The A to Z of social media for academia

Your definitive guide to using social media as an academic

August 18, 2016
Social media icons hanging from blue string

Why should academics be using social media? And which social media should they be using? There are so many tools and networks that could be of potential use to scholars that it can be difficult to keep track.

Times Higher Education has teamed up with Andy Miah, chair in science communication and future media at the University of Salford, to offer you the definitive guide to the social media tools available to academics, and how you can use them as you go about your scholarly work. There are many, many tools, but we have tried to give an idea of how higher education professionals might use them.

We will strive to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you think that we are missing anything, please let us know by tweeting @andymiah.


More social media resources

Why academics should care about social media
Tips for academics: blogging and social media


Introduction by Andy Miah (@andymiah), chair in science communication and future media at the University of Salford:

“This resource accompanies the Social Media News email list for academics and university support staff, sharing info about the latest platforms for use by academics in their professional lives. It will update periodically, but please also send me your recommendations to add.

“Everything listed here I have tried out. If you want to follow on Twitter, we are using #socialmediaHE. All listed items are recommended by academics for use in their professional lives. Thanks to those who’ve provided links and descriptions.”


The A to Z of social media for academics

Latest update: 18 August 2016

A IS FOR…

About.me: If you don’t have a website, then this is for you. It aggregates your social media content, giving you a stylish, one-page website. EXAMPLE

Academia.eduShare your papers, track their impact, follow colleagues.

Altmetric: Subscription-based tracker for your publications’ impact across different social media metrics.

Amazon Author CentralCreate a profile page, add your authored books, link to social media, upload videos.

AnswerGarden: A neat little tool used for real-time audience participation.

Audiense: Formerly SocialBro. Analytic tool and social media management platform.

AudioBoom: Broadcast podcasts.

AutoCollage: Free Microsoft tool for use in teaching. Uses face and object recognition to swiftly create a collage of several images.


B IS FOR…

Bitly: Save, search and organise all your links from around the web. Group them into bundles. Share them with friends.

Buffer: A tool to help you manage your social media postings, it auto-schedules posts; you just need to remember to keep it topped up.

Bundlr: Aggregates content from elsewhere, much like Pinterest. Worth trying to see how it compares.


C IS FOR…

CiteULike: A social bibliographic database for all your readings. EXAMPLE

Coggle ItCollaborative mind-mapping tool.

CoverItLive: Engage remote audiences during events.

CreateSpace: Part of Amazon, helping you to self-publish all those books you've written.

Crowdbooster: Social media analytics tool to figure out what the hell is going on.


D IS FOR…

Delicious: Revived social bookmarking site. EXAMPLE

Devonthink: A useful way to store and manage your work and related media. Finds connections between content where you perhaps wouldn’t find them.

Digg: User-rated news delivery service, sharing what’s buzzing online.

Diigo: Research and collaborative research tool and a knowledge-sharing community and social content site.

Dipity: A bit like Storify but in a timeline format.

Dlvr.it: A service that allows users to link their various social networking tools in order to reach a larger and disparate audience.

Doodle: A useful way of scheduling meetings or making group decisions.

Dropbox: For making sure the essentials are backed up, and sharing large files.


E IS FOR…

Emaze: If you are bored with PowerPoint and scared of Prezi, then try emaze. It’s pretty snazzy. EXAMPLE

EndnoteWeb: The online bibliographic package for storing your reading lists.

Eventbrite: Socially friendly ticket management system for events.

Eventifier: Create archives of events.

EverNoteIf you like taking notes at conferences and want to share them, or just have them accessible across devices, this works.

ExplainEverything: iPad app to do screencast lectures, import multimedia and more. EXAMPLE


F IS FOR…

Facebook: Social networking with colleagues and for teaching groups. The biggest social network in the world.

FigShare: Allows researchers to publish all of their research outputs (presentations, figures, papers, data, etc) in seconds in an easily citable, sharable and discoverable manner. EXAMPLE

Flickr: For curating and sharing image sets, finding resources and amazing royalty-free images. EXAMPLE

FrontiersIn: The Frontiers Research Network is a science publishing platform with a social networking dimension. EXAMPLE


G IS FOR…

GithubPowerful collaboration, code review and code management for open source and private projects (recommended by@karenbultitude).

GlisserTurbo boost your live presentations with this interactive social platform.

Google+: Community spaces from Google. EXAMPLE

Google Drive: For collaborative writing.

Google Scholar: Recently providing additional services, such as Google Authors and citation tracking for you or people you rate. EXAMPLE


H IS FOR…

Haiku DeckA whizzy online presentation app that cleverly embeds imagery from around the web, making it super speedy to make things pretty. EXAMPLE

HipChat: Focused messaging and collaboration tool (via @LauraWheelers).

Hootsuite: A very nice app to bring together all of your social media accounts in one place.

HubZero: Open source software platform for creating dynamic websites that support scientific research and educational activities.


I IS FOR…

Instagram: Widely used picture-sharing and storytelling tool.

ifttt: "If this then that" is a service that allows users to connect various channels (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, RSS Feeds, SMS, etc) and to create recipes. A recipe includes a “trigger” (if this) and an “action” (then that). Go and have a play!

Infogr.am: Who needs a bar chart, when you can present stats in a creative, social format?

Instapaper: Keep track of articles, websites and anything you don’t have time to read immediately but want to save for later.

Issuu: To upload your pre-prints in a beautiful format for online viewing. EXAMPLE

iTunes: A place to upload and share your media content.


J IS FOR…

Jiscmail: Old school social media using email lists. Loads (and loads) of higher education groups. EXAMPLE

JournalMap: A scientific literature search engine that empowers you to find relevant research based on location and biophysical attributes combined with traditional keyword searches.


K IS FOR…

Kahoot: Create, play and share games, make your own quiz or poll via @scottcolton2

Kickstarter: Who needs the research councils? Get your project started with this fundraising tool.

Klout: For a more intricate understanding of your Twitter activity and influence.

Kred: A visual history of your social media influence.

Kudos: Designed to help you increase the impact of your published research articles by tracking the most effective networks for getting your work discussed and cited.


L IS FOR…

Lanyrd: Allows you to add events, discover new and exciting conferences and track your friends to see what events they are attending.

LinkedIn: If you don’t have a website, and want an online CV, then your LinkedIn profile can substitute. Also home to lots of great discussion groups. EXAMPLE

Lino: A Post-it, or virtual pinboard, with bells on.

Livestream: Create and watch live broadcasts.


M IS FOR…

ManyEyes: IBM’s data visualisation software.

Medium: Popular blogging site. 

Mendeley: Reference manager and academic social network that can help you organise your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research. EXAMPLE

Moodle: Open source course management system.

Morfo: Create an avatar from your photo and make it say and do anything (such as read a cyborg article from the future that you’ve written? No? Just me then!) EXAMPLE

MySpace: Relaunched in 2013, the social and music discovery site is now owned by Time Inc.


N IS FOR…

NewsNow: Brings together news stories on a topic, ready for sharing. EXAMPLE


O IS FOR…

Overleaf: A real-time collaborative writing and publishing tool (via @Lisa_Hulme).


P IS FOR…

Padlet: Blank wall on to which you can write, embed and link images/video, useful for brainstorming, mind mapping, and live collaborative collage. EXAMPLE

Paper.li: Create digital daily newspapers around specific keywords. EXAMPLE

Peer Index: Social impact metric score (Similar to Klout).

Pinterest: Social website pinboard to keep track of things and share them. EXAMPLE

Plickers: “Track students progression using QR codes as answer sheets” they hold up their response card and your phone app camera captures it (via@scottcolton2).

PlumAnalytics: A tool for measuring research impact.

Pocket: (formerly Read it Later): Discover an interesting article, video or web page, save it to your Pocket feed and view it later.

PollDaddy: Create free polls on your websites.

Popplet: Collaborative mapping tool.

Prezi: Spice up your presentations with the zooming software, now with 3D. EXAMPLE

Primary Pad: Open co-authoring space, useful in live settings, for multiple use, no login or registration needed. Just share URL. 

Projeqt: Nice aggregating slideshow platform. Drop in video, live tweets, pdf, text, and more. EXAMPLE

Prisma: Make your images look like artworks.


Q IS FOR…

Quora: Ask a question, find an answer. Subject and topic guides. One tool to initiate research development.


R IS FOR…

RateMyPI: As it sounds, you can rate principal investigators to help figure out who’s great (or not) to work with. 

ReadCube: Fed up with going through multiple interfaces to discover and archive new articles? This powerful platform gives you a portal to everything, for article discovery, storage, and annotation. (via @LauraWheelers).

Reddit: A place to share articles/blog posts and a huge traffic driver.

ResearchGate: Social networking site for academics.


S IS FOR…

Scoop.it: Create a themed magazine.

Scribd: Share your documents in a large social community. EXAMPLE

SiteSucker: Lets you download whole websites for later analysis/processing.

Slack: Powerful project management and collaboration tool – cut down on email and get closer to inbox zero. (via @ErinmaOchu)

Skype: For videoconferencing on the fly.

SlashDot: Self-described “news for nerds” platform. Science and tech related.

SlideRocket: Design and share your presentations online. 

Slideshare: As it says, upload your documents/slides for public viewing.

SnapChat: Creative content without a footprint (deletes after a day) and another way to reach each other. Popular with students.

SoundCloud: For anyone wanting to share or find audio material, this is a neat solution.

Spotify: Well known for listening to music, but you can also upload. Useful for music scholars: research, curate, share, publish.

Squarespace: Website building platform. A current favourite! EXAMPLE

Storify: Create a single story of an event, bringing together select social media activity. EXAMPLE

Storyful: Helps newsrooms discover and verify the best content on the social web. Good for media studies.

StumbleUpon: Let the web come to you with this discovery engine.

SumAll: Formerly TwentyFeet. Track your social media stats. 

Survey Monkey: As it sounds, create surveys and share them.


T IS FOR…

Tailwind: Social/impact scores for Pinterest and Instagram. Formerly Pinreach.

Tout: Capture 15-second video updates and publish them in real time to your social networks. EXAMPLE

Tumblr: Popular blogging platform.

Tweetbot: Twitter client for MacOS and iOS devices, lets you have multiple Twitter feeds (e.g. different hashtags) open at the same time. Useful for conferences.

TweetDeck: The Twitter-owned space to monitor and tweet.

Twitter: A microblogging platform to end all others. EXAMPLE

TwitterfallVisualise tweets during a conference to create another layer of activity.

TWUBS: Register a hashtag and help people find your event/project, etc.


U IS FOR…

Udemy: I guess “Academy for U”? Join, upload a course, slides, video lectures, and even charge for it. It may be a new marketplace for university short courses and the like.

Ustream: If you don’t have technical assistance to film your event, Ustream does it for you with a few clicks.


V IS FOR…

Vimeo: If the short upload limit on YouTube doesn’t suit your needs, then upload to here. EXAMPLE

Vine: The six-second video app from Twitter. EXAMPLE


W IS FOR…

Wakelet: This platform may mean that you don't need a website anymore. Pinterest on steroids. EXAMPLE

WallwisherTool for mind mapping, brainstorming, lists and more. Creates a blank page for you to populate with content.

Wikipedia: Follow and edit terms in your area of expertise.

Wordle: Create word clouds from data to understand influence and importance within text. EXAMPLE

WordPress: Popular website creation platform.


X IS FOR…

TEDx: “Ideas worth spreading” start off local. Visit these events for great insights into the next thought leaders. Many are run by academics.


Y IS FOR…

Yammer: Private social network for use within an organisation. Many universities now using this to collaborate securely across departments, geographies, content and business applications.

YouTube: Still the most popular video upload and share destination. EXAMPLE


Z IS FOR…

Zotero: A bibliographic tool that also helps you share resources.


GONE, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN (A LIST OF OLD FAVOURITES, NOW DEFUNCT OR REMOVED FROM THE A to Z)

Chapter Swap: A place where you can get peer review on your work before submission. 

Cinemagram: For the ubercreative academic. Precursor to Twitter’s Vine and more creative. Make an animated GIF from photos (GIFs are back, by the way).

iAmScientist: Global community of science, technology and medical researchers who come together to accelerate research, support career development and drive the distribution of discoveries.

MyOpenArchive: International non-profit organisation that advocates open access for never-before-published research papers on the web and provides self-archiving.

Pheed: Social media platform offering distinct features such as voice-notes, audio clips and live broadcasting.

Prismatic: Create newsfeeds based on your interests.

Posterous:  Microblogging platform, a different way to blog.

Screenr: Ever needed to screencast a presentation? This works without any download and goes live immediately. Give lectures from a distance and publish.

Topsy: Social media insights tool.

Gowalla: Location-based social network launched in 2007 and closed in 2012.

Vizify: For those who want to create a personal website, the content is drawn from all social media feeds. Looks great. EXAMPLE.

Vizibee: Mobile platform for journalists and publishers to capture, break and share short-form quality video with the audience. 

VycloneApp that lets you mix video taken from multiple, simultaneous recordings. Just all point and click and the app does the rest.

We FollowCan be a good way to find out people in your field who are on social media. Search by subject. It ranks based on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn data. Acquired by About.me.

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POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: Why academics should make time for social media

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