The Importance of Public Engagement for Researchers
Disclosing academic efforts to the general public can hugely enrich a researcher’s work and increase visibility. Therefore, establishing a public presence is an important goal for many universities and research centers nowadays. But how important is it to researchers on a daily basis? Sharing ideas and collaboration with agents outside academia positively affects their job in several ways.
A researcher’s responsibility is toward society, and feeling disconnected from it doesn’t help in staying motivated or satisfied. Both professionally and personally, obtaining public engagement seems to be favorable for them.
New Professional Opportunities
Stimulating debates can have great and different results depending on the actors. Community groups, industries, other researchers’ groups, political agents—all of these have their own goals, interests, and ways of proceeding. A positive relation with all of these could give researchers plenty of opportunities to gain new ideas, increase their professional network, and make a name for themselves. For example, creating new ways of diffusion helps to capture new audiences and even new patrons that would promote the research. Besides, current patrons would probably appreciate the researchers’ efforts to gain presence in a public debate.
Collaborating with diverse public agents means new possibilities to both improve a current job and guarantee new opportunities in the future. Networking is important for researchers, and every contact could be a door to new professional adventures.
Even though they are experts in the fields they work in, many researchers feel demotivated at some point of their careers. Isolation is also a common feeling among academic researchers because of the feeling of working alone to achieve a goal that is simply too far away from them. The importance of establishing a presence in public debate is incredibly high in order to help researchers when they feel this way. Sharing their achievements and successes is as important for them personally as it is professionally.
Social Media: New Ways, New Audiences
Social media is playing an important role when it comes to increasing public engagement. Twitter, LinkedIn, and personal blogs are suitable platforms to share not only professional achievements or problems but also personal experiences and concerns. For many, writing a blog about their experience as a researcher is an escape mechanism from their daily routine—a gratifying creative activity that allows them to share their successes and concerns with their peers. Twitter appears to be a powerful tool that has a wide circulation, and is therefore widely used to share and promote academic activity. LinkedIn offers even more, as it is a door to new professional opportunities worldwide and a useful platform to keep in touch with contacts and get to know new ones.
Last but not least, being in touch with diverse public agents helps researchers to understand how to deal with all of them professionally . Research, academia, and public presence go hand in hand, and the faster researchers learn how to make the most out of this relationship, the sooner they will improve their image and professional career.