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Office of Faculty Excellence

Promoting Scholarly Activities Online: A Quick Guide

The Office of Faculty Excellence (OFE) supports UNF faculty in their teaching, scholarship/creative work, and service. In this brief, you will observe the benefits and drawbacks of promoting scholarly activities using online platforms; discover the range of avenues available for promoting your work; and learn how to develop a social media strategy.

I. The Pros and Cons of Promoting Your Work Online

Faculty utilize technology for reasons related to career advancement, the spread of scientific knowledge, and public impact. Importantly, scholars can now leverage online platforms to reach much wider audiences than was ever possible before (and in real-time). This development has also led to the emergence of noise and misinformation, presenting new challenges for researchers looking to share the findings of their work in an increasingly crowded information space. In general, there are positive and negative consequences associated with expanding your online presence, some of which are listed below.


  • Share knowledge with different audiences
  • Gain real-time feedback from experts
  • Inform public discourse
  • Improve research access and equity
  • Foster collaborations with other scholars
  • Generate new opportunities
  • Promote your institution and affiliations
  • Influence policy


  • Open yourself, your career, and your institution up to criticism
  • Alienate members of the public or your profession
  • Soaks up your precious time and energy
  • Doesn’t meaningfully contribute to your career or not considered relevant for tenure and promotion
  • How can online platforms help?
    As suggested above, web-based tools and applications can assist scholars in achieving their goals in several ways. They enable researchers to expand the reach of their output and activities, identify and connect with key audiences, build community and/or a personal following, and promote scholarly activities more efficiently.
  • What does it involve?
    Building an online presence and using various websites for academic purposes require additional effort beyond one’s usual research, teaching, and service obligations, but they can yield substantial rewards for those looking to amplify their work and enhance their status in scholarly circles or among the broader public. Typically, such efforts involve creating or updating accounts, developing content, curating content, managing communities, analyzing data, maintaining records, and experimenting and evolving.

II. Get to Know the Online Academic Ecosystem

Most online interactive academic activity will occur on social media platforms and research repositories, although other types of websites and programs may also play a role in communication and dissemination. Together, these resources comprise an “online academic ecosystem” (see Figure below). Here we will discuss two of arguably the most useful categories of online tools.

The Online Academic Ecosystem

  • Social Media Platforms

    Social media refers to a wide variety of web-based applications that connect users and allow them to share textual, digital, and visual information. Using any one of them typically involves setting up an account, linking up with current and new contacts, posting to the platform, and engaging with others. Each social media application has its own audience and type of media that it prioritizes. The visibility of your posts is determined by a unique algorithm, how others engage with it, and your privacy settings. Below you will find an indicative list of social media platforms with some basic information about them (click links to access).

    Name Description
    Facebook Mostly personal updates with text/images, general audience of “friends”
    Twitter Primarily text-based micro-blogging, used by many academics
    Instagram Primarily photos and videos, younger audience
    Snapchat Similar to Instagram except videos expire, younger audience
    TikTok Short, dynamic videos (often with viral themes), younger audience
    LinkedIn Business-focused site for professional networking, industry audience
    Others: Post, Mastodon Primarily text-based micro-blogging alternatives to Twitter that market themselves as more hospitable to civil discourse and diverse audiences
  • Tips for Using Social Media
    • Create a positive feedback loop with posts, interactions, and follows
    • For non-video-based platforms, include images and (shortened) links to websites of interest
    • Consider the platform and what kinds of media it showcases
    • Use hashtags and/or tag others to drive their attention towards your posts
    • Strive for personal brand consistency across platforms
    • Vary your content (i.e. rule of thirds—1/3 that promotes you, 1/3 that shares ideas from others, and 1/3 that engages with your audience)
    • Think before you post! Even if you don’t list UNF in your bio, you are associated with your employer (or people will find out your employer and may contact the university if they don’t like your online behavior)
  • Research Repositories

    Online research repositories democratize access to published and unpublished work. These websites serve as public-facing crowdsourced libraries where anyone can find academic scholarship. You can post basic information about your work, upload a draft version of a paper, or make available the final published version of scholarly output (depending on the intellectual property rights held by the publisher). Some repositories operate more like static folders for depositing and sharing research, whereas others function more like social media platforms because they include mechanisms for engagement (i.e. likes, recommendations, messaging, etc.). Below you will find an indicative list of several research repositories with some basic information about them (click links to access).

    Name Description
    ResearchGate Dynamic, social media-like site for all disciplines that includes metrics Dynamic, social media-like site for all disciplines that includes metrics and a premium version with additional features
    arXiv No-frills site mainly for posting pre-prints from STEM fields
    SSRN No-frills site mainly for uploading draft papers from an increasingly wide array of disciplines and organizes submissions into e-journals
  • Tips for Using Research Repositories
    • Add all your research (but be aware of copyright policies)
    • Engage with other scholars and their works
    • Check your cites/analytics on a regular basis
    • Update when appropriate (i.e. new publication, new working paper, etc.)
    • Promote across platforms
    • Pay it forward! Like, share, and recommend the work of other scholars

III. Developing a Social Media Strategy

Promoting your work online, especially when starting from scratch, can be daunting and time consuming. However, by developing a social media strategy you can implement an approach that meets your individual needs and ability to devote time and energy to this aspect of your career. To begin, generate answers to the questions below. Your responses will serve as the framework for your strategy.

  • What is your academic niche?
  • Who is/are your audience(s)?
  • What is/are your objective(s)?
  • How will you measure progress?
  • Which platform(s) will you use?
  • What content will you share?
  • How often will you post?
  • How will you innovate and iterate?

Using your responses to the above questions, formalize your strategy through the following steps. You may want to save this information in a document, spreadsheet, or paper planner.

  1. Set specific goals (i.e. increase followers, generate opportunities, increase citations, etc.)
  2. Identify your audience and explain how you plan to reach it
  3. Set up accounts and/or revise existing profiles
  4. Create a social media calendar (i.e. specific days/times when you will post)
  5. Choose metrics (i.e. likes, shares, retweets, number of followers, etc.)
  6. Post content and engage with others
  7. Conduct a social media audit (i.e. look at what works and what doesn’t and revise your strategy accordingly)

Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect dramatic results immediately! But by creating a strategy, evaluating your performance, experimenting with new platforms and techniques, and executing your strategy consistently, you can establish a meaningful online presence that helps you achieve your personal and professional goals.

IV. Additional Resources

Daniel Cabrera et al., “More than Likes and Tweets: Creating Social Media Portfolios for Academic Promotion and Tenure”

Devon Cantwell, Elizabeth Meehan, and Rosalie Rubio, “Dealing with the Digital Mob”

Aurora Denial, “The Use of Social Media to Enhance Academic Careers”

Berenika Teter, “Social Media Strategy: Make the Most of a Social Media Plan”

OFE Webinar

In this webinar, Dr. Josh Gellers discusses the benefits and drawbacks of using online tools to promote scholarly activities, explores a range of social media platforms and research repositories used by academics, and offers suggestions as to how faculty and staff can leverage these resources to maximize their impact and generate new opportunities.


We appreciate any notes or feedback you would like to share. The resources and links above are non-exhaustive, and we continue to develop more materials. If you have questions or suggestions, please reach out to Dr. Josh Gellers or Dr. Juliana Leding.

faculty fellow Josh GellersJosh Gellers

Fellow | Promoting Scholarly Activities 
Professor of Political Science and Public Administration