Best Practices

5 Simple Ways for Faculty to Engage Online & Boost their Department’s Digital Presence

Digital and social media platforms provide new and exciting opportunities for scholars to network, collaborate, and share their work. For academic departments, they’re also great ways to give an inside view and attract new applicants. Yet, a department’s social media work, in many ways, is only as good as that of its faculty and students. A truly thriving departmental social media profile depends on interacting with faculty and students via their own digital platforms. I want to share five simple ways that faculty, in particular, can help themselves and their department shine. Pick one or two to get started!

If you want a more hands-on introduction to some of these strategies, join us on February 28, 6:30-8:30pm, for a workshop on “Developing a Scholarly Profile with Social Media”.

1. Google Scholar profile

For a scholar building a bibliography, or a prospective student researching faculty members, Google Scholar may be the first place they go for more information about you after perusing the department’s website. By claiming your Google Scholar profile, you can identify all your publications, link them to your profile, and keep track of how others are citing your work. Overall, it helps prospective students and anyone else find you and your work.

2. CUNY Academic Commons profile

The CUNY Academic Commons is our in-house WordPress blog platform for students, staff, and faculty to use for personal scholarly work or class projects. If you don’t want to create a personal blog (although it’s not a bad idea!), a smaller project would be to register on the Commons and create a profile that lists basic information and provides contact information and links to any other platforms you use. In Matt Gold’s profile below, he has linked to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, ORCID, and his personal website. Even if you don’t have many other platforms, establishing your Commons profile is a good step towards raising your online visibility.

3. CUNY Academic Works

CUNY Academic Works is a compelling alternative to for storing digital versions of your research and making them accessible to all. Like the benefits of claiming your Google Scholar profile, uploading your work on CUNY Academic Works makes it more discoverable by search engines and it is given a persistent URL to ensure long-term access. PLUS, as a project of the CUNY Libraries, it differs from a for-profit site like in that it will never sell your data or ask you to upgrade to the premium version. For copyright questions, you can turn to a search engine called Sherpa/Romeo (see example below) to figure out which version of your publication the publisher will allow you to distribute freely (e.g. pre-print, post-print, publisher’s version, etc.).

4. ORCID iD (Open Researcher and Contributor ID)

Claiming your ORCID iD is another easy way to control the information linked to your digital scholarly identity. Taking the 30 seconds it takes to sign up for this persistent identifier allows you to eliminate any ambiguity with other people with the same or similar names and streamline how your work links to you. Find out more about ORCID here.

5. Facebook Page or Twitter Account

Finally, if you want to go beyond simply controlling what’s already out there and want to engage with different public audiences or produce more content, consider starting a Facebook Page or Twitter account. The Facebook Page is different from a Facebook Profile; it allows you to present yourself as a scholar and, again, be more findable via google searches. You have to have a Personal Profile to create a Page, but whereas the Personal Profile is more private, the Page is public-facing. See the example of Anthropology Professor Bianca Williams’s page below.

Twitter accounts can also help you engage with a variety of audiences. As in the example below, having a Twitter account allows your departmental page to tag you and funnel attention to your work.


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