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Building an online presence can be exhausting!

Earlier today, I looked at C. Titus Brown's slide deck about how scientists can build an enduring online research presence. As is often the case, he has lots of interesting things to say. Near the end of the presentation he suggested that you should start small and work your way up. Good advice. Then he casually mentioned ImpactStory, a site with which I was unfamiliar, and I decided to check it out. And here we go again. Before I get started, let me emphasize that I agree with Titus that it is important to have a good online presence. I'm just tired of people building tools to help me get there. Things used to be simple. If you were tech-savvy, you had a website. Then a lot of people got blogs. I had one for years, too, but I didn't use it to talk about science. Mostly, I used it to rant about LSU football and other things that caught my attention. Then there was Facebook, but I try to only use that for personal things, not work things. Trust me, most of the stuff I post there wouldn't help my career any. What about Twitter? Okay, I have an account (@john_b_cole), and sometimes it's fun to schedule tweets to coincide with talks I'm giving, or live-tweet from the dais when I'm session-chairing. Oh, of course, there's Google Scholar to track citations to my papers. But, wait, we're not done yet! Now there is a whole stack of new sites that claim to help us scientists by aggregating information about our research so that it's easy to find. Here's a sample of some of them:

But, wait, there's more! I have a Mendeley account and a Zotero profile, and we post publications and presentations on my lab's website, and I also post them on my personal website! None of this relates to anything Titus said other than his point about maintaining an adequate span-of-control. Sure, there are about 50 ways to disseminate your work online, but most of them promise to make it a lot easier than they really do. So, focus is important. At this point, I let Google Scholar catch my publications and citations (be patient, sometimes it takes a few days!), LinkedIn for my "generic" professional presence (does anybody really take LinkedIn endorsements seriously?), and Twitter for sharing mostly worky things that I think are interesting. Note that I still have some work to do on keeping personal and professional things separate on Twitter. But, wait, I forgot about my github project... I think I'm going to need another cup of coffee...