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The Virtually Possible: Sharing Criminology Research Online

Social media platforms are a hidden tool for most researchers and academics. They’re something we use every day but is mainly utilized as a personal purpose rather than professional. As a former student and current research associate with CAN-SEBP, I’ve found that sharing any sort of information over virtual platforms can be initially nerve-wracking. However, through my experiences, I have learned that the platforms in which academics can share information online is extremely valuable. YouTube, TikTok, blogs, Twitter, and so many other platforms give rise to a plethora of individuals who are eager to share their knowledge with others.

How can I get people interested in my research through social media?

Each platform has its own unique way of finding and bringing people together. On Instagram for example, you can set your profile to be a business rather than a personal account. This has many benefits, which include:

· Like-minded individuals being suggested to your page

· Connect in the real-world

· Gaining inspiration and sharing ideas

· Obtaining outside perspectives of your work

Twitter is another powerful tool you can use in addition to other platforms. Twitter curates your following by suggesting pages that match your interests and posts. Many academics, students, and professors post links to their research and to other helpful tools that you may not otherwise come across. This makes Twitter a great medium to connect and inspire, as a simple re-tweet of information gets passed onto many other accounts’ home pages. With this feature, Twitter allows for asynchronous and synchronous conversation.

TikTok is another amazing platform that has recently taken the world by storm. It’s level of inclusivity allows for youth and adults to enjoy content perfectly catered to them on their “For You” page. Beneath all the pop-culture dances and personal content, TikTok hosts a wide variety of academic pages that are created to educate the public. With criminology, this is exceptionally helpful, as most research in the field is chalked full of information. TikTok can help your research get noticed by:

· Using popular hashtags (e.g. #foryou, #foryoupage, #fyp)

· Tagging the theory or field your research is in (e.g. #crim, #routineactivities)

· Using popular sounds

Next, let’s talk about blogs. Blogs are an excellent way to showcase your research, your way. In particular, blogs allow the researcher to talk about their information in a setting where it’s not always professional. This not only allows other academics to get to know you, but it permits you to present your information without any strict guidelines. As I mentioned before, sometimes criminology research can be chalked full of information which can be a lot to absorb in one sitting. Blogs are a great asset in this sense, as using subtitles, pictures, bullet points, and charts can give the reader a visual break in comparison to the traditional research papers us “crim people” are used to. In addition, academics can post links to their blogs on other platforms (i.e. Instagram, Twitter, TikTok), to spread further awareness of their publications and research.

Lastly, YouTube! I’m sure all of us have stumbled onto this platform at one point in our lives or another. YouTube, like TikTok, hosts a wide variety of videos ranging from cute cats, unsolved mysteries, makeup videos, and academic information.

Personally, I LOVE YouTube. I find it so fascinating that I can sit down at my computer, type in what I want to learn, and watch a short (or long) video pertaining to that subject within seconds. Often though, YouTube is overlooked as an educational tool unless a professor uses it in the classroom to get a brief point across. Here are some ways YouTube can be extremely beneficial to share YOUR research:

o Edit to add in graphs or relevant pictures

o Create your own compelling script

o Showcase your research creatively

o Make jokes (keep audience entertained)

o Choosing your own time (length of video)

o Linking your videos on other platforms (increases watch time)

o Can be used later in academic settings

How do I know what platform is right for me?

Test them out! Each platform is unique in its own way. The inclination may be more geared to one platform than the next, but it is important to keep in mind that each platform is interconnected to some degree.

Perhaps you find your passion in editing, or even writing (alongside your passion for research, of course)! Combining your skills and with what platform works best in conjunction with said skills is a fantastic way to begin.

A little reminder…

Initially, putting your research onto various social media platforms can feel strange. However, your information can be shared amongst hundreds, even thousands of academics through online sites. This not only allows for real-life connections to flourish, but it also gives rise to others who are looking for information to complete their research as well.

As a community, criminology researchers need each other.

So, let’s do this… together.

Alexa Maude,

University of Western Ontario





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