Introduction to networking

Research is often understood as a process in which some kind of sampling of the social world is conducted and this is interpreted in terms of a particular theory or framework. But research, like all knowledge production is intensely social:

  • it is done with other people,
  • it is done aware of what other people are doing and,
  • it is done with an awareness of what other people have done.

This means that getting to know the other folk who are working in similar or related areas is important.

Recently, the role of various forms of what is called social software has enabled people to locate and connect with others who have similar interests. The media called social offer various and sometimes different ways of making useful connections. The one characteristic they all have is that they continually change. Some may disappear. Some may be gobbled1 by the larger players of social media. The important thing to remember is that while it is fine to think of these developments as simply more efficient ways of networking, it is more important to pay attention to what is different. This is not simply digital networking. These are new ways of doing academic work.

Being an academic these days means being able to make good decisions about how to engage, or dance with the digital.

The suggestions here are but a small sample of the kinds of thing you can do that will help you connect with others with similar research interests2.

The suggestions in this menu are just that, suggestions. You can always give them a try and if one or all of them don't work for you, you have learned a little about them.

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