How do you make a name for yourself? — R Voice

How do you make a name for yourself?

Shruti Turner
Shruti Turner Member Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭

I hear all the time that the way to get your name "out there" in research is to publish, publish, publish. That's all well and good in theory, but a) publishing takes a long time for reasons we can't control b) there are so many other things too!

As an Early Career Researcher (ECR), I think sometimes it can be easy to feel a bit like we're drifting..there isn't the end goal of the thesis and defence and security is short-lived with small contracts/grants. Maybe this is also something felt by more senior researchers too? (I don't know..I'm not there yet!)

People often say generic things like "network" or "present" etc. but, how is an important step that is missed in some cases. Are there better places to network? How do you get asked to present/guest talk etc?

What has worked for you to get your name out there, besides getting published? What have you been recommended that actually hasn't really worked for you?

Comments

  • chris leonard
    chris leonard Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 138 admin

    One thing that has changed since I was in academia (I left in 1997) is that it feels easier to make a name for yourself in the internet age. I've seen many people on TikTok, YouTube, Twitch all explaining their research and why it's important - in very accessible terms. Whether that translates into academic kudos is a different matter, but they've certainly made a name for themselves.

    Twitter allows you curate lists of academics in your field and chip in with comments - or even tag them if you're feeling brave. Again, not academic kudos - but will get you seen by some people (who are on twitter).

    Conferences/posters/presentations are the traditional way of doing this, but haven't really happened much IRL for the last few years. When you do a talk at a conference, it is often video recorded and you can promote that recording via your networks.

    Become an organiser/coordinator of others: I've seen his work very well in other fields. If you're driven and believe in something, get others to join you and coordinate action/events. They might be willing to contribute/talk/attend - but not organise. If you do that - you become a hub for that community.

    I'm sure there are other ways too.

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 8

    Thanks @chris leonard for such a detailed comment. I like how you separate "making a name for yourself" generally and the specific academic kudos. The internet is a great way to get out there, I have to say I mainly stick to Twitter, and it has become so. much easier to make your own content. Is this something that is valued in the academic community?

    Do you feel that people will contribute to an event organised by someone not well known or would it come across like predatory journals..coming from people no one has heard of asking for time?

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭
  • chris leonard
    chris leonard Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 138 admin

    >>Do you feel that people will contribute to an event organised by someone not well known or would it come across like predatory journals..coming from people no one has heard of asking for time?

    I think the way to avoid this is to make sure you're well-known amongst some key people in this field (twitter interactions could be a way to do that) and then they will vouch for you if this query comes up. Or people can view your timeline or other web presence and see that you're really invested in this cause. But I'm just commenting on what I've seen others do - maybe there is more happening behind the scenes!

  • Adaora Anyichie - Odis
    Adaora Anyichie - Odis Member Posts: 97 ✭✭✭

    @Shruti Turner hardwork, integrity and visibility.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 513 admin
    edited September 9

    @Shruti Turner I'm not sure I'd be the best person to answer this question because I haven't really had to do this. But I'd like to offer an example of a scientist I've seen do a great job of promoting her work and just making science fun and talk about it in interesting, current formats. Not sure if you've heard of Dr. Raven the Science Maven. This is one of my favorite videos that she put out during the pandemic and there's a lot more where this came from

    I understand that not all of us (myself included) can be this creative, so I'd like to share an easier way. This is something I've personally tried on Twitter while trying to identify active folks in the Academic Mental Health space, increase my own visibility and simultaneously build my own network. The one mistake that people make is to try and go for the big ones i.e. the influencers. This generally takes a lot of time and it's unlikely that they'll notice you, given how many notifications they have to sift through on any given day. What I did was look out for influencers in the area I was interested in and then look more closely at the people who were following them and/or consuming the content they were putting out. They seemed more relatable and easier to connect with and it turned out that we had a ton in common! Maybe this could be a starting point for you on Twitter?

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks, @chris leonard - always great to hear your thoughts and advice. You've definitely got me thinking!

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭

    Ahh, @Andrea Hayward you have proven why you were a great person to tag in your comment itself, even if you haven't had to do this yourself!

    I have indeed seen Dr Raven the science Maven, but I always felt like that was a thing "other people" did. I can't come up with video ideas and then shoot them. I do not belong in front of the camera!! I so appreciate your advice under the embedded tweet. I have noticed you're expanding out into the field of Academic Mental Health, and so successfully. A lot of my feed is because you have responded to someone else and I get to see loads more. I guess I need to figure out how to engage with people, I know that sounds stupid, but I see tweets and I have no idea what to respond that's worthwhile. Maybe, I'm chasing the wrong things?! I'm going to have to go away and think consciously about this...

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 513 admin
    edited September 9

    @Shruti Turner Yay! Glad to know that I'm positively contributing to someone's Twitter feed. No matter how much time I spend on Twitter, I always end up feeling like I'm one comment from saying something wrong 😅

    "I see tweets and I have no idea what to respond that's worthwhile" - this isn't silly at all. I can fully relate and still feel this at times. I've found that even if it's a few appreciative words, it's enough to get you on people's radar. If your field doesn't necessarily have hashtags, how about starting with the folks posting the tweets that interest you. Instead of hitting like and moving on, I'd stop to explore who has liked it, if someone has commented, what they've said, and if someone's profile seems especially interesting, I dig further to see if they've tweeted anything through their own profiles that I might like or have a view on.

  • Shruti Turner
    Shruti Turner Member Posts: 318 ✭✭✭✭

    Your message has come at just the right time for me, @Andrea Hayward! Motivation is low right now and I've just come off some time doomscrolling through Twitter and there was nothing there that I felt I could comment on.

    I am definitely guilty of hitting like and then moving on when I feel I don't have anything to say! My field feels pretty niche so I feel like I'm already connected to the people in that "circle". One of my tips when trying to expand my network in a specific area is to do similar to you and explore who is tagged/commenting/liking those posts. Often it's the same group of people.

    One thing I'm also wary of is Twitter etiquette - is it acceptable to just start replying to people you don't know? I assume so as I see people do it, but it still feels like I'm walking up to a bunch of strangers trying to start talking. The exception to this is when I reply to questions retweeted by big accounts as the aim is to engage people far and wide.

    More and more, I admire the people who put in the time to dedicate to their social media presence and expand their network that way. It takes a lot of patience and grafting to really make it work for anyone who isn't known offline already!

    I think my learning point is to just get out there and do it! Worst case people don't reply to me and then I've lost nothing. Thank you for your personal coaching, @Andrea Hayward - I'm going to use these tips definitely.

  • Andrea Hayward
    Andrea Hayward Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 513 admin

    Happy to help @Shruti Turner! 😊

    I understand your concerns about Twitter etiquette and reaching out to folks who you don't know. I used to worry about this too. But I found that as long as I'm being positive and respectful and taking the time to celebrate others and add value to the conversation somehow (which in some cases, could just be telling someone that they're not alone or making them feel validated), it always ends well and I end up making a new connections. Sometimes, it's a one time interaction sure, but looking back at the many connections I've been able to make this way, I'd say it was worth all the time and effort :)

    You might also want to try posting a question yourself and then seeking a retweet from a big account. Might be easier if the people are coming to you 😃