A picture of a computer showing the backend of personal websites.

Why Make an Academic Social Network Profile (and a Website)?

Reality check: if I am not automatically notified of your research, I’ll almost certainly never know about it. And if I can’t find you online, you might as well not exist beyond your classroom, office, or lab. So if you’re an academic who wants people to actually read your work or even know that you exist, then read the following 300 words. They explain how to make your research followable and visible. It’s really, really easy. Don’t believe me? Check out the two videos to watch me do it in less than 15 minutes. So stop making excuses. In the words of the great scholar, Shia Lebouf:

1.  Academic Social Networks

There are lots of reasons why researchers will want to use academic social networks (ASNs). For instance, papers on these platforms are more likely to be cited. Why? It all comes down to making our research visible, accessible, and followable. I explain in the slides below:

Many Academic Social Networks

There are many academic social networks out there. Here is a preliminary list.

  • Mendeley
  • Academia.edu
  • ResearchGate
  • Google Scholar
  • Specialist academic social networks (e.g., PhilPapers, PhilPeople)

The Winner: Google Scholar

As the slideshow indicates, the easiest and highest impact way to have an online presence is to have a Google Scholar profile. You can make one in less than 3 minutes with the video below. And then all of your followers will automatically be notified about your new publications.

2.  Personal Websites

If I need to find out the latest about what you research, where do I go? Hint: not that university webpage you have little control over because someone else updates it. And not Facebook—we’re colleagues; not friends. LinkedIn? Please! Personal websites are the easiest way (for everyone) to share and access up-to-date professional information.

You can make a personal website in just 9 minutes by following the video below.

No coding necessary!

Just drag, drop, point, click, and type! Super easy! And it’s free! All you need is a computer, a Google account (e.g., Gmail), and either Google Chrome or Firefox. #JustDoIt


If you’ve got questions, feel free to contact me. I usually get back to people within a business day. But if you want an immediate answer on the website portion of your journey, check out Google’s help page. Happy website making and academic social networking! And, of course, feel free to share this with people who might be interested.

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Nick Byrd

Nick is a cognitive scientist at Florida State University studying reasoning, wellbeing, and willpower. Check out his blog at byrdnick.com/blog

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