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The Personal Brand of the Archaeological Researcher

The next speaker in this DHA 2012 session is Alice Gorman, whose focus is on the use of social media to communicate archaeological research. Archaeology remains poorly understood; popular portrayals of the discipline, from Indiana Jones to Time Team, don’t necessarily have much to do with actual practices in the field.

Alice’s interest is in space archaeology (from earth-bound technological artefacts to space junk), and in thus protecting our cultural heritage; under the moniker ‘Dr Space Junk’, she’s been sharing her work through a blog and a presence on Twitter.

There are obvious differences between such presences, of course – blogs are more passive, pull media, while Twitter constitutes a more active, push medium; this is further backed up by Alice’s presence on, and her institutional staff profile. Overall, therefore, there are differing levels of credibility and authenticity involved here.

The avatar approach Alice is taking with her online presence enables her to take more risks and employ more humour than may be possible for a straightforward scholarly homepage; it makes a dry scientific subject more accessible, and offers an alternative voice to the scholar. At the same time, there is also the potential for consistency across various platforms – Dr Space Junk is a brand, a marketing tool.