Reflections: Thing 23

All in all, I found the 23 Things very useful. It made me sit down and think about myself and how I want to be portrayed in a professional manner. I was introduced to new tools (*Research and Podcasts), learnt more about tools I already use (LinkedIn, ResearchGate,, Endnote, etc.) and tools that I wouldn’t have thought about using for research purposes (Twitter, Flickr and Pinterest). Some of these I will be using and others may come in handy later down the road.

After having a look around various professional websites, I will definitely be more mindful of keeping my professional websites up to date. Throughout this i have been using Flickr to find images. Although Flickr may not be particularly useful for specific images for my project, I will still use it for less specific images. I have enjoyed blogging throughout the 23 Things and will definitely be blogging in the future.

As a final note, I must say thanks to the University of Surrey Researcher Development Programme for running the 23 Things for Research. It has been a learning experience and I will take a lot away from it.

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Looking to the Future: Things 21 & 22

This week was all about looking to the future. We were introduced to *Research (*Research Professional, *Research Jobs and *Unity) as well as producing a profile website.

Having taken a look at *Research Professional, it seems aimed at obtaining funding which to me would only be useful if your plan was to stay in academia. At this point, while staying in academia is a option, it is not where I want to be in the future. I also looked into *Research Jobs, however this did not seem to have many advertised and none in my field. I doubt I will be using this in the future.

As for a profile website, I am thinking at this stage that I will use LinkedIn. I will need to link my other websites, such as my ResearchGate/, and any other relevant website to my LinkedIn, but that seems like the best starting point.

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Online Communications: Things 18, 19 & 20

This weeks Things (18, 19 and 20) covered Webinars, Hangouts, Doodle, and Google Drive/Dropbox.

Starting with Google+ Hangouts, this was not something that I have ever used before. I have however used Skype for meetings, interviews, etc. which I find very useful. I doubt I will start using Google+ Hangouts as my Google+ account is not going to be used for professional means.

Onto webinars, initially thought this would be a great Thing as Webinars are something that I find very useful. I thought this would be a great way to find other places to access Webinars of interest. The main focus of this was on Adobe Connect, I had a quick look around but don’t think this will be of use to me. I have frequent meetings with supervisors in the department, have no outside partners on my research and work in an office with others in my research group. Meetings and discussions within a research group seems to be the main focus of Adobe Connect so its not for me.

Doodle is something I use regularly to plan meetings with my supervisors and is used within the department to organise training times for the postgraduates. This is a tool that I find incredibly useful wand easy to use so I won’t be trying another type of scheduling assistant.

I already use Google Drive. However, I use it to access my files from any computer without having to bring a hard-drive or USB around (which I could forget or lose). I have never used this for file sharing between people. Within our research group we have a shared project file where we can add files which can be accessed by everyone in our group. Therefore, I won’t be using either Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing within my group, but it is something to keep in mind if I need to share a file (especially if it is to large to email) with someone outside the research group.

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The Impact of Research: Things 14, 15, 16 & 17

Since I have not published a paper, I had a brief look around some of the papers on Surrey Research Insight Database. It was interesting to see the range of papers published by the different departments within the university. This is something I will keep in mind when (if) I publish a paper. After having a look at the research data management webpages, I have learnt more about what should be done with data collected from the research project. This will be something that I will need to have a chat with my supervisor about to see how this should be done for my work.

What interested me the most in this weeks things was Altmetrics. I had a look at one of the papers that was recently published by my supervisor. This was a paper on the ‘Rapid detection of cocaine, benzoylecgonine, and methylecgonine in fingerprints using surface mass spectrometry’. When this paper came out I remember seeing and hearing about it everywhere. Based on the Altmetric add-on, the Altmetric score of the paper was 288, which is in the top 5% of all particles scored by Altmetric. It was seen in at least 9 countries, tweeted, blogged, shared on Facebook, Google +, Reddit, and picked up by 23 new outlets. What I really liked was that it was possible to get a link to the new articles written about the paper, and see the posts people have written. This is definitely something that I will be using again.

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Making and Sharing Media Online: Things 12 & 13

This weeks things were all about making and sharing research media such as videos and presentations. Thing 12 introduced ways to produce a videos, audio recordings and where to publish these. Whereas Thing 13 introduced presentation tools and where to publish presentations.

Personally, Thing 12 was not very relevant to me, especially at the point I am at with my research. There is nothing at the moment that would require being presented in either video or audio. These tools may be useful in the future but for the time being they will be shelved.

Thing 13 on the other hand was more relevant as I will generally craft a presentation update when I have meetings with my supervisors. Prezi seems like it would be good for some presentations, but the more media (videos and animations etc.) you add into presentations the more opportunities you are giving for it all to go pear shaped. For example, I went to a course about a month back, at this course the presenters had embedded multiple PowerPoints and activities (such as group polls) within one PowerPoint. Unfortunately this lead to some of the PowerPoint slides and activities not working. So for the time being, I’ll be sticking to my simple presentations.

All in all, this weeks things were not so relevant for me at this point in time, but could have some use in the future.

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Online Resources and Reference Management: Things 9, 10, & 11

Thing 9:

As with a number of others (I assume) participating in the 23 Things course I was a bit shocked to see Wikipedia on the list of Things. After being told on one hand never to touch Wikipedia and on the other to only use it as a way to find references in your area, I thought it was an odd choice. I had a browse around my area of interest and using the ‘Random Article’ link, checking out the history and talk functions. Although interesting to see what people were saying, Wikipedia is not a site I will use often based on the lack of up to date information which is easier to find elsewhere.

Thing 10:

I’ve never thought of listening to podcast before. After spending a few hours listening to a few podcasts has made me consider spending some time every week listening to science podcasts or other podcasts of interest. Some of the podcasts I listen to were The Infinite Monkey Cage, The Science Hour, and TED talks (specifically one by Monica Lewinsky).

Having had a browse of Slideshare, Note&Point, and Speak Deck, none of these contain information particularly relevant to my research. Sure they would be great to use for general interest but not for my PhD. I’m also not a fan of only having a PowerPoint presentation without a voiceover about the topic, which I couldn’t find on these websites. YouTube is much easier to find relevant videos in my area.

I had a look at the courses on Coursera, but found nothing useful that my undergraduate degree didn’t cover already. If I had more time it would be useful place to learn about other areas that I am interested in assuming they have those courses. After taking another look, there were courses on the site that were of interest, BUT the only way to prove that you have taken the course is to pay for a verified certificate. After all the money put into my undergraduate and postgraduate studies there is no way to justify spending more money to take a course that may or may not help me get a job.

Thing 11:

Ever since my final year of my undergraduate, I have used Endnote as my referencing management tool of choice. It is an easy way of storing all my references, papers, and I can categorise my papers to make them easy to find. The only more complicated thing is producing the specific referencing style required, but this only takes a bit of fiddling to sort out.

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Networking Tools: Things 7 & 8

This week we were asked to consider our professional online presence, specifically looking at LinkedIn,, and ResearchGate.

Previously I had made accounts on each of these for various reasons. LinkedIn to advertise myself, and and ResearchGate to find and access papers relating to my area of study.

In my opinion, the use of LinkedIn is completely different than and ResearchGate so I will discuss these separately. LinkedIn is great for keeping a up to date CV online and accessible by anyone. This may be of use when it comes to searching for a job, however, as the area I was to pursue is fairly small, I think it will act more as an outlet for professionals to see a broader scope of what I have accomplished than what can fit on a 2 page CV. This is definitely something that I will be keeping up to date and on top of in the future.

Now, onto and ResearchGate. Neither of these are particularly relevant to me at this point in my PhD and career as I have no publications and both are very publication driven. Looking past that, I much prefer as it is easy to access papers of interest, follow researchers, and was all in all an easier site to use. Having spent some time on ResearchGate, it looks like a great site to use IF you have publications out there. Therefore, I am only going to be spending time on my page until a time when (if) ResearchGate becomes useful to me.

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Exploring Images Online: Thing 6

Finding images for projects, conferences, posters, etc. is something that I am constantly trying to do. So this thing was of interest to me.

Flickr is something that I have never used before. After having a quick search for fingerprints, one of the main areas of my PhD, I found that there were tons of photos that could be used. However, after looking only for photos with a creative commons licence, modifications allowed licence, and no known copyright restrictions, there were little to no photos that I could use. It would be much easier for my to take and alter my own photo to produce what I need.

Again Instagram is something that I have not used before, and its not something that I want to start using.

Pinterest on the other hand, is one of my favourite sites to find and keep track of things of interest to me. I have about 60+ boards containing specific pins on a variety of topics from recipes and health and fitness to  DIY projects. After having a look around for topics around PhDs and research as well as topics surrounding my specific PhD, I see why some people would use Pinterest for this purpose. However, I will be keeping Pinterest as a personal site.

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Tweeting: Thing 5

This weeks thing asked us to explore Twitter as a way to follow conferences, interact with people and use as a tool in our research areas. I had never thought of using twitter this way (not that I particularly use my Twitter account at all), but I gave it a go.

I had a quick look at how I have been using my Twitter account. The majority of my posts were re-tweeting posts from people who I follow, the other tweets were promoting the University of Surrey equestrian club. The people who I follow range from celebrities, musicians and equestrians to book reviewers and science-related accounts.

Having explored Twitter for use in research, I see how it could be useful, however, I do not think I have the time at the moment to commit to using it properly for professional use. It will not be ruled out in the future though.

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Personal Branding: Thing 4

After spending some time stalking myself on google and, I found that there are at least 5 other people with my name (on Facebook at least). One of these is an interior designer which explains some of the links on google (will go through in a minute) and another in careers and training.

On google, there was only one link on the first page (my university about me page) and one link on the second page (Bermuda equestrian competition photos). The only Facebook link that appears for me is one where is shows all people with my name that have Facebook accounts. Also on the first page of google were interior design sites, LinkedIn profile(s), and twitter accounts, none of which were mine. I had a quick look at photos on the images page and only found a few that were of me. I noticed some photos were from pins on my Pinterest account.

However, when I search for my name and Bermuda, I found a the following:

  • LinkedIn account
  • Facebook page (only linked to people with my name)
  • Bermuda Dressage Group results
  • Bermuda School Sports Federation cross crountry results
  • Equestrian competition results and photos
  • Family pages
  • News articles

There was nothing that I found that I wouldn’t want seen by a professional, so my googling looked promising.

A link for popped up with my name so I thought, why not investigate! Turns out this search is a bit more in depth! It searched for my name which is fine, but it allows you to search for location and age to narrow down your search. I found the following about myself:

  • Hi5 account (Didn’t even remember I had one)
  • Twitter account
  • Google Plus account
  • Bermuda equestrian results from 2009
  • Results from a 3km race I completed in 2006
  • Link to StyleBermuda modelling

And those were just a few of the links. Again, there was nothing that couldn’t been seen by a professional, but it has made me more aware that once something is on the internet, anyone can find it.

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