Social Media and Research Administration (Part II)

Last Monday, we began our Social Media Monday series by recounting our early thought processes and exploring our efforts regarding the blog you currently peruse.  Today, we’ll continue by focusing on two more SocMed platforms that comprise our internet footprint.



 Our actions notwithstanding, Facebook should be everyone’s first step in Social Media. It’s straight forward, requires very few steps and is about as idiot proof as it gets. Plus, pretty much everyone and their third cousin already have an account, so you know that you already have a built-in audience at your disposal.  What makes Facebook the ideal SocMed starter is that the only content you only really need to “create” is compiling a list of links to articles that are relevant to a particular research topic.  Consequently, if you are able to surf the web, you are able to locate links and other material to regularly post to your page.

Of course, someone has to actually administer your Facebook page, which, to be effective, requires regular attention.  What we did is probably slightly frowned upon in the Facebook world, as, rather than selecting an ORA colleague to do so, we created a dummy admin account for Sheldon and then used that account to be the administrator for JHSPH Office of Research Administration.

To date, we have used Facebook as a major platform for our Social Media expansion.  We provide links to all of our blog entries, for the benefit of those who don’t go there directly, as well as announce any revised grant deadlines or similar pressing information.  Additionally, we’ll also publicize items that are specific to JHSPH, such as the recent launch of our new Subawards Checklist.  As compared to our blog, which covers general Research Admin issues as well as JHSPH-directed topics, much of the new material posted on our Facebook page is related to school activities.  That all being said, all information dispersed by our office can, in one form or another, be found from our page, and there has been a marked uptick in both “Likes” and pageviews as we’ve structured our page more to our liking.



Tweeting is the most complicated yet simple thing you will ever do. We don’t say this because we want you to be afraid of Twitter.  Rather, we say this because, if you are a bad Tweeter, everyone knows as such and judges you for it.  Just like bad advertising, bad Tweeting can have adverse effects and actually affect your recognition within your professional community.  Selecting the best hashtags, retweeting the best bits from other accounts and increasing your visibility are all difficult activities, and, unfortunately, with respect to the latter, there are few ways to properly measure your footprint outside of who happens to be following your account.

Until recently, Twitter had received somewhat less of our attention than our blog and Facebook page, due largely to us wanting to ensure we did things “just right.”  Compared to Facebook and our blog, maintaining a worthwhile Twitter account requires almost constant attention, be it for posting relevant news articles, retweeting relevant information or posting original content.  However, with our other platforms at a relatively stable point, we have been able to focus more on our Tweets, and, perhaps not surprisingly, that has lead to increased traffic and visibility.

Overall, Twitter has been a good means to provide more focus on our blog posts and our deadlines here in JHSPH.  Additionally, it has allowed us to connect with Research Administration offices throughout the country, as well as public and private sponsors with whom we work on a regular basis.  On a long-term basis, we hope to fully utilize Twitter to its potential so as to give us another foothold on a Social Media platform.