In recent weeks, I have been busy presenting work related to my PhD. The first two of these presentations were as workshops designed to help others understand how to manage their online information. The second two presentations were sharing the findings from my empirical work as an academic poster and a conference paper. I think that Just Frances readers might enjoy some of the materials I sent, so I’ve decided to share a bit about it here.
My PhD is about the role of online information in the building, maintenance, and evaluation of personal reputations. There are two broad themes are being investigated: (1) how people evaluate the reputations of others and (2) how people manage their own reputations. The research is anchored in information science with a focus on everyday life information seeking. (A more detailed description can be found on my PhD blog here.)
In early May I spoke at the “Academics Online: Building your research profile in the digital age” workshop. The workshop was specifically designed for early career researchers. My talk, “Academics online: Alternative reputations”, was the first of the day. My talk provided an overview of how academic reputations are built—including the use of altmetrics, which are “alternative” metrics for measuring academic reputation. (Or at least measuring the impact that an academic’s research has, and impact helps to build reputation.) It was a one-hour presentation and prompted a really great discussion and Q&A session afterwards. (View the slides here.)
In early June, I delivered a half-day workshop on the same theme for the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Summer School. The workshop, “Building your academic reputation online”, was designed for PhD students at any stage of their studies. It was meant to (1) get students thinking about the impact of online information on their academic reputations and (2) provide students with a basic understanding of not only how to use social media to build and manage their reputations but also why they should. In hindsight, it would have been better as a full-day workshop which I will keep in mind the next time I’m asked to run a workshop! (View the slides here.)
On 21 June, I participated in my university’s summer research conference where I presented an academic poster. The poster addressed the first of my four research questions “How do individuals use information to build identities for themselves online?”. I had designed the poster to the A1 specs that we’d been given. However, the organisers decided to print them all on A0 instead which meant that my “perfect” balance of white space ended up looking very sparse. But the poster seemed well-received and sparked a lot of really good conversations. I also provided handouts with more information about my research because I always think it’s great to have a good artefact to take away! (View the full-size poster here. View the poster hand-outs here.)
The following week, I travelled to Aberdeen to attend a conference where I presented a full paper. My paper, “Blurred reputations: Managing professional and private information online”, represented a small portion of my PhD work. Rather than addressing a specific research question it shared findings related to one aspect of reputation: how private and professional lives blur online. I will be re-working the conference paper over the next few weeks to submit it as a journal article. If that gets accepted, I will be sure to share the good news here! (View the slides here.)
I have submitted an abstract for another academic poster which I should hear about later this month. I’m not holding my breath for it to be accepted as it’s a really hard conference to get into. However, if it’s accepted I’ll be travelling to America in the autumn for a few days. So again, I will share the good news here if that happens!
Other than the potential poster I just mentioned, I don’t have any more presentations lined up for the year. And that means that I have lots of time to work on my actual PhD thesis which I am still writing. But I hope to be submitting before the end of the year and (if all goes well) I will be Dr Ryan next summer. (Fingers crossed!)