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Best Practices for Academics on Facebook

Best Practices for Academics on Facebook

When you decide to use Facebook as part of your professional, academic life there are some additional best practices to keep in mind in addition to the more generally accepted ones. But what are they?

Thinking about best practices for Facebook turned out to be a bit of a conundrum. There are many things I've mentioned before in posts about best practices here on The Connected Leiden Researcher and it would seem somewhat redundant to mention them again. Yet when searching the internet for other people's best practices, those elements are repeated over and over. To think before you post, to use your common sense, to be kind and courteous, and to be authentic.

Academic practices

Yet when you decide to use Facebook as part of your professional, academic life there are some additional things you'll have to keep in mind to be sure to keep the public and the private parts of your life separate. And to make sure you can do so without having to think too much about it. With that in mind, these are some of the best practices for academics on Facebook.

Define your boundaries

Decide upon your boundaries early on. Who will you friend and who won't you friend? Do you draw a hard line between personal and professional contacts? Do you draw the line at your peers, thus friending colleagues, but not friending students? If you define your boundaries beforehand, it will make it easier to decide which friend requests to accept and which to ignore once your profile is active. Additionally, you can also choose to keep your timeline and wall for personal activities and only engage in professional activities in groups and on pages.

Master Privacy Settings

Whether you want to keep a porous membrane between your personal and professional life or a solid brick wall, the best way to achieve this is by setting up your privacy settings wisely. I explained about the ways to do this in last week's post.

Decide Your Intended Audience

The type of audience you want to reach will also influence which type of platform - your personal wall, a page, or a group - within Facebook you'll want to use to reach it. It will also determine the tone of your updates. If you're aiming at reaching the more general public you'll have use a different tone and register than if you're aiming at communicating with your peers. While you can mix it up a bit, consistency is important so deciding on a single audience would probably get the best results.

Present Your Content Wisely

Try to post regularly and well-timed, by discovering when your audience is online. And to maximize interaction, think visually. Post photos or videos, as they tend to grab more attention than just a simple link or status update. And when sharing a link don't forget to check whether you want to edit the small preview text into something more captivating and maybe change the preview image as well.

Further reading

Here are some links to other best practices: