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Digital and Social Media Tools

Your Digital Footprint

We all have a variety of different networks, for personal and work use.

  • Why is it important to build your network and profile?
  • What is the impact?
  • How can you control your digital footprint?

If you blog, use Twitter, Linkedin or any other social networks, you can develop and control the information which is available about you.

Try searching for your name on Google. Do you have a presence there and if so, what contributes to it? 

You may use Facebook for your personal use, sharing photos etc with family and friends, so why not develop your professional online presence in the same way?

In this guide we highlight some of the key tools you can use to develop your online presence.

Social Media Tools

Social media can be used to help you to create an online profile or to highlight your skills or research interests. 

You should distinguish between your personal profile (eg. on Facebook) and your professional image (eg. on Twitter, LinkedIn, a blog). Social media can also be used as a job searching tool as jobs are often advertised on social media sites such as Twitter.

See also A student guide to social media



is the world's largest professional network. It allows you to:

  • create a network of colleagues and professionals in your field from whom you can seek advice
  • stay in contact with past and present colleagues>
  • discover inside connections when you're looking for a job>
  • recommend and endorse others
  • receive recommendations from colleagues
  • list your skills and experience
  • join groups and participate in discussions.



is a real-time network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting. Simply find the accounts you find most compelling and follow. Information can be very immediate and you can see what is 'trending' before it hits the main news. Each Tweet is 140 characters long,  you can see photos, videos and conversations directly in Tweets to get the whole story at a glance, and all in one place. You don’t have to tweet to get value from Twitter. If you do choose to tweet, then you can use this to build your networks, follow useful organisations or colleagues, develop your online presence and job hunt.



Writing a blog can be a useful way to express your own opinions, promote your skills or research and practice writing for particular audience.

Blogs are also a valuable way to stay up to date with developments in your field of study or research. You can follow other students' or research blogs and see their new postings. Some blogs are interactive and allow comments and discussion. City Blogs is a service for staff and students to create content about learning, teaching and research activities at City, University of London. Or there are many free ones available such as:





Researcher Academic Networking Sites

You may wish to create an account on some of the sites below as these often allow you to promote your research and potentially extend your impact and reach as a researcher. is a social networking website which has over 8 million registered users as of 2014 and over 2 million papers listed. Its mission is to 'accelerate the world's research'.  It was launched in 2008 and can be used to promote your research papers, share them and monitor their use.  You can also network on this site by finding and collaborating with other academics and researcher working in the same areas as you.

 ResearchGate is another social networking site also founded in 2008.  It was founded for scientists (members are encouraged to share raw data and failed experiments, as well as successes) but now includes researchers working in all disciplines. It has just over two million members.