Other Communications Methods

Other forms of communication may be more or less widely used, depending on the organization:

  Texts: Used by most people on their personal phones.
Twitter: Used to broadcast short messages (144 characters), often with links to more information or to report on conferences in real time.
  • Sometimes job postings or internship possibilities are posted on Twitter, so you may want to check it out its possibilities.
  • Twitter is also used for announcing conference calls for papers, depending on the people you follow.
  • Remember, it's not necessary to tweet a lot in order to follow others.
Social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, Academia.edu, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc.): Used by individuals, although some organizations have presences in these areas and use them for promoting the organization or disseminating ideas.
  • One note of caution: Employers can and will find you on Facebook. What they see on your Facebook page can affect your chances of getting a job, so set your privacy settings accordingly and be careful about what you post. If you have friends who like to tag you in party pictures, either tell them not to do so or opt out of this feature.
  • Networking sites such as LinkedIn and Academia.edu are more oriented toward professional subjects.
Instant messaging: Often proprietary within organizations; external IM use through AIM, Yahoo, MSN, iChat, Google talk, etc. Some of these (Google, Yahoo) also have VOIP capabilities.
  • Desktop clients for these include Meebo, Digsby, Pidgin, Adium, and Trillian. You can aggregate a number of IM services by using these clients.
Online visual phone services: Skype and Google chat (free) are often used for personal communications.
  • Skype is often used for interviews, since it's such a common program. Those of you who have had experience with Skype interviews will get a chance to post interview tips for the class in the Discussion Board for Week 2. (Tips for Skype interviews at Inc.com and The Chronicle of HIgher Education.)
  • Business-oriented services such as GoToMeeting, WebEx, and MSOffice Live Meeting include features such as whiteboards for collaboration; they can be used for meetings or webinars.

Blogs. Blogs can be used for professional as well as personal information. They're updated frequently, especially group blogs devoted to a profession. Even Grants.gov has a blog: http://grants-gov.blogspot.com/

RSS Feeds. RSS feeds are a way to keep up with the news from blogs and news sites. They collect the news so that you can read it using an RSS feed reader such as Google Reader. RSS feed reader apps are available for smartphones as well.

  • Scholarly journals often have an RSS feed devoted to their tables of contents so that you can see when new articles are published.
  • In English, calls for papers are distributed through this RSS feed: http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/.

Research citation (reference manager) software. Research citation software isn't social networking or a communications technology, but it can make the process of sharing research citations easier for researchers collaborating on a project. Most of these programs can format your references and generate a bibliography automatically. If you're in a research field and haven't tried a reference manager yet, I encourage you to look into them; they will save you time.

  • Endnote and Endnote Web. Endnote can download citations and format them. It's a stand-alone product, meaning that you don't need to be online to use it. It's a powerful program, but it isn't free. WSU has a subscription to Endnote Web,
  • Sente is like Endnote, but for Mac/iPad.
  • Zotero. Zotero is a free, web-based citation and notes manager. This page at MIT will show you some of what it can do; here's a page comparing various forms: http://libguides.mit.edu/references.
  • Mendeley. Mendeley is free (like Zotero) and is optimized for sharing resources. (See this article at The Chronicle of Higher Education by Julie Meloni, a WSU grad.)
  • RefWorks. RefWorks is another web-based citation software package.
  • CiteULike. CiteULike is a free medium for sharing references.
  • BibTex and LaTEX. BibTeX is used in conjunction with the LaTEX document formatting system; it requires more knowledge of formatting codes than the others.
  Wikis and secure collaborative spaces: Used for creating and modifying documents within organizations; free versions include wikis (pbworks.com, among others) and Google Docs. WSU has a number of wikis, including this one devoted to its survey instrument, Skylight: http://wiki.wsu.edu/skylightwiki/Main_Page.
  • Most professional organizations these days rely on sending attachments with comments or edits using Word and its commenting or Track Changes features.
  • Wikis can be handy for allowing updates to documents such as manuals that document processes or technical information.

Listservs (email discussion lists). You subscribe to these lists through email, and the messages are sent directly to your email inbox. Listservs are not used as much as they were a few years ago, but they still provide a way for members of scholarly communities to discuss ideas and announce items of interest.