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Succeeding in postgraduate study
Succeeding in postgraduate study

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1.5 Social networking

Businesses and professional organisations are increasingly using Facebook, LinkedIn and Skype to connect with people. Facebook [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] can be set up to allow comments to be added (to your ‘wall’). You can load photos, add favourite links, chat online and update your status to let your contacts know what you are doing. LinkedIn provides a similar service and is useful for contacting and keeping in touch with work colleagues and building a professional network. Skype is freely downloadable software that enables phone and video calls, web conferencing, screen sharing and online chat. Often used for families and friends to keep in touch around the world, Skype is also used by businesses and professionals for communicating (sharing desktops, websites, and files) and for conference calls. Some people have concerns about privacy on social networking sites; there are settings that allow different levels of privacy, but generally speaking it is wise to be discreet about your personal information.

Activity 3 Comparing social media

Timing: Allow approximately 20 minutes

Use the questions from Box 3 to compare two or three different social media tools, and evaluate their usefulness and relevance for research: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, Diigo.

  • Which social media tool did you feel gave you the best result for your search?
  • Which one(s) did you prefer and why?
  • Reflecting back on the session so far, think about some of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media tools for your academic or professional work.
  • Which tools will you be using in the future?