• Time Frame: 2.5 or 3 hours. Longer time for more participants.
  • Suggested number of participants: 6-18
  • Materials needed: Participants will need laptops (cell phones can also be used)
  • Room Setup: tables of 4-6
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What is the world is finding out about you online? How can you be more strategic about that? How can the internet help you advance your career? This workshop will help you think broadly about your online presence and the world of social media.

  • How can I integrate my story in social networking, and presentations to optimize my professional potential?
  • What audiences might I come across and how can I adapt my story to have maximum impact for each group?
  • Who can I emulate or relate to, that tells a similar story?
Facilitator Outcomes Participants will be able to:
1. Introduce the difference between social media and social networking Describe how social networking can be used in their own research and career planning, and also think about ways social media can be used to share information.
2. Help participants understand how their current social media profiles are being perceived. Recognize their own social media footprint and what others may infer from their social media presence (or lack thereof).
3. Provide an overview of the pros and cons of various social media platforms and level of engagement. Articulate social media platforms they would like to develop and identify potential people who could be seen as social media “mentors”-people they aspire to be like.
4. Facilitate conversation about strategies for various social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and which technologies can help Discuss ways to keep vibrant network connections and use tools to streamline social media outreach and networking.
5. Create a conversation around the pros and cons of social media. Recognize that they can tailor their social media presence in a way that fits with their goals, lifestyle and personality.
6. Debrief workshop and ask participants to commit to an action plan to enhance their social media Propose action steps to enhance social media presence.

Workshop Materials


    Sample Agenda

    1:00 – 1:15 Introductions & Icebreakers

    • Your name
    • Graduate program/field of study
    • Common online tools/social media you use
    • Answer this question: What skills/competencies/perspectives are you interested in developing?
    1:15 – 1:35 Google Your Partner

    • Write down how you want to be perceived professionally
    • Get a partner and then introduce yourself
    • Then, Google each other!
    • Write down what you learned about your partner. You will then introduce your partner to the rest of the group based on what you learned.
    • Answer this question: How did the perceptions you had hoped for compare to what your partner learned about you? Were they similar? Were they different? If they are different, what changes do you need to make about your online presence?
    1:35–2:00 Introducing “Your Brand”
    2:00-2:20 Discussion of Pre-Reading-New York Times Articles
    2:20-2:30 Break Time
    2:30-4:30 Intro to Social Networking

    1. Introducing social networking (~30 minutes)
    2. How to be successful on Twitter, including discussion of drawbacks and pitfalls (~30 minutes)
    3. Finish with discussion about personalized online strategy (~15 minutes)

    Pre-Workshop Email
    We recommend sending out the pre-workshop email one-week before and a short follow-up two days before the workshop. This workshop does not require any pre-work before the workshop, but you could include a link to a TED Talk to help prime students for the workshop experience.

    Here’s an example:

    Hi Folks,

    I am looking forward to this Tuesday’s workshop, Your Life Online which will be taught by Dr. Michelle LaRue. You may be doing activities that involve accessing the internet, so please bring a laptop or other device to go online.

    If you have time, check out these two recent NY Times pieces about social media and work.

    Quit Social Media: Your Career May Depend On It

    Don’t Quit Social Media: Your Career May Depend On It

    See you tomorrow,

    Kristi Kremers
    Program Director, Boreas Leadership Program

    Post-workshop handout

    Post-workshop email

    We recommend sending out the post-workshop email within a day or two of the completion of the workshop, to remind participants of any actions they planned to take on going forward, and to get feedback while experience is still fresh.

    Here’s an example:

    Dear Workshop Participants:

    Thank you for attending up for the Your Life Online workshop. We hope you have a new awareness of your online presence and are about to take a more active approach to managing it. 
    We’re always looking to make these workshops more useful and effective, so please take moment to complete the attached survey and let us know what was helpful about the workshop and what else you would hope to gain from a future workshop.
    Thank you
    [Your name]
    Survey Example
    Click here for Google form.
    Ideally, the post-workshop email will include a link to post survey utilizing Survey Monkey, Google Forms, or a similar easy-to-use application. Here are some examples of questions:
    Did you gain the skills you hope to gain from this workshop?

    If not, what did you hope to learn that you would like to see in a future workshop?

    What were the most valuable take-aways?

    Do you now have an increased awareness of risks in your online life?

    Do you feel like you know how to adjust your online presence to meet your objectives and protect against risks?

    Please use this space to offer any other feedback you feel would be useful for the facilitators and for future workshops.


    Bik, H. M., & Goldstein, M. C. (2013). An introduction to social media for scientists. PLoS biology, 11(4), e1001535.

    Brossard, D., & Scheufele, D. A. (2013). Science, new media, and the public. Science, 339(6115), 40-41.

    Newman, T. P. (2016). Tracking the release of IPCC AR5 on Twitter: Users, comments, and sources following the release of the Working Group I Summary for Policymakers. Public Understanding of Science, 0963662516628477.

    Bohnert, D., & Ross, W. H. (2010). The influence of social networking web sites on the evaluation of job candidates. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking13(3), 341-347.


    My Life Online
    A resource for kids, but the perspective and tips are universal, especially given how little many of know about our true online exposure.

    Communicating Science Online
    From AAAS: Strategies for online communication 
online and social media, best practices, 
defining your audience and selecting the right platform.

    Re-Defining Science Communication: Emerging Best Practices that Empower the Public

    Attending Boreas workshops has allowed me to learn and implement several valuable leadership tools in an increasingly connected world and how to present myself in a professional manner on paper, online, and in person.


    Melaney Dunne

    Master's Student Conservation Biology