Crafting Your Digital Scholarly Presence

One of the values that we hold at a land grant
university like Michigan State is to make knowledge public. As scholars we want our
research to be read, we want our ideas to have an impact on the wider world. As we think
about how to build community around the work that we’re doing it’s important for us to
be intentional about the presence that we have online. I have a WordPress blog, and
that really is the hub of my academic life. People can go to one place to find out all
of the work that I’m doing. One reason I do it is because it’s fun—it’s part of my own
process of making meaning out of my life. It’s really one space that allows me to think
reflectively and in public about my work as an administrator and as a scholar. We’ve been working with our faculty and with
our graduate students to find ways to build community around their work by using digital
tools. Through Reclaim Hosting we’re able to offer all of our graduate students and
all of our faculty space to create an online presence. Faculty can decide on a domain name,
a brand for their own work, a presence for their scholarship. Students can do the same,
so that their work really is broadly accessible. Publishers are looking at your online presence.
They’re thinking about that when they decide whether to offer you a book contract. I’ve
had publishers, they’ve wanted to know how many Twitter followers I had, they wanted
to know how many friends on Facebook I had. This is the public face of your work, and
we need to be thinking strategically about how our work is presented and received. We think that that’s going to be good for
our students in terms of placement. But we also know that it will be good for our faculty
in terms of the number of citations we see of their work and the broader impact that
it has.

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