Online presence of academics

Academics are supposed to have an active online presences to communicate their research and teaching endeavours to colleagues, students and the wider public both for a national and international audience. In general British academics have given up on their institutions’ ability to manage their public professional profiles and have been doing it themselves and are actively encouraged to do so. This is overwhelming positive and liberating, exposing our work to existing audiences in a new fashion, as well as creating new audiences and new dialogues online. It might even lead to unexpected interest from potential students and new reports via the media. Here’s what I do in this regard:

  1. I have this blog!
  2. There is my University of Chester website which gives the public face of my teaching, administration and research roles as Professor of Archaeology.
  3. I am on Twitter and post my blogs via it as well as via my private Facebook site.
  4. I also have a Project Eliseg Facebook page for more occasional project-specific posts.
  5. I have kept a selection of some of my older publications on a SelectedWorks site
  6. I have an site for my more recent papers.


However, there are limits to all this online madness. It takes up an inordinate amount of time and I am finding it too difficult to keep up with as it is. I confess to having given up on LinkedIn and Research Gate and the many email reminders they send and constant boxes to fill in to ‘complete’ my profile. I didn’t like the ridiculous business world ‘recommendations’ of LinkedIn for example. I can’t remember what annoyed me about Research Gate: probably the colour of the website…

Instagram, Flickr and the rest can shove off!

I have a Google account but cannot face even looking at it.

This is just too much to cope with. Still, I hope I am vaguely keeping up with the ever-changing demands of an academic online public profile. Suggestions please on what I am missing or what is not working!


It has its dangers too though. I haven’t experienced any myself but I am acutely aware of those who have raised them. For example, Dr Sara Perry of York University has blogged and spoken about her own experiences and the wider project exploring online abuse of various kinds received by academics.

I worry about this but I don’t worry too much. As long as I see colleagues regularly posting publicly on current affairs like mad dogs from Britain’s foreign policy to gender politics, I think I am pretty safe with my humble blog posts and tweets commenting on the narrow fields I feel able to talk about: death and academic archaeology.

Still, death is a sensitive subject and there is plenty to be moved, upset and perhaps even offended about when one is posting to a global audience online. This is especially the case with photographs and text in this blog and in my publications deal with sensitive dimensions of mortality and its commemoration from the distant past and from recent times. I hope that I escape the worst of online dangers though, despite my occasional forthright opinions on subjects as varied as museum displays to digging up Richard III… I certainly don’t want to go out of my way to splurge my personal views online, but there are inevitable dangers in saying anything in public, whether in an academic tome or a tweet.

Online Updates

Anyway, this blog is to update you regarding the latest dimensions to my online presence.

  1. I have just updated my site with my latest publications for 2014.
  2. My own institution’s online repository: Chester Rep now requires me to upload all of my outputs. I have started off by uploading pdfs of final publications (where permission is granted) as well as post-print texts (post-review drafts) of those that do not permit the uploading of the final publication. These should be available very soon.

I doubt if many people will keep up with my research online through all these different sites. Still, however and whenever you discover me online, I hope you continue to enjoy the archaeodeath posts and musings…