Last year this time, I would never imagine myself having my own blog or being highly active on Twitter. I used to believe that as a full time working mother with research and family commitments I don’t have time to waste on social media. But to be honest “I don’t have time” was only an unconscious excuse for staying within my zone of comfort. As soon as this unconscious state of my mind transformed into conscious, I decided to give it a go and soon realised that what an opportunity I was missing on.
Traditionally, attending conferences or events is a great tool for many professionals when it comes to networking and communication. However, in reality many of us don’t have the luxury of attending all our favourite conferences and events simply due to our family commitments, high cost of childcare and babysitting or travelling with family – in addition to funding problems. This is while, social media offers much more flexible resources for networking and communication for free and at the comfort of our homes. Since my boosted engagement with social media, I found Twitter to be my favourite one, as unlike other platforms, it provides an easy connection without making you to go through the hassle of sending request to a stranger and waiting for approval to get connected. This means you can reach unlimited number of people to communicate your work with no hassle. The spread of words is considerably easier and faster and you can develop virtual relationships and network easily.
My point here is that despite the generosity social media is offering in terms of availability, flexibility and ease of use, it is largely ignored by many professionals specifically women. This is while if we want to see a change in the current situation of underrepresentation of women in STEM, we need to utilise every possible opportunity to enhance the situation. The main reason for social media being ignored is probably related to the common perception linking social media to entertainment. however, apart from its entertaining aspects, there are many benefits intrinsic to social media for women in STEM which we cannot afford ignoring them such as:
- Improving social skills and building confidence,
- Communicating and promoting our work,
- Building a larger network of connections,
- Extending our reach to the community,
- Creating multi-disciplinary collaboration opportunities,
- Extending the network of our mentors and mentees and providing support to each other,
- And at last but not least who doenst like treating herself occasionally with entertainment aspects of social media?
Considering all these beneficiary aspects of social media on thing is clear: community of women is STEM cannot afford not to use social media. Sign up today to your favourite platform, if you haven’t already, raise your concerns, get heard and get connected.