Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is now one of the ‘seniors’ on the social media scene, with over 1 billion members across 200+ countries and regions worldwide. Available in 28 different languages, its focus is on professional sharing and career development; like other social platforms, you start by creating a profile and connecting with individuals and organisations you find interesting.  

As someone working at an academic institution, you might have decided that LinkedIn is not the platform for you, whether it’s a bit ‘corporate’, or the fact that on some days it can look like everyone is showing off a bit (whilst pretending not to).  

With some patience and carefully pruned connections, however, there are plenty of benefits to hanging out on LinkedIn, from keeping on top of sector news to sharing research, learning skills, and expanding your professional network. We asked long-time LinkedIn user Lucy Blakemore to share some quick insights into how she uses the platform to learn, connect, and highlight positive impacts of higher education work around the world. 

Q1: Who’s there, and why should we care? 

Like other social platforms, LinkedIn can be a place to connect with people you know – work colleagues past and present, for example – but also to ‘follow’ a much broader network you might never meet in person. From politicians to academic ‘celebrities’, chances are they have a profile here, and they’re using it to share news, research, and connections to other relevant content. 

If the thought of ‘networking’ makes you shudder, think of this instead as a source of sector updates and industry news, curated by you from the people and organisations you want to hear from. LinkedIn was the first place I spotted summaries and commentary on the Universities Accord, for example, but also where I hear about upcoming conferences, high profile stories about student experience and more specialist areas of interest like international student flows and the latest AI-induced existential crises.  

Start with what and who you know – pages like LX at UTS (of course), University of Technology Sydney and other university pages. Follow specific faculty pages (they’re all there!) then dig in to find your favourite researchers, industry pundits and peak body reps. 

Q2: Do we connect or follow? Pages or people? 

There’s no hard and fast rule on when to hit ‘connect’ vs. ‘follow’ – some people choose to connect with anyone and everyone, whilst others curate a smaller network of more personal contacts. Some say it’s better practice to only ‘connect’ with people you know – friends, colleagues, people you’ve met and interacted with at workplaces or events. If you’d be happy to stop and chat with them in person, go ahead and accept a connection request too. 

‘Follow’ is usually best for people you don’t know, but have a professional interest in – they might be well-known (oh hi, Leigh Sales!) or regular keynote speakers in your specialist industry area. If I stumble on an interesting post but I don’t know the author, I tend to follow, not connect. Most companies, educational institutions and political agencies will have pages you can ‘follow’ to keep up with news and announcements. 

Q3: What would I share on there? 

Whilst some people seem happy to share every achievement, promotion, holiday snap and personal news on LinkedIn, many people say posting content is the hard part. An easy way in is to ‘like’, comment or re-share content you find useful and interesting – there’s an option to re-post content to your own profile, for example, and add your own take on a post that resonates with you. 

Events can be great opportunities to dip your toe into posting content, without having to create a magnum opus. Enjoyed a session at a conference? Take a quick photo and add a line or two about who spoke and what the topic was – people will often jump in with their own experiences and insights too. 

And of course, if you’ve written something for the LX blog you’re all set – just grab the link, pop in an intro paragraph and tag anyone you co-authored with. Don’t be shy! You never know who might be hungry for suggestions on how to use respectfully use people’s pronouns or keen to hear the latest about Indigenous perspectives on Science. 

Q4: How can I use LinkedIn for my own professional development? 

The idea of ‘putting yourself out there’ might seem daunting if you’ve never set up a public profile, but if you’re looking to develop your career, connect with other researchers/professionals and learn from people outside your usual circles, LinkedIn isn’t a bad place to start. It’s up to you what to share, and who to share it with – you can put your whole work history on there as a quick reference resume for potential employers, or keep it minimal if you’re just here to read and learn.  

You can also keep an eye out for training and development, whether through LX Lab events or LinkedIn Learning (free if you’re at UTS). It’s completely up to you if you decide to share your course completions with the community, or keep the quiet satisfaction of personal achievement to yourself!  

Make the switch: LX is now on LinkedIn

We’re also happy to announce that LX at UTS is now on LinkedIn! We’ll be sharing more stories and events on this platform, so if you’ve been following us elsewhere, come on over to make sure you don’t miss the latest content and event updates from the UTS learning and teaching community. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

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