Thursday, 28 February 2013

Social Media and Me!

The only social media means I used for three years (2004-2007) was Yahoo! Groups, where using yahoo email account, you can create a group and invite members to join and start exchanging ideas, news, and files. I started by being a member in some groups (i. e., funny ones, course-related ones). Then I became a moderator in a group which was basically talking about the need to have a profession syndicate for Software Engineers in Egypt. This one was the seed for the recent law (waiting for a Parliament decision) for establishing the Egyptian Software Engineers Syndicate. I was organizing the emails exchange, control memberships, sending announcements to avoid spam and irrelevant emails. After sometime, I joined many groups and I started to receive tones of emails, which made me leave some of them. When I discovered Facebook by invitation from a friend, I started to use it and even play on its application games, which keeps you playing for months and years!

Being in the UK, I use Facebook basically everyday to connect with my family and friends in Egypt. I added some of my students who are working now in different software companies worldwide. I don't think my Facebook account is representing my professional career, though I'm using my real details and added some profession history on the profile.

I built an account on LinkedIN to be connected with my career friends and the professionals in my field. It is really helpful to present your CV, work history, and all this can be supported by recommendations from others. Doing the PhD in computer science, I used it to connect to people I may not be able to meet at all. Researchers and other PhD students in the same area of research can accept your invitation immediately or through others introducing you to them. Though, I didn't use it to look for a job, yet. In LinkedIN, people can endorse your skills and expertise that they know you have, or they worked with you before and you showed that skill at that time. I have more than 250 connections and they are increasing!
I have already accounts on: Twitter (which I'm not very active using it), and ResearchGate (to follow research in my field of study). I do believe that having accounts on several network is  good in keeping the one updated with what is going around, however, it is really annoying to get the same ad or message (email) from the same contact in each network you use. This is really not a good thing and consumes, space, time and efforts too. I would like to have one professional network and one social network, so it will be one place to look for my career/research staff, and another one to play and communicate with friends and family in an informal way.

At the same time, you are not going to be guaranteed a job once you published your CV or connected to employers, it is just opening a new window on you that employers can use to learn more about who they are going to employ. It gives them the confidence that you can represent yourself as a professional (than others). It gives you the opportunity to express your ideas and reactions towards different parties in different situations that you may not be able to express publicly in the scene. Personally, I need more academic work to be added to my experience, as well as more research publications. These are perfect representatives for an academic like me. 

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