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Research Impact Challenge

This guide contains 10 activities for researchers to better understand and manage their online scholarly presence, as well as the impact and reach of their research.

Day 4: Social Media Audit

Welcome to Day 4 of the U-M Library Research Impact Challenge!

Earlier this week, you registered your ORCID, claimed your Google Scholar Profile, and explored a digital repository. Perhaps you’re beginning to notice the way that scholarly identities proliferate across many websites, applications, and profiles. It can easily become overwhelming!

Today’s challenge asks you to reflect on your use of social media, to consider how these tools pertain (or don’t!) to your professional/scholarly identity, and to make some thoughtful decisions about where to focus your time and effort in the coming year. 

Let’s get started!

Here's how to do it: 

1. First, use this worksheet to take an inventory of the social media platforms you use, noting especially those that have a connection of some kind to your scholarly identity. You may print the worksheet to fill it out by hand, or go to File -> Make a copy to create a copy of the worksheet that you can edit and add to your own Google Drive space.

2. After filling out the table, take 10 minutes or so to reflect on the questions at the bottom of the audit, and sketch out your priorities for this year.


There are no right or wrong answers in this exercise! The audit is not a to-do list, and the goal of this activity is not to encourage you to create a presence on all of these sites. Rather, today’s goal is to take stock of where you already are, and to spend some time thinking carefully about where you want to focus your attention and efforts going forward.  

Social media use may be more practical and useful in some disciplines than others. It can enable powerful connections with new colleagues and provide a platform to communicate about your work to the world. At the same time, there are risks, including harrassment, abuse, even job security. People of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, contingent faculty, people working on controversial scholarship, and other vulnerable groups are disproportionately likely to be exposed to these.

The decision to engage on social media is always a personal as well as a professional one, and the stakes are not the same for everyone. Only you can decide the most meaningful and productive ways to engage with these tools for yourself. Be sure to keep self-care—and care for your colleagues—in mind as you decide where to put your time and energy and how to share your work with the world. 

What next? 

  • Make some decisions for yourself about where you want to invest time and energy in your scholarly identity on social media this year.
  • Some advice from others who have been there:
  • Ready to talk about your scholarship online? Take a look at these Tips and Tricks from Altmetric (also a sneak preview at alternative metrics, which we'll dig into in Week 2).
  • Are you experiencing harassment or abuse on social media? Check out the Crash Override Network for resources and support. 

  • How well do you understand the rights that you’ve granted to the sites, platforms, and apps that you use? Check out Terms of Service; Didn’t Read, a tool created by a “user rights initiative” that evaluates Terms of Services and assigns them grades based on how organizations describe their use of data, privacy policy, and tracking.

Learn more: 

Preparing for the next challenge: 

Congratulations! You’ve completed Day 4 of the Research Impact Challenge, taking an inventory of your current social media engagement and reflecting on how you’d like to use these tools to your best advantage going forward.

Tomorrow, on Day 5, we’ll address how to bring together all of this week’s activities on your personal web page. See you then!