networks are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram (interestingly she doesn’t use LinkedIn). Throughout all 4 she harnesses video and in particular links to her live streaming events.
Live streaming has become THE topic of the moment in social media and the rise of Periscope and Meerkat illustrates that there has never been a better time to use this tool for both lectures but also for conferences and events that lecturers attend
BlueChief Tip: Livestreamng can be a great tool to harness for lectures and events
Top channels for lecturers to use
As you can see there are a wide variety of channels that lecturers can use online. After much talking and arguing the team at BlueChief decided that the top 3 channels lecturers can use are:
- LinkedIn – For the reason that it is the professional social network that can help develop your image as a knowledge leader in your chosen field.
- Slideshare – This tool is often overlooked, but is so useful. You can create a place online for all your slides and share them with not only students but also other lecturers and people. The other indirect benefit is that if you’re emailing someone and want to send a presentation as well instead of attaching them to the email (and using up big space) all you have to do is add a link to the Slideshare page.
- Twitter – All of the lecturers highlighted use Twitter, it is the best tool for live events and real-time updates and it is also a great way to connect with people quickly.
Social Media is as important for Lecturers as Students
While students are told to get on LinkedIn it is also important for lecturers to get online and to develop their reputation as an expert in their field. Through the examples shown and how they have harnessed the various networks and tools there are a wide number of ways a lecturer can start off on the right track. If you have any questions or want to find out what BlueChief can do for you then check out our services page. You can also follow us on Twitter.