The A to Z of social media for academia

Your definitive guide to using social and creative media as an academic

October 28, 2019
What I learnt from a social media detox

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

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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. 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: 10 March 2017

A IS FOR… If you don’t have a website, 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.

Authorea: Write, cite, collaborate, host data, and publish. EXAMPLE


Basecamp: High-powered project management platform.

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

BoxIf you need more cloud storage before going pro elsewhere, here’s 10gb more (250mb individual file limit).

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.


Canva: Various graphic design tools, including mood board creation.

Chanty: Organise team conversations.

Coggle ItCollaborative mind-mapping tool.

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


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

DiasporaAnother Facebook, but with better values. Not strictly for HE, but good networking potential. Add me here! (via )

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.

Dlvr.itA 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.


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


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

FilmoraGo: Mobile app for video editing with a good range of functions.

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


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 Docs: For collaborative writing.

Google Hangouts: Google video chat app.

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

Google Slides: Create beautiful presentations with real-time Q&A board link from slide screen.


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

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.

Hypothes_is: Online discussion tool allowing sentence-level critique or note-taking on top of scientific articles and other academic publications. EXAMPLE


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

InCell VR: Action/racing game with a bit of strategy and science thrown into the mix in a rare and highly unusual micro world of a carefully recreated human cell.

InMind VR: “InMind allows the player to experience the journey into the patient’s brains in search of the neurons that cause mental disorder.”

InMind 2 VR: Explores the chemistry behind human emotion, inspired by Pixar's Inside Out.

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.amWho 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.


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

JoinMe: Video chat.

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


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

KeepGoogle’s notemaking app, very quick and easy to use. Use hashtags within a note to a group.

Kialo: A really cool debating platform, bringing clarity to complex issues.

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.


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.


Medium: Popular blogging site. 

MeetUp: Great way to create events and communities around them.

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

MentimeterMentimeter is an easy-to-use tool that makes facilitators and presenters look like stars. No installations or downloads required - and it's free!

Mix: Curated news feeds around specific subjects.

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


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

Notion: The all-in-one workspace – for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases. It even has an academic free licence.


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


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

PaintVR3D painting app, from Oculus, works with Samsung Gear VR. Create digital daily newspapers around specific keywords. EXAMPLE

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

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

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 log-in or registration needed. Just share URL. 


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


Random42A great VR platform showing biomedical content.

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).

RealTimeBoard: Whiteboard for project planning.

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

ResearchGate: Social networking site for academics.

S IS FOR… Create a themed magazine.

Scopus: Abstract and citation database of scientific literature.

ScribbleItLiveContent cloud solutions.

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.

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

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

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


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

Televzr: Download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

TikTok: Instagram on steroids, but with a bigger youth focus, lip-synch to sound tracks and share your insights. 

TiltBrush VRpaint in 3D. 

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.

TypesetWrite your journal manuscript in the cloud with autoformatting to your chosen journal.


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.


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

Visme: Powerful infographic platform, free account with up to five projects.


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

WhatsApp: Private messaging mobile app with encrption, owned by Facebook and be can be used on a browser too.

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

WixSimple website creation platform.

Wizdom.aiCreate word clouds from data to understand the influence and importance within text.

WordPress: Popular website creation platform.


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


Zoom: Video conferencing for teaching

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


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. 

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

We Follow: Can 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

Full list here


Print headline: Why academics should make time for social media

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Reader's comments (3)

Too many global tax avoiders which is just typical of the insouciance and moral deficiency of current HE.
Great list. Unfortunately Storify is being phased out in May 2018, so won't be usable for very much longer.
Unfortunately, Vine and Vizify are no longer with us.


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