Who uses LinkedIn?

We had a talk at INAM2019 yesterday about the Astronomical Science Group of Ireland which is about to be re-launched with a new website. One of the main reasons for doing this is that Ireland recently joined the European Southern Observatory and in order to capitalize on its involvement it is important to persuade the Irish government to invest in the resources needed (especially postdocs, etc) to do as much science as possible using ESO facilities. At the moment there isn’t a very well organized lobby for astronomy in Ireland.

One of the suggestions made yesterday was that astronomers in Ireland should join LinkedIn in order to raise their profile individually and collectively.

I am not, and have never been, on LinkedIn and this is the first time I’ve ever even thought of joining it (though I do from time to time receive emails from people I don’t know asking me to). I’ve always thought it was for more businessy types. I don’t know of any astronomers (or scientists generally) who use it either, but that may be just because I’m not on it and wouldn’t know either way.

I just thought therefore, that I might invite any readers of this blog – whether astronomers or not – if they use LinkedIn to please comment on its usefulness or otherwise using the box below. Please also comment on whether you think it would help astronomers in Ireland organize in the manner envisaged.

13 Responses to “Who uses LinkedIn?”

  1. I would definitely recommend using LinkedIn to join forces and to maintain a network of like-minded colleagues.

    Besides, you can setup the sharing settings to automatically publicize your WordPress posts to LinkedIn.

    Please feel free to connect with me in LinkedIn should you decide to join it.

  2. Just bear in mind that once you sign up, there’s no going back…

  3. Hi Peter,
    Mixed feelings about LinkedIn – can be a useful tool to research professional people/surgeons/musicians etc. and if inclined, to keep up with those you’ve worked with. It can also be a pain – asking you to connect with those it thinks you know – one is capable of doing that without a prompt.

  4. I’m on it, but mostly not in an astronomy context, and because someone (an astronomer, actually) asked me to join it. I don’t do much with it, and have basically accepted requests from people I know personally or who had a sensible reason to ask me to link up. Only a very few times have I asked someone to connect.

    It is good as a replacement for Christmas cards. 🙂

    Its emphasis is definitely more for business types, like XING. It doesn’t appear to be plagued by fake news at all, or at least not to the extent that Facebook, Twitter, etc sometimes act as bullshit multipliers.

    I should say that this is really the only “social network” I’m on.

    I don’t think that it would be a good move to tout this as some sort of de-facto platform for Irish astronomy, mainly because, for various reasons, some won’t want to join it. One needs something like an organization which everyone belongs to with a house journal or whatever. Tying things to a platform, especially an external one used mainly for something else, is probably not a good idea.

    I’ve recently mentioned the Open Journal of Astrophysics to several astronomers. These are people who regularly use arXiv, some of them read blogs, and so on, but most had never heard of the OJA. As Shantanu pointed out in another thread, it turns out that most people don’t post to arXiv before acceptance. One needs to be careful not to mistake one’s fishbowl for the world. (In the study linked to by Shantanu, it was pointed out that while things on arXiv, whether regular papers or conference proceedings, are cited twice as often if they are on arXiv, papers are cited twenty times more often that conference proceedings, which suggests that arXiv visibility is not the main thing people are interested in, but rather acceptance by a respected journal.)

    Other people might be in different situations, but for me, almost all of my internet communication is public (e.g. blog comments, my own blog which is coming real soon now, newsgroups) or intended for a small group of people (in which case email is best). Even if one makes the information on a social network “public”, it still feels different accessing it, and in particular reacting to it, if it is on a social network of which one is not a member.

  5. I use LinkedIn. Years ago I was active. I connected with Don Lincoln of Fermi Lab. It is a mixed population but I believe there are scientists there. Research Gate might be another possibility.

    • I believe that Researchgate is more about sharing papers and so on. Little point, really, since arXiv exists. (I am actually on Researchgate, because someone had asked me to comment on something and I had to sign up in order to do so.) Similar stuff is at one’s ORCID page.

      That’s the problem: there is not one, central place, but everyone being everywhere doesn’t really make sense.

  6. John Peacock Says:

    For years I was getting these messages and assumed it was some strange local thing: living in Edinburgh, I naturally read it as “Link Edin”. But the reason it took so long to realise my mistake was because it looked like spam, and so got deleted with little scrutiny. I still think it’s as close to spam as makes no difference, and I can’t imagine it ever being useful in academia.

  7. I do use LinkedIn, but then my background is in computing, not astronomy. It’s a great place when you’re jobhunting, but as a place to specifically raise your academic profile, it’s less useful. I’d also be wary about mandating it as a suitable platform, as it’s really quite spammy, and also tries to grab all your contacts. I don’t think academics should be endorsing that sort of predatory behaviour from companies. (Obviously as an individual, you can perfectly well make that choice in the interests of e.g. getting a job, but when you’re making strong suggestions for a community, I think your calculus should differ.)
    Maybe academia.edu would be a more logical home?

    • There is also ResearchGate. And probably others. It’s obviously not a good idea to not only sign up but also keep up to date profiles everywhere. I don’t see any mechanism to decide on one platform, and even if that were possible that would mean that it would be difficult to move somewhere else should the need arise.

      Call me a Luddite, but I really don’t see the point. People communicate with people they know by email, and if they want a public profile, they can set up their own web page and put there whatever they deem important.

      Probably much more effective in terms of building the community would be organizing conferences so that everyone stays and eats in the same hotel. This is one reason the Moriond meetings are so effective.

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