I think we all agree that the internet is an incredibly useful educational tool (albeit with some serious problems connected to its use). And we are definitely aware that it is a key tool for jobseekers; this is why we are all visitors to www.jobs.ac.uk However, what’s more controversial is whether the internet is a useful networking tool for academics.
Networking is especially important for scholars early on in their careers who face the toughest challenges job-wise at the moment and who are trying to build connections with colleagues round the world. But it is easy to get stuck in department- or subject area-based networks.
One way of meeting new people from other disciplines is to visit sites like Graduate Junction. The site has more than 13000 academic researchers as members and is specifically designed to encourage shared knowledge and experience and the establishment of a community.
They offer the opportunity to have your own blog, to establish a research profile that other researchers can access and request to link up with you if your work interests them. Already over 4000 links have been made in this way. Other functions on offer are discussion boards and conference announcements.
Many people think that nothing will improve on meeting people face to face and while I agree, I think that sites such as the Graduate Junction are really important for establishing networks in the 21st century. And anything that combats the isolation felt by researchers and encourages interdisciplinary work has got to be a good thing. I am off to register right now!