Some ideas, strategies, and advice based on my own experiences. YMMV.
1. First ...
3. As You Go
- I strongly recommend maintaining a good, contemporary-looking personal website.
- This is how you showcase your projects and your track record of public work.
- It's also your central point of contact for your all public audiences. That includes journalists, people looking for expert speakers, literary agents, publishers and various others who may open new opportunities to you if they like the look of your online presence.
- I use Squarespace, which is a paid service. Check if your institution, research fund, supervisor, etc. has money available to cover such costs. If not, WordPress has some good free options.
- If your best effort looks like this maybe consider studying/training, or getting a friend to help you learn to build a new site. But do learn the skills. Don’t just get your friend to build something you don’t understand and can’t maintain, because you need to …
- … keep it up to date. Plan to invest time on a regular basis for web updates and maintenance.
- Social media
- I use Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I have found all three to be effective ways of engaging public audiences (as well as other academics, including but not limited to other philosophers).
- Effective social media engagement can be one of the most powerful ways to build your public profile and platform. But again, there are real (and distinctive) skill sets needed for this. They are not trivial, but they are learnable.
- I recommend following other public scholars you admire to get a sense of what works and what you want to achieve.
- Be aware that many of the risks of public-facing work (especially relating to online abuse and hate) can be concentrated in and around social media.
- Consider building and maintaining an email list.
- I use mine to alert subscribers to my upcoming events, appearances, and major press coverage, as well as sometimes just to talk about how things are going with my projects. I use MailChimp (a free service) to manage my list.
- Don’t spam people. (One reason MailChimp is useful is that it allows easy unsubscribes.)
Please send me suggested additions and corrections to any of the above! I can be contacted here.