Professor Steven Fielding opened the conference with a discussion on the general merits of dissemination, giving some practical examples from his own work. He argued that academia has entered a new era. While excellent research was still the foundation of any academic career, the ability to disseminate this research was becoming increasingly important with impact now accounting for 20% of the REF score.

The first social media that Fielding discussed was blogging. He commented on the relative ease of starting a blog, but highlighted the importance of thinking about what exactly you wanted to achieve. Fielding highlighted that it was good to think about how your own work links with contemporary events, and what ‘value’ you are adding to the existing story. He also argued that it was vital to consider the audience. Fielding showed examples of how, using the Guardian comment is free section, he had contributed to a contemporary news story using his own research. Fielding then talked about Ballots and Bullets, Nottingham University’s School of Politics and IR blog. This blog emanated from an earlier example, which dealt exclusively with the 2010 general election. Fielding articulated the two uses of the new blog: providing a platform for academic staff and PGR students to demonstrate how their own research was relevant to current political debate; and disseminating new research, published in the form of books and articles, to a larger audience.

Fielding also explained how Twitter could work to promote blog posts. He argued that it was pointless writing a blog without being on twitter, as the limited character platform allowed the promotion of blog posts to a large audience. The combination of blogs and twitter can also create a seamless web to promote your work, and generate an audience to follow it. Fielding finished his keynote with a brief discussion of disseminating work through broadcasting. Although much older than new media, he argued that pitching for the BBC was much the same as writing blogs. For both, you needed to condense a lot of information into limited space, and consider the generality of your audience.

Chris Burgess


Watch this space

Reports from the event are coming soon . . .

YouTube launch!

New Media and Academia is now on YouTube! Visit www.youtube.com/newmediaacademia to have a look at the videos made by our brave first volunteers. Do you think you can summarise some aspect of your research in a few minutes? Get in touch about submitting your own video!

Paul Munden, director of NAWE (National Association of Writers in Education) and a founding member of Lithouses, will join Ross Macfarlane (Wellcome Library), John Coburn and Alex Henry (both Tyne and Wear Museums) in our roundtable session. There are a few places remaining so register soon.

New Media and Academia Provisional Programme

Registration now open!

Registration Form

Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis as they are so limited… good luck!

The arts and humanities liason team at Newcastle University Library have created a brilliant new resource to help academic researchers learn more about using social media in all stages of the research process.