This post originally appeared on The Professor Is Out. It has been updated and modified.
Academia has always had a depressingly solitary aspect to it. Being an expert in your field can do that to a person. I’ve seen a shift of late to academics being much more open about the struggles and the reality of academia on social media. Twitter, in particular, has created a community that allows people from all around the world to connect. I believe that Instagram through its visual content has a huge potential to create communities of professors.
Academic Hashtags for Instagram
With so much noise online, we need a way to find our people. That is where hashtags come in. A way to tag your content so that others interested can search and find it. Learn more about hashtags here. A while back I created a generic list of academic hashtags for Twitter however Instagram’s hashtags are a little different so I decided to put together a list that works for Instagram.
TL;DR: If you don’t want to read about each hashtag, scroll to the bottom and sign up to download a Word document with all of these hashtags sorted by volume used. Cut and paste the hashtags into your phone notes section or into your scheduling software so you can easily add them to your Instagram captions and expand your reach.
Why use hashtags on Instagram?
Every hashtag has its own gallery with two sections, TOP and RECENT. The more hashtags you use, the more galleries your posts will appear in. The maximum hashtags per post is 30. The posts in the RECENT feed are listed in the order they are posted with the most recent at the top left. The TOP feed is determined by a combination of how much engagement (likes/comments) and how recent the post is. Therefore, you need to be strategic about which hashtags to use. Posting with hashtags such as #PhD with its 890K posts will only get your posts seen for a short period of time before it is pushed off the screen in the RECENT feed. The more posts on a hashtag the more posts you will be competing against so you will need more engagement to land in the TOP feed.
Hot Tip: Choose a combination of hashtag sizes to ensure maximum exposure.
#ProfessorsOfInstagram #Professor #AcademicLife #FacultyLife #ThisAcademicLife #AcademicsOfInstagram
These catch-all hashtags used for any post about being a professor/academic – work, home… Does not have to be used by people called ‘professors’ if you teach and/or research at a university then you are a ‘professor’.
My favourite academic hashtags! The academic career has too much pressure. I love looking at what other academics get up to in their downtime. I think we need more of these hashtags to show that you do not need to be working every waking moment to be ‘successful’ in academia. Also, I love #AcaDowntime because it makes me think of Acca Dacca (AC/DC) and then I get Thunderstruck stuck in my head. A similar hashtag that doesn’t get much love is #AcademicSelfCare I believe we need more open communication about how to build ourselves up.
Show us your outfit. Gone are the days of professors wearing the exact same tweed coat every day. Come here to seek out academic fashion and push the boundaries of what professors can wear.
Tell the world about your day-to-day experience. Teaching/Service/Research. Use this for story telling and letting other academics into your world. This is a great hashtag to use in your stories as you go about your day.
Minorities unite! As the academic world becomes more diverse the surprised looks and stupid comments will hopefully subside. In the meantime whenever someone doesn’t believe that you are a professor snap a picture of yourself/outfit and #ILookLikeAProfessor
For women in academia and science. We have come a long way but we have further to go.
While the content for these hashtags is thin, I always get encouraging messages when I post about being a mother in academia so I encourage you to share your life as a parent with these hashtags.
The fun side of science! Anything and everything science and COOL! Works well with #SciComm. If you have a huge or highly engaged following you can use #science however with over 9.2 million uses you will get lost very quickly.
Any posts related to alternative career choices for those with a terminal degree.
I’ve just started these hashtag for any academic/PhD who has a side hustle.
If ever there was a twitter hashtag made for Instagram. Academic? Love Cats? This is the one for you. Take a picture of them sitting on your research or distracting you from class prep – show the community your furry friend.
Cats aren’t for everyone but do not worry there is a hashtag for you. Show us the lighter side to your life.
Show your writing successes and struggles. Here you will find lots of images of desks and writing spaces. Food and books that help academics write.
Follow/use this hashtag for inspiration and a pep talk when imposter syndrome hits.
Graduation, a flight that needs a doctor, medical advice needed? #NotThatKindOfDoctor Also, major FOMO that I didn’t get huge D R balloons and celebrate my PhD! Also, use #PhinisheD to celebrate your new DR title.
Post about how research and life are interrelated – aka everything!
Hashtags to discuss your life as an early career researcher.
#ScienceMemes #PhysicsJokes #PhysicsMemes #ChemistryJokes #ChemistryMemes etc.
For when you feel like doing some insta-crastination that you can sign off as ‘work’
Mostly inspirational quotes about science
Acceptance, failure, process – this one is for anything related to the unwavering pressure to publish.
@mandythespirit let me know that these two hashtags should be on my list. #PhDLife seems to be used by anyone currently completing or who has a PhD. I feel like you need to be a cooler person than I am to pull off #PhDLyfe. Looks like the posts for #PhDLyfe are more PhD student/candidate focused.
The ups and the many many downs share them with Instagram with these hashtags to find solace with your peers and encouragement from those who have made it to the other side.
Are you #TeamQual or #TeamQuant? I was interested to see which hashtags had more use here. #QualitativeResearch took the 1st place at the time of writing but all of these hashtags have relatively low usage so it is still anyone’s game.
This is a hashtag popular on Twitter. It was created by Dr Raul Pacheco-Vega as an academic version of #FollowFriday. It is a way to recommend academics to follow. While it isn’t hugely popular on Instagram and is often used more generally, I believe in lifting others up so I recommend this hashtag and hope to see it used more on Instagram. If you are looking for scholars to follow check out this hashtag for some inspiration.
Hashtags not to use for academia
I don’t recommend using generic hashtags such as #Academic or #AcademicSuccess as these are used by students in relation to school/university. #Academia is full of posts about working out rather than working in academia.
Did I forget any? Let me know in the comment section below ↓↓↓