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I love it when you talk about me… November 4, 2013

Posted by mareserinitatis in research.
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This past week, I was introduced to Altmetric.  While I didn’t spend a great deal of time investigating it, it appears to be some sort of Klout-type ranking geared at research papers that show up in social media.

I have to admit that I was interested until I found out you have to pay for it.  I’m as narcissistic as the next person, but to pay someone to do what Google does for free seems a bit…extreme?  Perhaps it’s just me, but about a year and a half ago, I had to keep track of links from a press release on my work.  The only reason I bothered is because the university needed the information…and I admit it was fun, and a bit surprising, to see where the links ended up.

I honestly am not sure I see the point in ranking how well my research does in social media relative to other papers, especially in comparison to fields outside of my own.  I like when people read about my research, but it’s more important to me that this particular topic was recognized by peers as something interesting and resulted in an invited talk.  The fact that other people were interested was nice for the recognition it provided the university…and I admit I enjoyed sharing a couple of the links with friends and family.

It became clear to me after that, however, that there is only so much bang for your buck when it comes to research ending up on social media.  As far as I know, many of my colleagues on campus have no idea that I had to deal with a media blitz.  Most of them probably don’t even know I have a patent filed on my thingamajig…if they know there is such a thing as a thingamajig.  It also resulted in spending a lot of time fielding questions from people who don’t understand that universities don’t market finished products.  The amount of time spent educating people on that point is really disturbing, when I think of the other things I could’ve been accomplishing.  (Don’t worry…I wasn’t rude.)

I came to the conclusion that while it’s a bit fun having your work featured in social media, I’m not sure how useful it is professionally.  (I’m willing to admit that I may be wrong on this point as it may be the reason some of the people in the field recognized my work to begin with.)  Because of that, I’m not sure that paying for a service to track it is really worth the money.

Beyond that, where does one use the time once spent on googling oneself if paying for someone else to do it?

Anyway, go ahead internets…prove me wrong.

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